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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bodice

Contemporary Examples of bodice

Historical Examples of bodice

  • 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.


    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

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 for bodice

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

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