gir·​dle | \ ˈgər-dᵊl How to pronounce girdle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce girdling (audio) \

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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of girdle in a Sentence

Noun drew a handkerchief from the girdle around her waist and offered it to the knight as a token of affection Verb 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 The resulting box encloses the shoulder and hip girdles, but is open at the front for the head, neck and forelegs, and at the back for the tail and hind legs. Hans-dieter Sues, Smithsonian, "How the Turtle Got Its Shell, With Apologies to Aesop," 20 Aug. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When not in use, the loop around the limb is relaxed, which allows the tree to grow without strangling or girdling it. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "How to Hang a Rope Swing in Your Favorite Tree," 8 Aug. 2019 The barbs of Megatrygon microps are large, and the rays have strong muscles girdling their tail. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "The ocean's largest, rarest stingray revealed in new video," 17 June 2019 From the moment Dani, Christian and the rest pass through the settlement’s sunburst gate, everything from the green hills girdling the compound to the flowing choreography contributes to the slow-growing, inexorable sense of entrapment. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "‘Midsommar’ Review: Building a Horror Møusetrap With Swedish Bait," 2 July 2019 Baylor helps manage the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a 261-mile-long stretch of river girdled in its middle by Lock and Dam 8 near Genoa. Tristan Baurick,, "Reshaping the Mississippi is unraveling wildlife habitat: The River’s Revenge," 15 June 2019 The string can girdle the tree trunk to permanently injure the vascular system and reduce growth rate. Calvin Finch,, "More great plants for color in your San Antonio summer garden," 14 June 2019 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

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

Time Traveler for girdle

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

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More Definitions for girdle


How to pronounce girdle (audio)

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)

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


gir·​dle | \ ˈgər-dᵊl How to pronounce girdle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce girdle (audio) \

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:

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More from Merriam-Webster on girdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for girdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with girdle

Spanish Central: Translation of girdle

Nglish: Translation of girdle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of girdle for Arabic Speakers

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