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

Examples from the Web for pleating

Historical Examples of pleating

  • She glanced at him sharply, then fell to pleating the gelding's mane.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • "It's a kind of pleating," explained Dorothy, putting down the dog.

    The Road to Oz

    L. Frank Baum

  • For flannel, pleating or gathers may be used to put fullness into a band.

    Textiles and Clothing

    Kate Heintz Watson

  • Three rows or more of pleating may be used on this ornament.

    Make Your Own Hats

    Gene Allen Martin

  • To do this, the inside of the pleating will lap more than the outside.

    Make Your Own Hats

    Gene Allen Martin

British Dictionary definitions for pleating



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 pleating



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