a woman's loose gown, worn in the Middle Ages.
Obsolete. a man's tunic.


Nearby words

  1. kirstein,
  2. kirstein, lincoln,
  3. kirsten,
  4. kirtan,
  5. kirtland's warbler,
  6. kiruna,
  7. kirundi,
  8. kiruv,
  9. kisan,
  10. kisangani

Origin of kirtle

before 900; Middle English kirtel, Old English cyrtel, apparently equivalent to cyrt(an) to shorten (≪ Latin curtus shortened) + -el -le

Related formskir·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kirtle

British Dictionary definitions for kirtle


noun archaic

a woman's skirt or dress
a man's coat

Word Origin for kirtle

Old English cyrtel, probably from cyrtan to shorten, ultimately from Latin curtus cut short

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 kirtle



"a man's tunic; a woman's skirt," Old English cyrtel, related to Old Norse kyrtill "tunic;" both regarded as probably from Latin curtus "short" (see curt) + diminutive suffix -el.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper