a fold of definite, even width made by doubling cloth or the like upon itself and pressing or stitching it in place.

verb (used with object)

to fold or arrange in pleats.

Also plait.

Origin of pleat

1325–75; Middle English; variant of plait
Related formspleat·er, nounpleat·less, adjectiveun·pleat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pleat

gather, ruffle, tuck, crease, plait, crimp, flounce, flute, kilt, ruche

Examples from the Web for pleat

Contemporary Examples of pleat

Historical Examples of pleat

British Dictionary definitions for pleat



any of various types of fold formed by doubling back fabric and pressing, stitching, or steaming into placeSee also box pleat, inverted pleat, kick pleat, knife pleat, sunburst pleats


(tr) to arrange (material, part of a garment, etc) in pleats

Word Origin for pleat

C16: variant of plait
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 pleat

1560s, used as the verb version of plait (n.) and probably representing an alternative pronunciation. Related: Pleated; pleating.


"a fold," 1580s, variant of plait (n.). With a gap in the printed record 17c.-18c., but probably it was in continuous oral use.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper