Origin of waist

1300–50; Middle English wast, apocopated variant of wastum, Old English wæstm growth, form, figure; akin to wax2
Related formswaist·less, adjective
Can be confusedwaist waste
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for waist

midriff, waistline, abdomen, middle, gut, midsection, girth

Examples from the Web for waist

Contemporary Examples of waist

Historical Examples of waist

  • His arm was about her waist, and hers rested on his shoulder.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Stand fast with the anchors in the waist, and be ready for a cast.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Johnny Rosenfeld still lay in his ward, inert from the waist down.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The Sikh wears his hair down to his waist; the Pathan shaves his head.

  • So she ran and sat down behind her husband, clasping him round the waist.

British Dictionary definitions for waist



anatomy the constricted part of the trunk between the ribs and hips
the part of a garment covering the waist
the middle part of an object that resembles the waist in narrowness or position
the middle part of a ship
Also called: centre section the middle section of an aircraft fuselage
the constriction between the thorax and abdomen in wasps and similar insects
Derived Formswaistless, adjective

Word Origin for waist

C14: origin uncertain; related to Old English wæstm wax ²
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 waist

"middle part of the body," also "part of a garment fitted for the waist," late 14c., probably from Old English *wæst "growth," hence, "where the body grows," from Proto-Germanic *wahs-tu- (cf. Old English wæstm, Old Norse vaxtr, Swedish växt, Old High German wahst "growth, increase," Gothic wahstus "stature," Old English weaxan "to grow" see wax (v.)), from PIE *wegs-, extended form of root *aug- "to increase" (see augment). Meaning "portion of a garment that covers the waist" (but, due to fashion styles, often is above or below it) is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

waist in Medicine




The part of the human trunk between the bottom of the rib cage and the pelvis.
The middle section or part of an object, especially when narrower than the rest.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.