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[weyst] /weɪst/
the part of the body in humans between the ribs and the hips, usually the narrowest part of the torso.
the part of a garment covering this part of the body.
blouse (def 1).
the part of a one-piece garment covering the body from the neck or shoulders more or less to the waistline, especially this part of a woman's or child's garment.
a child's undergarment to which other articles of apparel may be attached.
the part of an object, especially a central or middle part, that resembles or is analogous to the human waist:
the waist of a violin.
Nautical. the central part of a ship; that part of the deck between the forecastle and the quarterdeck.
the constricted portion of the abdomen of certain insects, as a wasp.
Origin of waist
1300-50; Middle English wast, apocopated variant of wastum, Old English wæstm growth, form, figure; akin to wax2
Related forms
waistless, adjective
Can be confused
waist, waste. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for waist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His arm was about her waist, and hers rested on his shoulder.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Stand fast with the anchors in the waist, and be ready for a cast.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Johnny Rosenfeld still lay in his ward, inert from the waist down.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The Sikh wears his hair down to his waist; the Pathan shaves his head.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • He slipped his hand from Maggie's and slowly put his arm round her waist.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
British Dictionary definitions for waist


(anatomy) the constricted part of the trunk between the ribs and hips
the part of a garment covering the waist
the middle part of an object that resembles the waist in narrowness or position
the middle part of a ship
Also called centre section. the middle section of an aircraft fuselage
the constriction between the thorax and abdomen in wasps and similar insects
Derived Forms
waistless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: origin uncertain; related to Old English wæstmwax²
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 waist

"middle part of the body," also "part of a garment fitted for the waist," late 14c., probably from Old English *wæst "growth," hence, "where the body grows," from Proto-Germanic *wahs-tu- (cf. Old English wæstm, Old Norse vaxtr, Swedish växt, Old High German wahst "growth, increase," Gothic wahstus "stature," Old English weaxan "to grow" see wax (v.)), from PIE *wegs-, extended form of root *aug- "to increase" (see augment). Meaning "portion of a garment that covers the waist" (but, due to fashion styles, often is above or below it) is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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waist in Medicine

waist (wāst)

  1. The part of the human trunk between the bottom of the rib cage and the pelvis.

  2. The middle section or part of an object, especially when narrower than the rest.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for waist


Related Terms


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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