[ pet-ee-koht ]
/ ˈpɛt iˌkoʊt /


Also called pettiskirt. an underskirt, especially one that is full and often trimmed and ruffled and of a decorative fabric.
any skirtlike part or covering.
a flounce or valance fitting around the sides of a bed, couch, or chair, as to conceal the legs.
Informal: Sometimes Offensive. a woman or girl (usually used facetiously).


Informal: Sometimes Offensive. of, relating to, or controlled by women; female; feminine: petticoat government.

Origin of petticoat

First recorded in 1375–1425, petticoat is from the late Middle English word petycote. See petty, coat

Related forms

pet·ti·coat·less, adjectiveun·der·pet·ti·coat, noun

Usage note

In reference to a female, this term is usually used for humorous effect, but is sometimes perceived as insulting or demeaning to women. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for petticoat

British Dictionary definitions for petticoat


/ (ˈpɛtɪˌkəʊt) /


a woman's light undergarment in the form of an underskirt or including a bodice supported by shoulder straps
  1. a humorous or mildly disparaging name for a woman
  2. (as modifier)petticoat politics

Word Origin for petticoat

C15: see petty, coat
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