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[bod-is] /ˈbɒd ɪs/
a usually fitted vest or wide, lace-up girdle worn by women over a dress or blouse, especially a cross-laced, sleeveless outer garment covering the waist and bust, common in peasant dress.
the part of a woman's dress covering the body between the neck or shoulders and the waist.
Compare waist (def 4).
Obsolete. stays or a corset.
Origin of bodice
1560-70; bodies, plural of body Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bodice
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She took out a handkerchief from inside the bodice of her dress and dried her eyes.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • Nana no longer needed to stuff wads of paper into her bodice, her breasts were grown.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Next he would sniff at her waist and bodice: "Ah, that's wall-flowers!"

  • She was quite flushed, and her bodice, generally so still and lifeless, began to heave.

  • From a recess covered by a shawl running on a string she took down her bodice.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • He assumes that the lettering which borders the bodice in this drawing—ALS.

    Holbein Beatrice Fortescue
British Dictionary definitions for bodice


the upper part of a woman's dress, from the shoulder to the waist
a tight-fitting corset worn laced over a blouse, as in certain national costumes, or (formerly) as a woman's undergarment
Word Origin
C16: originally Scottish bodies, plural of body
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 bodice

1560s, oddly spelled plural of body, name of a tight-fitting Elizabethan garment covering the torso; plural because the body came in two parts which fastened in the middle. Bodice-ripper for "racy romance novel" is from 1981.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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