[too-too; French ty-ty]
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noun, plural tu·tus [too-tooz; French ty-ty] /ˈtu tuz; French tüˈtü/.
  1. a short, full skirt, usually made of several layers of tarlatan or tulle, worn by ballerinas.

Origin of tutu

Borrowed into English from French around 1925–30


  1. Desmond (Mpi·lo) [uh m-pee-loh] /əmˈpi loʊ/, born 1931, South African Anglican clergyman and civil-rights activist: Nobel Peace Prize 1984; archbishop of Cape Town since 1986.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tutu

petticoat, dress, kilt, sarong, hoop, mini, dirndl, pannier, midi, culottes, tutu

Examples from the Web for tutu

Contemporary Examples of tutu

Historical Examples of tutu

British Dictionary definitions for tutu


  1. a very short skirt worn by ballerinas, made of projecting layers of stiffened sheer material

Word Origin for tutu

from French, changed from the nursery word cucu backside, from cul, from Latin cūlus the buttocks


  1. a shrub, Coriaria arborea, of New Zealand, having seeds that are poisonous to farm animals

Word Origin for tutu



  1. Desmond . born 1931, South African clergyman, noted for his opposition to apartheid: Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg (1984–86) and Archbishop of Cape Town (1986–96); in 1995 he became leader of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to investigate human rights violations during the apartheid era. Nobel peace prize 1984
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 tutu

ballet skirt, 1910, from French tutu, alteration of cucu, infantile reduplication of cul "bottom, backside."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper