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[gahr-ter] /ˈgɑr tər/
Also called, British, sock suspender, suspender. an article of clothing for holding up a stocking or sock, usually an elastic band around the leg or an elastic strap hanging from a girdle or other undergarment.
a similar band worn to hold up a shirt sleeve.
a leather strap for passing through a loop at the back of a boot and buckling around the leg to keep the boot from slipping.
  1. the badge of the Order of the Garter.
  2. membership in the Order.
  3. (initial capital letter) the Order itself.
  4. (usually initial capital letter) a member of the Order.
verb (used with object)
to fasten with a garter.
Origin of garter
1300-50; Middle English < Old North French gartier, derivative of garet the bend of the knee < Celtic; compare Welsh gar shank, Breton gâr leg
Related forms
garterless, adjective
ungarter, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for garter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I jest took up a garter," she said, with some apology in her tone.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Ten o'clock in the morning beheld them at the door of the garter Inn at Harwich.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • What could the Peerage, what could the garter, what could a seat in the Cabinet do for me?

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • There was a great lath of a fellow who kept the "Star and garter" public-house.

    Recollections David Christie Murray
  • It looked the kind of thing a woman might carry in her garter.

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
British Dictionary definitions for garter


a band, usually of elastic, worn round the arm or leg to hold up a shirtsleeve, sock, or stocking
(US & Canadian)
  1. an elastic strap attached to a belt or corset having a fastener at the end, for holding up women's stockings
  2. a similar fastener attached to a garter belt worn by men in order to support socks Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) suspender
have someone's guts for garters, See gut (sense 10)
(transitive) to fasten, support, or secure with or as if with a garter
Word Origin
C14: from Old Northern French gartier, from garet bend of the knee, probably of Celtic origin


noun the Garter
(sometimes not capital)
  1. the badge of this Order
  2. membership of this Order
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 garter

early 14c., from Old North French gartier "band just above or below the knee" (Old French jartier, 14c., Modern French jarretière), from garet "bend of the knee," perhaps from Gaulish (cf. Welsh garr "leg"). Garter as the highest order of knighthood (mid-14c.), according to Froissart was established c.1344 by Edward III, though the usual story of how it came about is late (1614) and perhaps apocryphal. The verb is mid-15c., from the noun. Garter snake (U.S.) so called from resemblance to a ribbon. Garter belt first noticed 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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