See more synonyms for girdle on
  1. 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.
  2. a belt, cord, sash, or the like, worn about the waist.
  3. anything that encircles, confines, or limits.
  4. Jewelry. the edge or narrow band between the upper and lower facets of a gem.
  5. Anatomy. the bony framework that unites the upper or lower extremities to the axial skeleton.
  6. Architecture. an ornamental band, especially one surrounding the shaft of a column.
  7. a ring made about a tree trunk, branch, etc., by removing a band of bark.
verb (used with object), gir·dled, gir·dling.
  1. to encircle with a belt; gird.
  2. to encompass; enclose; encircle.
  3. to move around (something or someone) in a circle.
  4. to cut away the bark and cambium in a ring around (a tree, branch, etc.).
  5. Jewelry. round1(def 49).

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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for girdled

Historical Examples of girdled

  • Neither has he girdled her about with cloud nor stood stars upon her forehead.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • The Baroness snatched a fan which girdled her, and tapped him with it reprovingly.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • Even that morning four trees had been marked by the axe and girdled.

  • It is the bath of the girdled Earth, perfumed with balms and essences.

  • Each of these minarets was girdled, halfway up, by a narrow balcony.

    The Fire People

    Ray Cummings

British Dictionary definitions for girdled


  1. a woman's elastic corset covering the waist to the thigh
  2. anything that surrounds or encircles
  3. a belt or sash
  4. jewellery the outer edge of a gem
  5. anatomy any encircling structure or partSee pectoral girdle, pelvic girdle
  6. the mark left on a tree trunk after the removal of a ring of bark
verb (tr)
  1. to put a girdle on or around
  2. to surround or encircle
  3. 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


  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 girdled



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

girdled in Medicine


  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.

girdled in Science


  1. 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.