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verb (1)

girded ˈgər-dəd How to pronounce gird (audio) or girt ˈgərt How to pronounce gird (audio) ; girding

transitive verb

: to prepare (oneself) for action
: to encircle or bind with a flexible band (such as a belt)
: to make (something, such as clothing or a sword ) fast or secure (as with a cord or belt)
gird a sword by a belt
: provide, equip
especially : to invest with the sword of knighthood

intransitive verb

: to prepare for action
Both sides are girding for battle.


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verb (2)

girded; girding; girds

transitive verb

: to sneer at : mock

intransitive verb

: gibe, rail
An unbearable ill-humour settled on the ship: men, mates, and master, girding at one another all day long.Robert Louis Stevenson


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: a sarcastic remark
gird one's loins
: to prepare for action : muster up one's resources

Examples of gird in a Sentence

Noun in her farewell speech, the departing governor got in some retaliatory girds at the media
Recent Examples on the Web
Europe needs to start preparing now to withstand that pressure internally, girding itself to better defend the rule of law within its borders. Arancha González Laya, Foreign Affairs, 2 Feb. 2024 Much bigger players are girding themselves for losses linked to commercial real estate. Anna Cooban, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 Taiwanese voters, those who supported Lai and those who chose two opposition candidates, are girding themselves for a rocky four years. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2024 Best to gird our loins in the new year and work to shove them from their powerful perches and media spotlights. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 23 Dec. 2023 And the union is girding for organizing drives at nonunion companies, including Tesla. Also achieving significant victories were Hollywood writers and actors, who maintained their strikes for some five weeks, threatening the television and feature film seasons. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2023 With these shaky warnings, Icelanders were girding for the eruption that came Monday night. Jenny Gross, New York Times, 19 Dec. 2023 Matt girded them for the possibility of a gruesome scene. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 That hard-right contingent is girding to take over the Representative Town Meeting in next month’s elections. Dan Barry, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)

Middle English girden "to encircle the waist of, put a belt about, prepare (oneself)," going back to Old English gyrdan "to encircle with a belt, equip," going back to Germanic *gurđjan- (whence also Old Saxon gurdian "to encircle with a belt," Old High German gurten, Old Norse gyrða), probably from a zero-grade derivative of the Indo-European root seen in *ghorto- or *ghordho- "enclosure" — more at yard entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English, to strike, thrust

First Known Use

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

Verb (2)

1546, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1566, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gird was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near gird

Cite this Entry

“Gird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


or girt
; girding
: to encircle or fasten with or as if with a belt or cord
: to provide especially with the sword of knighthood
: to get ready (as for a fight)

More from Merriam-Webster on gird

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