\ ˈskərt How to pronounce skirt (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from skirt


skirted \ ˈskər-​təd How to pronounce skirted (audio) \ adjective


skirter noun

Examples of skirt in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Full sleeves, lots of lace and skirts that flared at the bottom created this Edwardian-era look. Julie Washington,, "Fashions of 1920s shimmer and shine in ‘Downton Abbey’ the movie," 17 Sep. 2019 The women wear high white collars and long skirts; the men wear swooping mustaches and dark jackets. Sarah Feldberg,, "Remember that viral lighthouse job? They got it," 12 Sep. 2019 Two abreast, performers of at least two genders filed down the sidewalk in identical gray suit jackets and identical gray pleated skirts. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "A Message of Useful Beauty from New York Fashion Week," 10 Sep. 2019 There were transparent, leopard-print latex dresses with visible black thongs underneath, ten-gallon hats and Texas-size belt buckles, short shorts, and python-print pencil skirts. Channing Hargrove,, "Laquan Smith Says The Yeehaw Agenda Is Here To Stay," 8 Sep. 2019 The photograph showcases Diana in traditional Elizabethan dress, including a full skirt with a farthingale underneath and a high starched collar, a more casual version of a ruff. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "A Discovery of Witches drops first season 2 photo, with Matthew Goode in a doublet," 5 Sep. 2019 Also this year, Virgin Atlantic announced a more relaxed dress code for female flight attendants, who are no longer required to wear makeup and are now able to swap skirts for pants without seeking special permission. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Half of US companies still don’t allow casual dress at work," 29 Aug. 2019 The wives of world leaders, their hair and skirts ruffled by the French coastal wind, look out at the horizon as the waves crush on the shores of Biarritz. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "For Women’s Equality Day, this charming video of world leaders’ wives shows we’re not there yet," 26 Aug. 2019 The supermodel was spotted in a brown top and matching pencil skirt with an elegant white cardigan, Chanel bag, and peep-toe leopard-print heels — an ideal look for Sunday brunch with the fam. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "From Hunter Schafer’s Preppy Fit With a Twist to Bella Hadid’s New Blonde Hairdo, These Are the Best Celebrity Looks of the Week," 26 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hurricane Dorian is skirting the opposite coast of Florida and should be well northeast bound by the 49ers arrive in town Friday night. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers mailbag: Will the line be able to protect Jimmy G?," 3 Sep. 2019 Forecasters expected Dorian, packing 150 mph (240 kph) winds, to hit some Bahamian islands Sunday before heading near Florida and then skirting along or off the U.S. Southeast seacoast. Washington Post, "Evacuations begin as Dorian bears down on northern Bahamas," 1 Sep. 2019 Stunning mountain scenery surrounds 17 lakes for fishing and boating, bike paths pass through fragrant pine forests, hiking trails skirt hot springs and waterfalls, and gondolas take riders to the top of its namesake summit. Katherine Rodeghier, Dallas News, "Discover Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite’s lesser-known neighbor," 16 July 2019 The illicit substances are engineered to skirt and exploit gaps in U.S. drug laws, and largely enter the U.S. from foreign sources like Chinese criminal organizations, Mexican cartels and other traffickers. Clare Hymes, CBS News, "DOJ pushes Congress to permanently close loophole for knock-off fentanyl," 2 July 2019 For paddle boarding and kayaking head to the Buffalo Bayou, a 26-mile-long stretch beginning on Houston's west side and skirting the downtown area. Houston Chronicle, "Find the right spot to practice water sports," 27 June 2019 Since the 1700s, the conservative sect has been on the move, skirting military conscription and mandated public education, while also seeking fertile land for farming. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "An unlikely feud between beekeepers and Mennonites simmers in Mexico," 12 Apr. 2019 Bush expanded on his father’s legacy, not only censoring climate scientists and skirting the topic in public, but hiring fossil fuel cronies to shape policy decisions across his administrations. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Blood-Dimmed Tide," 16 Sep. 2019 Then there was the requirement to replace the skirting on the light-blue mobile home -- another $800. Washington Post, "Mobile home parks move from mom-and-pop to corporate," 13 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skirt

Statistics for skirt

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for skirt

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skirt


How to pronounce skirt (audio)

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 How to pronounce skirt (audio) \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on skirt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skirt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skirt

Spanish Central: Translation of skirt

Nglish: Translation of skirt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skirt for Arabic Speakers

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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