[ gur-dl ]
See synonyms for: girdlegirdledgirdling 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.

  1. anything that encircles, confines, or limits.

  2. Jewelry. the edge or narrow band between the upper and lower facets of a gem.

  3. Anatomy. the bony framework that unites the upper or lower extremities to the axial skeleton.

  4. Architecture. an ornamental band, especially one surrounding the shaft of a column.

  5. 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.

  1. to move around (something or someone) in a circle.

  2. to cut away the bark and cambium in a ring around (a tree, branch, etc.).

  3. Jewelry. round1 (def. 49).

Origin of girdle

before 1000; Middle English; Old English gyrdel, derivative of girdan to gird1

Other words for girdle

Other words from girdle

  • gir·dle·like, adjective
  • gir·dling·ly, adverb
  • un·gir·dle, verb (used with object), un·gir·dled, un·gir·dling. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use girdle in a sentence

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

    The Fire People | Ray Cummings
  • A brush-field girdled by a fence was passed, then a meadow, all golden in the sun.

    The Reckoning | Robert W. Chambers
  • In this method, trees are girdled with an ax and thereby weakened to such a degree that beetles are attracted to it.

    Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
  • He knows then that this tree was girdled by bark beetles very recently, probably during the previous summer.

    Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
  • It sank in Rhoda like the preaching of an end that was promise of a beginning, and girdled a distancing land of trouble.

    Rhoda Fleming, Complete | George Meredith

British Dictionary definitions for girdle (1 of 2)


/ (ˈɡɜːdəl) /

  1. a woman's elastic corset covering the waist to the thigh

  2. anything that surrounds or encircles

  1. a belt or sash

  2. jewellery the outer edge of a gem

  3. anatomy any encircling structure or part: See pectoral girdle, pelvic girdle

  4. the mark left on a tree trunk after the removal of a ring of bark

  1. to put a girdle on or around

  2. to surround or encircle

  1. to remove a ring of bark from (a tree or branch), thus causing it to die

Origin of girdle

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

Derived forms of girdle

  • girdle-like, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for girdle (2 of 2)


/ (ˈɡɜːdəl) /

  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

Scientific definitions for girdle


[ gûrdl ]

  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.