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[belt] /bɛlt/
a band of flexible material, as leather or cord, for encircling the waist.
any encircling or transverse band, strip, or stripe.
an elongated region having distinctive properties or characteristics:
a belt of cotton plantations.
Machinery. an endless flexible band passing about two or more pulleys, used to transmit motion from one pulley to the other or others or to convey materials and objects.
  1. a cloth strip with loops or a series of metal links with grips, for holding cartridges fed into an automatic gun.
  2. a band of leather or webbing, worn around the waist and used as a support for weapons, ammunition, etc.
a series of armor plates forming part of the hull of a warship.
a broad, flexible strip of rubber, canvas, wood, etc., moved along the surface of a fresh concrete pavement to put a finish on it after it has been floated.
a road, railroad, or the like, encircling an urban center to handle peripheral traffic.
Slang. a hard blow or hit.
Slang. a shot of liquor, especially as swallowed in one gulp.
Automotive. a strip of material used in a type of motor-vehicle tire (belted tire) where it is placed between the carcass and the tread for reinforcement.
verb (used with object)
to gird or furnish with a belt.
to surround or mark as if with a belt or band:
Garbage cans were belted with orange paint.
to fasten on (a sword, gun, etc.) by means of a belt.
to beat with or as if with a belt, strap, etc.
Slang. to hit very hard, far, etc.:
You were lucky he didn't belt you in the mouth when you said that. He belted a triple to right field.
Informal. to sing (a song) loudly and energetically (sometimes followed by out):
She can belt out a number with the best of them.
Slang. to drink (a shot of liquor) quickly, especially in one gulp (sometimes followed by down):
He belted a few and went back out into the cold.
below the belt, not in accord with the principles of fairness, decency, or good sportsmanship:
criticism that hit below the belt.
tighten one's belt,
  1. to undergo hardship patiently.
  2. to curtail one's expenditures; be more frugal:
    They were urged to tighten their belts for the war effort.
under one's belt, Informal.
  1. in one's stomach, as food or drink:
    With a few Scotches under his belt, he's everyone's friend.
  2. considered as a matter of successful past experience:
    I don't think our lawyer has enough similar cases under his belt.
Origin of belt
before 1000; Middle English; Old English; compare Old High German balz; both < Latin balteus; see balteus
Related forms
beltless, adjective
12. girdle, encircle. 14. gird (on). 15. flog, lash.
Synonym Study
3. Belt and zone agree in their original meaning of a girdle or band. Belt is more used in popular or journalistic writing: the corn or wheat belt. Zone tends to be used in technical language: the Torrid Zone; a parcel-post zone. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for belt down
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He laid the belt down, and, as he did so, his hands trembled.

    True and Other Stories George Parsons Lathrop
  • She belt down and gathered three flowers, put them carefully into her pinafore and took them home to her father.

  • He was wearing his belt-axe and it looked as if it weighed a ton the way it dragged his belt down.

    Roy Blakeley's Bee-line Hike

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • "I am going down into The Corner for a moment," he said over his shoulder to George, as he took his belt down from the wall.

    Gunman's Reckoning Max Brand
  • When I threw my belt down, I shoved it along on the deck with my foot, and finally stood on it.

    Lest We Forget John Gilbert Thompson
  • I dangled the belt down to him, tucked the rifle under my arm with my umbrella, and descended.

    Through the Land of the Serb Mary Edith Durham
British Dictionary definitions for belt down


a band of cloth, leather, etc, worn, usually around the waist, to support clothing, carry tools, weapons, or ammunition, or as decoration
a narrow band, circle, or stripe, as of colour
an area, esp an elongated one, where a specific thing or specific conditions are found; zone: the town belt, a belt of high pressure
a belt worn as a symbol of rank (as by a knight or an earl), or awarded as a prize (as in boxing or wrestling), or to mark particular expertise (as in judo or karate)
See seat belt
a band of flexible material between rotating shafts or pulleys to transfer motion or transmit goods: a fan belt, a conveyer belt
a beltcourse See cordon (sense 4)
(informal) a sharp blow, as with a bat or the fist
below the belt
  1. (boxing) below the waist, esp in the groin
  2. (informal) in an unscrupulous or cowardly way
tighten one's belt, to take measures to reduce expenditure
under one's belt
  1. (of food or drink) in one's stomach
  2. in one's possession
  3. as part of one's experience: he had a linguistics degree under his belt
(transitive) to fasten or attach with or as if with a belt
(transitive) to hit with a belt
(transitive) (slang) to give a sharp blow; punch
(slang) (intransitive) often foll by along. to move very fast, esp in a car: belting down the motorway
(transitive) (rare) to mark with belts, as of colour
(transitive) (rare) to encircle; surround
See also belt out, belt up
Derived Forms
belted, noun
Word Origin
Old English, from Latin balteus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belt down



early 14c., "to fasten or gird with a belt," from belt (n.). Meaning "to thrash as with a belt" is 1640s; general sense of "to hit, thrash" is attested from 1838. Colloquial meaning "to sing or speak vigorously" is from 1949. Related: Belted; belting. Hence (from the "thrash with a belt" sense) the noun meaning "a blow or stroke" (1899).



Old English belt "belt, girdle," from Proto-Germanic *baltjaz (cf. Old High German balz, Old Norse balti, Swedish bälte), an early Germanic borrowing from Latin balteus "girdle, sword belt," said by Varro to be an Etruscan word.

As a mark of rank or distinction, mid-14c.; references to boxing championship belts date from 1812. Mechanical sense is from 1795. Transferred sense of "broad stripe encircling something" is from 1660s. Below the belt "unfair" (1889) is from pugilism. To get something under (one's) belt is to get it into one's stomach. To tighten (one's) belt "endure privation" is from 1887.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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belt down in Science
A geographic region that is distinctive in a specific respect.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for belt down



  1. A blow; stroke; whack: She gave it a good belt (1900+)
  2. A thrill; transport of pleasure; kick: You'll get a belt out of this one (1930s+)
  3. A marijuana cigarette; joint (1950s+ Narcotics)
  4. A drink; swig; swallow: He handed me the bottle and I took a belt at it (1920s+)


  1. To hit; strike; sock: Ed belts him in the kisser/ He belted the ball a mile (1830s+)
  2. (also belt down) To drink, esp vigorously and often: I seen him come in this joint lots of times and belt them down until he's cross-eyed (1800s+)

Related Terms

borscht belt, tighten one's belt

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with belt down

belt down

Swallow very quickly, as in After the race, he belted down a whole quart of water. This phrase is frequently used for guzzling whiskey or some other liquor. [ ; mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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