1 of 2


pleated; pleating; pleats

transitive verb

: fold
especially : to arrange in pleats
pleat a skirt
pleater noun


2 of 2


: a fold in cloth made by doubling material over on itself
also : something resembling such a fold
pleatless adjective

Example Sentences

Noun Her skirt has pleats at the waist.
Recent Examples on the Web
Pleat the front edge of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed. People Staff,, 2 Aug. 2022 My grandmother could pleat pork dumplings with grace and speed. New York Times, 18 May 2022 Her mom keeps making fun of her inability to pleat a dumpling. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 11 Aug. 2021 Though, if spring’s expressive prints and stand-out colors are more your mood, there’s a plissé style for that—from Cult Gaia’s voluminous peachy satin top to Julia Heuer’s wavy statement prints, which use the Japanese shibori technique to pleat. Madeline Fass, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2021 Using hot water ensures thin wrappers that are simple to pleat, whether the dough is rolled into individual rounds or into a sheet for cutting out circles. New York Times, 1 Feb. 2021 While most women in urban India and of the diaspora wear the sari in the familiar front-pleated style known as the Nivi drape, more than one hundred iterations exist across the country, many of which reveal the sari as a utilitarian garment. Meara Sharma, Vogue, 30 Apr. 2019 Battle’s 100 percent cotton masks are washable, have filters sewn in and are pleated to improve breathability and safety. Leada Gore |, al, 5 May 2020 With no sign the virus will be under control any time soon, surgical masks — the three-ply, pleated rectangles that typically sell for a few cents each — have become a political flashpoint across Asia. Anthony Halpin,, 29 Apr. 2020
The pants are perfectly roomy, have an inconspicuous elastic waistband (no waist-pinching button fastens here!), two front pockets, and a single front folded pleat. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 May 2022 The Ladylike Trench Get inspired with fresh updates like exaggerated shoulder lines, feminine collars, and refined pleat details. Sara Holzman, Marie Claire, 12 May 2021 The contemporary bespoke curtains draw inspiration from elegant Euro pleat drapes, framing windows with sumptuous volume and tailored lines. Maria Conti, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Feb. 2023 For the ladies who want to add a bougie touch to their closet, this dress has a clever addition in a large pleat of tangerine and white fabric. Nadja Sayej, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 The Husbands take retains the original’s flared cut, inverted back pleat and open undersleeves. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 31 Jan. 2023 Liu and Simonds will face off while demonstrating how to prepare the wrappers and various folding techniques, such as the half-moon and the pleat. Ann Trieger Kurland,, 17 Jan. 2023 Obama wore a $1,112 Palmer Harding Vegan Leather Jacket that had an exaggerated pleat and puffy sleeves. Nicol Natale, Peoplemag, 10 Dec. 2022 Each flower is made using three types of lace hand appliquéd onto the tulle and then pleated so that the flower motif is caught in the pleat. Alix Strauss, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History



Middle English pleiten, derivative of playte, pleit pleat entry 2


Middle English playte, pleit, plite, pliȝt "fold, fold in cloth made by doubling over material, wrinkle, braid, strand in a braided cord, unit of measure for cloth," borrowed from Anglo-French pleit, plet, plite, playe "fold, bend, unit of cloth, knot, twist," going back to Vulgar Latin *plictum "something folded," noun derivative from neuter of Latin plictus, variant of plicātus, past participle of plicāre "to fold, bend" — more at ply entry 3

Note: The form plictus is apparently attested as a variant of plicātus in manuscripts of Seneca's letters (see Oxford Latin Dictionary and note at explicit). — The Middle English word shows many spellings and has given rise to markedly diverse outcomes in Modern English. The modern form pleat /plit/ would appear to be a regular development of the French diphthongal spelling pleit (compare Anglo-French pais, peis "peace," fait "feat," etc.). The spelling plait entry 1, if pronounced /pleɪt/, either retains the diphthong (until merger with /ɛ:/ from Middle English long a) or represents some other alteration. If pronounced /plæt/, the word is in effect a spelling variant of plat entry 2, a noun derivative of plat entry 1. In addition, there is plet, going back to later Middle English plet, plette, which the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, characterizes as now "chiefly Scottish and Irish English"; it may result from shortening of the form with /ɛ:/ that gave rise to pleat.

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pleat was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pleat

Cite this Entry

“Pleat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to fold or arrange in pleats
pleat a skirt
pleater noun


2 of 2 noun
: a fold (as in cloth) made by doubling material over on itself

More from Merriam-Webster on pleat

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