gir·​dle | \ˈgər-dᵊl \

Definition of girdle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that encircles or confines: such as

a : an article of dress encircling the body usually at the waist

b : a woman's close-fitting undergarment often boned and usually elasticized that extends from the waist to below the hips

2 : the edge of a brilliant that is grasped by the setting — see brilliant illustration


girdled; girdling\ˈgər-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of girdle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to encircle with or as if with a girdle

2 : to cut away the bark and cambium in a ring around (a plant) usually to kill by interrupting the circulation of water and nutrients

3 : to move around : circle girdled the world

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Synonyms & Antonyms for girdle

Synonyms: Noun

belt, ceinture, cincture, cummerbund (also cumberbund), sash, self-belt

Synonyms: Verb

band, begird, belt, engird [archaic], engirdle, enwind, gird, girt, girth, wrap

Antonyms: Verb

ungird, unwrap

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Examples of girdle in a Sentence


drew a handkerchief from the girdle around her waist and offered it to the knight as a token of affection


the rings that girdle the planet Saturn trees girdled the campus, essentially hiding it from view
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In between, there was everything from girdles to socket wrenches, dresses to guns, dolls to washing machines. Allen G. Breed, The Seattle Times, "Girdles and socket wrenches: Sears was the Amazon of its day," 16 Oct. 2018 Unlike a girdle or a pair of Spanx, which are worn for temporary smoothness, these trainers are often touted as weight-loss aids that will trim and shape the waist if worn throughout the day or while exercising. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "‘Worst Decision Ever’: A New Fashion Trend Leaves Women Literally Breathless," 16 Aug. 2018 This extension of the cover could be used to carry the book like a purse or could be tucked into a girdle or belt. Constance Grady, Vox, "The Comey book isn’t quite performing to Fire and Fury standards," 21 Apr. 2018 Different crutches, braces and girdles — even a prosthetic leg — are on display. New York Times, "Escaping Mexico City’s Hustle Within City Limits," 20 Apr. 2018 As each name suggests, a band of blisters wraps around one side of the body, like a girdle, often around the waist, chest, stomach, back or buttocks., "What Is Shingles?," 1 May 2017 That was top of mind when Myonexus Therapeutics Inc. raised seed financing last year with the Jain Foundation, a nonprofit looking to cure limb-girdle and other muscular dystrophies. Brian Gormley, WSJ, "Race for a Cure Spurs Biotechs to Rely More on Nonprofit Backers," 20 Mar. 2018 Many items that are called corsets aren't true corsets but are instead bustiers or girdles. Cora Harrington, Allure, "A Beginner's Guide to Corsets," 8 Feb. 2018 Women were stuffed into perma-girdles, hoisted onto heels, and cinched within an inch of their spleens. Rachel Syme, The Cut, "This Show Has the Best Clothes on TV Right Now," 13 Dec. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hawaiian Airlines From its humble beginnings as an island puddle-jumper, Hawaiian is now girdling half the globe with New York-Honolulu nonstops and flights from its hub to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best U.S. Airlines: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Crews have employed a number of tactics, including felling trees with chain saws, girdling their trunks with a blade and spraying the wound with a systemic herbicide. Adrian Higgins, The Seattle Times, "Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.," 17 Sep. 2018 Do not girdle any vine that is in a weakened condition, or cut too deeply—remove just the outer bark. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Your Own Kiwis In Your Backyard," 6 Feb. 2018 Basketball fans girdle the globe, and the internet and a thousand cable N.B.A. channels have rendered loyalties mutable. Michael Powell, New York Times, "The East Has Fallen Off the Map," 3 July 2018 But, unlike the train that girdles the world every 365 days, Derrickson’s tenure on the show has gone off the tracks. Emma Stefansky, HWD, "Director Scott Derrickson Leaves Snowpiercer TV Series Over Showrunner’s “Radically Different Vision”," 1 July 2018 People just don’t realize that girdling a tree with a wire or nylon rope is a sure way to ruin it. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "What’s the story with morning glories not blooming?," 29 June 2018 On sycamores, the disease often infects branches, causing girdling cankers and dieback. Tim Johnson,, "Fungal diseases may be cause of brown spots on tree leaves," 26 June 2018 Voles are notorious for destroying grass crops and girdling the bark on shrubs and small trees., "How to fight tunneling voles; the secret to growing potatoes: Ask an expert," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'girdle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of girdle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for girdle


Middle English girdel, from Old English gyrdel; akin to Old High German gurtil girdle, Old English gyrdan to gird

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Statistics for girdle

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for girdle

The first known use of girdle was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for girdle



English Language Learners Definition of girdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that wraps or circles around something else; specifically : a tight piece of clothing worn especially in the past by women under other clothes to make the area around the waist look thinner



English Language Learners Definition of girdle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form a circle around (something) or to surround (something)


gir·​dle | \ˈgər-dᵊl \

Kids Definition of girdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something (as a belt or sash) that encircles or binds

2 : a tight undergarment worn below the waist by women


girdled; girdling

Kids Definition of girdle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to bind with or as if with a girdle, belt, or sash : encircle

2 : to strip a ring of bark from a tree trunk


gir·​dle | \ˈgərd-ᵊ1 \

Medical Definition of girdle 

: either of two more or less complete bony rings at the anterior and posterior ends of the vertebrate trunk supporting the arms and legs respectively:

a : shoulder girdle

b : pelvic girdle

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More from Merriam-Webster on girdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with girdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for girdle

Spanish Central: Translation of girdle

Nglish: Translation of girdle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of girdle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on girdle

What made you want to look up girdle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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