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noun (1)

: a streak or ridge made on the skin especially by the stroke of a whip : welt
: a narrow raised surface : ridge
: any of a number of strakes usually of extra thick and strong planks in the sides of a wooden ship
usually used in plural
: one of a series of even ribs in a fabric
: the texture especially of a fabric
: a horizontal constructional member (as of timber or steel) used for bracing vertical members


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verb (1)

waled; waling

transitive verb

: to mark with welts
wale the skin


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noun (2)

dialectal British : choice
dialectal British : the best part : pick


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verb (2)

waled; waling; wales
dialectal British
: choose

Examples of wale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Buy Now on Mr Porter: $325 Photo : Todd Snyder Todd Snyder Wide Wale Corduroy Weekend Pant in Khaki Wide wale corduroy is a grandpa-core staple. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 23 Feb. 2024 The thickness or wideness of the corduroy’s wale will have an impact on the overall appearance of the garment—finer wale looks more vintage and casual, and thicker, more robust wale looks more regal and impactful. Todd Plummer, Robb Report, 7 Sep. 2023 Here, the double-soft combination of a pinwale shirt with jumbo-wale trousers makes a hardy waxed jacket look urbane enough for the office. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 4 Dec. 2021 Here, the wide-wale corduroy adds some substance to the retro camp collar shirt silhouette. Maverick Li, Men's Health, 25 Jan. 2023 Boxy trucker jackets usually cut from denim now come ribbed, while fine-wale hoodies put a novel streetwear spin on the durable cloth that dates back to Ancient Egypt and exploded in popularity in the 1970s. Jamie Waters, WSJ, 18 Jan. 2023 The ultra-soft cotton fabric features a wide-wale construction that looks sun-faded and properly broken-in. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 16 Nov. 2022 The fugues, meanwhile, weave something more like the wale of a domestic fabric. Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2022 This wide-legged, wide-wale pair wears like sweats while looking considerably smarter. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 4 Dec. 2021

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English walu; akin to Old Norse vǫlr staff and perhaps to Old Norse valr round, Latin volvere to roll — more at voluble

Noun (2)

Middle English (Scots & northern dialect) wal, from Old Norse val; akin to Old High German wala choice, Old English wyllan to wish — more at will

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wale was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wale

Cite this Entry

“Wale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wale. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a narrow raised surface or ridge
especially : one of a series of even ribs on a fabric (as corduroy)

More from Merriam-Webster on wale

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