pet·​ti·​coat | \ ˈpe-tē-ˌkōt How to pronounce petticoat (audio) \

Definition of petticoat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a skirt worn by women, girls, or young children: such as
a : an outer skirt formerly worn by women and small children
b : a fancy skirt made to show below a draped-up overskirt
c : an underskirt usually a little shorter than outer clothing and often made with a ruffled, pleated, or lace edge
d archaic : the skirt of a woman's riding habit
2a : a garment characteristic or typical of women
b : woman
3 : something (such as a valance) resembling a petticoat



Definition of petticoat (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from petticoat


petticoated \ ˈpe-​tē-​ˌkō-​təd How to pronounce petticoated (audio) \ adjective

Examples of petticoat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Examining these heirloom fabrics has become a yearly ritual for my mother and me, a moment alone spent marveling over the handiwork, and ensuring that each garment is stored with its matching accoutrements: a choli (blouse) and petticoat. Leah Bhabha, Vogue, "Something Borrowed: How I Turned a 100-Year-Old Sari Into My Wedding Veil," 28 May 2019 But despite her torn dress and bloody petticoat and bruises, Brianna refuses to speak of the trauma. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "What Outlander Finally Gets Right About Rape This Season," 7 Jan. 2019 Yes, Susanne wore elegant lace ball gowns with petticoats during the evening, but switched into minimal tube dresses during the day. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "How One Danish It Girl and Her Best Friends Are Restyling Her Mom’s ’90s Couture Clothes," 1 Oct. 2018 The actress posed for Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen in a desert setting with horses while wearing petticoats, button-downs, and ties that all contained Maria Grazia Chiuri's feminine signature twist. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lawrence Stars in Dior's Cruise 2019 Campaign," 4 Oct. 2018 On one occasion, Bickerdyke ordered privileged white ladies to drop their petticoats so the muslin could be used to bandage the unwrapped stumps of amputees. Harold Holzer, WSJ, "Burning Down the South," 7 June 2018 Don't turn your back Or vacillate. Don't dry your hands On petticoat, On handkerchief, Or redingote. Abby, Houston Chronicle, "Lighthearted poem reminds visitors to use guest towels," 13 Mar. 2018 In Connemara at the same time people still dressed boys and girls alike in red flannel petticoats until the age of twelve, a disguise used to trick those fairies who liked to steal boys in particular. Longreads, "Fairy Scapegoats: A History of the Persecution of Changeling Children," 9 June 2018 As a result, middle- and upper-class American women squeezed themselves into corsets and six to eight petticoats to fill out the shape of their skirts. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Amelia Bloomer Didn’t Mean to Start a Fashion Revolution, But Her Name Became Synonymous With Trousers," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petticoat.' 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 petticoat


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1620, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for petticoat


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

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Statistics for petticoat

Last Updated

4 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for petticoat

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

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More Definitions for petticoat



English Language Learners Definition of petticoat

: a skirt that a woman or girl wears under a dress or outer skirt


pet·​ti·​coat | \ ˈpe-tē-ˌkōt How to pronounce petticoat (audio) \

Kids Definition of petticoat

: a skirt worn under a dress or outer skirt

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More from Merriam-Webster on petticoat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with petticoat

Spanish Central: Translation of petticoat

Nglish: Translation of petticoat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petticoat for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about petticoat

Comments on petticoat

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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