the middle part of the body, between the chest and the waist.
the part of a dress or bodice, usually close-fitting, that covers this part of the body.
a garment that exposes this part of the body.


noting or pertaining to the middle part of the human body, the part of a garment that covers it, or a garment that exposes it.

Origin of midriff

before 1000; Middle English mydryf, Old English midhrif, equivalent to mid(d) mid1 + hrif belly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for midriff



  1. the middle part of the human body, esp between waist and bust
  2. (as modifier)midriff bulge
anatomy another name for the diaphragm (def. 1)
the part of a woman's garment covering the midriff
US a woman's garment which exposes the midriff

Word Origin for midriff

Old English midhrif, from mid 1 + hrif belly
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 midriff

Old English midhrif, from mid "mid" (see mid) + hrif "belly," from Proto-Germanic *hrefiz- (cf. Old High German href, Old Frisian hrif "belly"), from PIE *kwrep- "body, form, appearance" (see corporeal). More or less obsolete after 18c. except in phrase to tickle (one's) midriff "to cause laughter," the word revived 1941 in fashion usage for "portion of a woman's garment that covers the belly," as a euphemistic avoidance of belly; sense inverted and extended 1970 to a belly-baring style of women's top.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

midriff in Medicine




The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.