verb (used with object), gir·dled, gir·dling.

Origin of girdle

before 1000; Middle English; Old English gyrdel, derivative of girdan to gird1
Related formsgir·dle·like, adjectivegir·dling·ly, adverbun·gir·dle, verb (used with object), un·gir·dled, un·gir·dling.

Synonyms for girdle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for girdle

waistband, band, underwear, sash, belt, undergarment

Examples from the Web for girdle

Contemporary Examples of girdle

Historical Examples of girdle

  • 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

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

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

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

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

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 partSee pectoral girdle, pelvic girdle
the mark left on a tree trunk after the removal of a ring of bark

verb (tr)

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 Formsgirdle-like, adjective

Word Origin for girdle

Old English gyrdel, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse gyrthill, Old Frisian gerdel, Old High German gurtila; see gird 1




Scot and 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

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

girdle in Medicine




Something that encircles like a belt.
An elasticized, flexible undergarment worn over the waist and hips.
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.

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.