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  1. the official headdress of a bishop in the Western Church, in its modern form a tall cap with a top deeply cleft crosswise, the outline of the front and back resembling that of a pointed arch.
  2. the office or rank of a bishop; bishopric.
  3. Judaism. the official headdress of the ancient high priest, bearing on the front a gold plate engraved with the words Holiness to the Lord. Ex. 28:36–38.
  4. a fillet worn by women of ancient Greece.
  5. Carpentry. an oblique surface formed on a piece of wood or the like so as to butt against an oblique surface on another piece to be joined with it.
  6. Nautical. the inclined seam connecting the two cloths of an angulated sail.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to bestow a miter upon, or raise to a rank entitled to it.
  2. to join with a miter joint.
  3. to cut to a miter.
  4. to join (two edges of fabric) at a corner by various methods of folding, cutting, and stitching.
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Also especially British, mi·tre.

Origin of miter

1350–1400; Middle English mitre (noun) < Latin mitra < Greek mítra turban, headdress
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for miter

Historical Examples

  • This is called the "miter" and may be 45 degrees or any other angle.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • A strut joint is a form of miter joint used in making trusses.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • I will give him back to you with the cross and miter, monseigneur.

    The Conspirators

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • Their insignia of office, the miter and crosier, are familiar to every one.

  • I also learned that what I called the bishop's hat was a miter.

British Dictionary definitions for miter


noun, verb
  1. the usual US spelling of mitre
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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 miter


in the carpentry sense of "joint at a 45 degree angle," 1670s, perhaps from mitre, via notion of joining of the two peaks of the folded cap. As a verb from 1731.

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alternative spelling of mitre (see -re).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper