\ˈskərt \

Definition of skirt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a free-hanging part of an outer garment or undergarment extending from the waist down

(2) : a separate free-hanging outer garment or undergarment usually worn by women and girls covering some or all of the body from the waist down

b : either of two usually leather flaps on a saddle covering the bars on which the stirrups are hung

c : a cloth facing that hangs from the bottom edge or across the front of a piece of furniture

d : the lower branches of a tree when near the ground

2a : the rim, periphery, or environs of an area

b skirts plural : outlying parts (as of a town or city)

3 : a part or attachment serving as a rim, border, or edging

4 slang : a girl or woman


skirted; skirting; skirts

Definition of skirt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form or run along the border or edge of : border

2a : to provide a skirt for

b : to furnish a border or shield for

3a : to go or pass around or about specifically : to go around or keep away from in order to avoid danger or discovery

b : to avoid especially because of difficulty or fear of controversy skirted the issue

c : to evade or miss by a narrow margin having skirted disaster— Edith Wharton

intransitive verb

: to be, lie, or move along an edge or border

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Other Words from skirt


skirted \ ˈskər-​təd \ adjective


skirter noun

Examples of skirt in a Sentence


She was wearing a short skirt. The skirt of her coat got caught in the car door. They put a protective skirt around the base of the machine.


The mayor skirted the issue by saying that a committee was looking into the problem. They tried to skirt the new regulations. He tried to skirt around the question. Pine trees skirt the northern edge of the pond. The road skirts around the lake. We skirted around the edge of the city.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her Instagram posts show the pouting singer sporting a plaid crop top and a mini skirt a la Clueless, a tie-dye body-hugging dress, and snakeskin print pants and an off-the-shoulder top. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Get to Know Dounia Tazi, a Fashion Nova–Loving Modern Day Bombshell," 12 Nov. 2018 The actress swapped her iconic red bathing suit for a less sand-friendly look from the label—a white skirt-suit, black and beige Mary Janes, and a white quilted bag. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "Pamela Anderson Went to Chanel's Beach-Themed Show, so Of Course She Had a 'Baywatch' Moment," 2 Oct. 2018 Meghan swapped her recent summer style for a fall-friendly outfit, wearing an electric blue Smythe coat, a black top by Tuxe, and a black skirt by Misha Nonoo. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Casually Helps Serve Food to Guests at Her Charity Cookbook Launch," 20 Sep. 2018 The women are in tidy skirt suits and medium-high heels. The Economist, "Tailor shops are a thriving pocket of enterprise in Pyongyang," 26 May 2018 Ferguson, better known as Fergie, arrived just after 11 a.m. U.K. time to Windsor Castle sporting a classic navy fascinator and matching navy skirt suit with pale pink details. Kate Storey, Good Housekeeping, "Sarah Ferguson Arrives at the Royal Wedding — After Getting Snubbed for William and Kate's," 19 May 2018 Local businessmen chat, a representative from Congressman Jim Banks’s office stands stiff in her skirt suit, and firemen and police chiefs lean in the back. Tom Chiarella And James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Last Shift: What Really Happened To Those Carrier Jobs Trump Saved," 15 May 2018 Janelle Monae walked the carpet with designer Marc Jacobs, who crafted her striking black and white-striped custom skirt suit. Nicole Evat And John Carucci,, "Holy haute couture: Divine designs grace carpet at Met Gala," 8 May 2018 Janelle Monae walked the carpet with designer Marc Jacobs, who crafted her striking black and white-striped custom skirt suit. Washington Post, "Holy haute couture: Divine designs grace carpet at Met Gala," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Transparent ruffly loveliness was the reasoning behind Cailee Spaeny’s choice of Valentino, while Sarah Paulson went super hip in Raf Simons for Calvin Klein’s graphic, fringy, leather skirted frock. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "10 Best Dressed: Week of October 22, 2018," 22 Oct. 2018 Her approach to gender is in stark contrast to Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black, two Congress members who ran in the Tennessee Senate and governor’s primaries while skirting the issue. Li Zhou, Vox, "Martha McSally is the rare Republican woman putting gender at the forefront of her campaign," 29 Aug. 2018 But Jones’ behavior in the wake of recent enforcement actions shows how easily bad actors can skirt rules that were designed in the belief that most users will generally stick to them. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How conspiracy sites keep outsmarting big tech companies," 28 July 2018 Silversea is planning a 25-day trip through some of the most incredible landscapes on Earth, skirting icebergs and getting up close with polar bears on a nearly month-long trip through the Northeast Passage next summer. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Incredible Cruise Near the North Pole Lasts a Month, Costs $37,000," 18 July 2018 That was never my intention — to skirt by the rules or anything like that. Dargan Southard, USA TODAY, "Bryson DeChambeau says compass was never meant to 'skirt the rules'," 11 July 2018 In Plymouth, local retirement officials have tried to recoup money from a former finance director, whose case set a precedent in 2014 that retired public employees cannot skirt the rules by creating a corporation to earn consulting fees. Matt Stout,, "Pension and a paycheck? State may loosen ‘double dipping’ rules," 31 May 2018 Those seeking to skirt the rules by moving to other home-sharing websites may be stymied., "Vancouver Home-Share Violators to Face C$1,000-a-Day Fine," 11 Apr. 2018 But the Humboldt inlet,which skirts the historic seaport of Eureka, isn’t nearly as developed. Richard Stenger,, "Everything you need to know about the oyster capital of California," 3 July 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for skirt


Middle English, from Old Norse skyrta shirt, kirtle — more at shirt

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Statistics for skirt

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skirt

The first known use of skirt was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for skirt



English Language Learners Definition of skirt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of clothing worn by women and girls that hangs from the waist down

: the part of a dress, coat, etc., that hangs from the waist down

: an outer covering that hangs down to protect something



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

: to avoid (something) especially because it is difficult or will cause problems

: to lie or go along the edge of (something)


\ˈskərt \

Kids Definition of skirt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a piece of clothing or part of a piece of clothing worn by women or girls that hangs from the waist down

2 : a part or attachment serving as a rim, border, or edging


skirted; skirting

Kids Definition of skirt (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : to go or pass around or about the outer edge of Using the two-bladed paddle I quickly skirted the south part of the island.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins

3 : to avoid for fear of difficulty She skirted the issue.

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Comments on skirt

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


by force of circumstances

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