1 of 2


pet·​ti·​coat ˈpe-tē-ˌkōt How to pronounce petticoat (audio)
: a skirt worn by women, girls, or young children: such as
: an outer skirt formerly worn by women and small children
: a fancy skirt made to show below a draped-up overskirt
: an underskirt usually a little shorter than outer clothing and often made with a ruffled, pleated, or lace edge
archaic : the skirt of a woman's riding habit
: a garment characteristic or typical of women
: woman
: something (such as a valance) resembling a petticoat
petticoated adjective


2 of 2


: of, relating to, or exercised by women : female

Examples of petticoat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
According to Scottish tradition, women had to wear a red petticoat while proposing. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 29 Feb. 2024 Approaching the stage with a glittering entourage, Queen Elvis wears a billowing pink skirt fitted tight over a white petticoat, a sequined wrap, and a cabbage-sized blue bow slung from her waist. Tribune News Service, Hartford Courant, 17 Jan. 2024 Michael twinned with the boys in green petticoats with matching yellow tights. Rebecca Aizin, Peoplemag, 30 Oct. 2023 The Halloween items made up just one portion of a large ad for products ranging from men’s derby hats to new silk petticoats. John Kelly, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2023 Its campaign photography featured Garza posing in front of the Spanish architecture of San Miguel de Allende, a colonial-era Mexican city, in lacy white petticoats and sheer black dresses. Sofia Andrade, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2023 Each ensemble requires petticoats that can add five to 10 more yards each, plus a corset, a pannier (a cage-like underpinning), a padded bum roll, shoes, stockings and garters. Valli Herman, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023 As on the frontier, when predators never knew which woman might have a derringer in her petticoat, no one today knows when they will be recorded breaking the law. Sebastian Junger, National Review, 13 July 2023 The suffrage movement gave women the confidence and skills to organize, demand change, and insist on inclusion, to slowly chip away at the customs and laws that kept them at home, their bodies encumbered by pounds of petticoats, their minds caged. Elaine Weiss, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2019

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

Word History



Middle English petycote short tunic, petticoat, from pety small + cote coat

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1620, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of petticoat was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near petticoat

Cite this Entry

“Petticoat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
pet·​ti·​coat ˈpet-ē-ˌkōt How to pronounce petticoat (audio)
: a skirt or slip worn under a dress or outer skirt


2 of 2 adjective
: of, relating to, or controlled by women : female
petticoat government
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!