verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to be or lie on or along the edge of something.
to move along or around the border of something.

Origin of skirt

1250–1300; Middle English skirte < Old Norse skyrta shirt
Related formsskirt·less, adjectiveskirt·like, adjectiveun·skirt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for skirt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skirt

Contemporary Examples of skirt

Historical Examples of skirt

  • The dress was of silky changeable tricolette, the skirt plain.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Some roses grew behind the hollyhocks, and her skirt was caught.

  • The skirt was long enough to tuck around her baby's feet when she carried it.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • "Yes," said Lucindy, smiling, and plaiting her skirt between her nervous fingers.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • She was paying minute attention to the lace insertion of her skirt.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for skirt



a garment hanging from the waist, worn chiefly by women and girls
the part of a dress below the waist
Also called: apron a frieze or circular flap, as round the base of a hovercraft
the flaps on a saddle that protect a rider's legs
British a cut of beef from the flank
(often plural) a margin or outlying area
NZ the lower part of a sheep's fleece
bit of skirt slang a girl or woman


(tr) to form the edge of
(tr) to provide with a border
(when intr, foll by around, along, etc) to pass (by) or be situated (near) the outer edge of (an area, etc)
(tr) to avoid (a difficulty, etc)he skirted the issue
mainly Australian and NZ to remove the trimmings or inferior wool from (a fleece)
Derived Formsskirted, adjective

Word Origin for skirt

C13: from Old Norse skyrta shirt
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 skirt

early 14c., "lower part of a woman's dress," from Old Norse skyrta "shirt, a kind of kirtle;" see shirt. Sense development from "shirt" to "skirt" is possibly related to the long shirts of peasant garb (cf. Low German cognate Schört, in some dialects "woman's gown"). Sense of "border, edge" (in outskirts, etc.) first recorded late 15c. Metonymic use for "women collectively" is from 1550s; slang sense of "young woman" is from 1906; skirt-chaser first attested 1942.


c.1600, "to border, form the edge of," from skirt (n.). Meaning "to pass along the edge" is from 1620s. Related: Skirted; skirting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper