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[gur-dl] /ˈgɜr dl/
a lightweight undergarment, worn especially by women, often partly or entirely of elastic or boned, for supporting and giving a slimmer appearance to the abdomen, hips, and buttocks.
a belt, cord, sash, or the like, worn about the waist.
anything that encircles, confines, or limits.
Jewelry. the edge or narrow band between the upper and lower facets of a gem.
Anatomy. the bony framework that unites the upper or lower extremities to the axial skeleton.
Architecture. an ornamental band, especially one surrounding the shaft of a column.
a ring made about a tree trunk, branch, etc., by removing a band of bark.
verb (used with object), girdled, girdling.
to encircle with a belt; gird.
to encompass; enclose; encircle.
to move around (something or someone) in a circle.
to cut away the bark and cambium in a ring around (a tree, branch, etc.).
Jewelry. round1 (def 49).
Origin of girdle
before 1000; Middle English; Old English gyrdel, derivative of girdan to gird1
Related forms
girdlelike, adjective
girdlingly, adverb
ungirdle, verb (used with object), ungirdled, ungirdling.
3. belt, circle, ring, band, hedge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for girdle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That bag at his girdle is full of the teeth that he drew at Winchester fair.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He took it from his girdle warped by the wet and the warmth of his body.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • When you get there you must loosen your girdle and strike the tree with it three times in succession.

  • He loosened his girdle, and struck the tree with it three times.

  • Then she lifted the cross that hung from her girdle, and held it out to the sister.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • She leaned forward, pointing to the empty sheath at his girdle.

  • Her camorra, too, was open, and in her girdle there were gems for all to see.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • The villages in which they encamped belonged to Parysatis, as part of her girdle money .

    Anabasis Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for girdle


a woman's elastic corset covering the waist to the thigh
anything that surrounds or encircles
a belt or sash
(jewellery) the outer edge of a gem
(anatomy) any encircling structure or part See pectoral girdle, pelvic girdle
the mark left on a tree trunk after the removal of a ring of bark
verb (transitive)
to put a girdle on or around
to surround or encircle
to remove a ring of bark from (a tree or branch), thus causing it to die
Derived Forms
girdle-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English gyrdel, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse gyrthill, Old Frisian gerdel, Old High German gurtila; see gird1


(Scot & Northern English, dialect) another word for griddle
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 girdle

Old English gyrdel "belt, sash, cord about the waist," common Germanic. (cf. Old Norse gyrðill, Swedish gördel, Old Frisian gerdel, Dutch gordel, Old High German gurtil, German Gürtel "belt"), related to Old English gyrdan "to gird" (see gird). Modern euphemistic sense of "elastic corset" first recorded 1925. The verb meaning "encircle with a girdle" is attested from 1580s. Meaning "to cut off a belt of bark around a trunk to kill a tree" is from 1660s. Related: Girdled; girdling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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girdle in Medicine

girdle gir·dle (gûr'dl)

  1. Something that encircles like a belt.

  2. An elasticized, flexible undergarment worn over the waist and hips.

  3. The pelvic or pectoral girdle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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girdle in Science
To kill a tree or woody shrub by removing or destroying a band of bark and cambium from its circumference. The plants die because the distribution of food down from the leaves (through the phloem) and sometimes the flow of water and nutrients up from the roots (through the xylem) is disrupted, and the cambium can no longer regenerate these vascular tissues to repair the damage. Unwanted trees, such as invasive or nonnative species, are often eliminated by girdling. Some plant diseases kill trees by destroying a ring of cambium and so girdling them. Gnawing animals, especially rodents, can also girdle trees.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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