• (British) enPR: skû(r)t, IPA: /skɜːt/
  • (America) enPR: skûrt, IPA: /skɝt/

skirt (plural skirts)

  1. An article of clothing, usually worn by women and girls, that hangs from the waist and covers the lower part of the body.
    • circa 1907 O. Henry, The Purple Dress:
      "I like purple best," said Maida. "And old Schlegel has promised to make it for $8. It's going to be lovely. I'm going to have a plaited skirt and a blouse coat trimmed with a band of galloon under a white cloth collar with two rows of—"
  2. The part of a dress or robe, etc., that hangs below the waist.
    • 1885, Ada S. Ballin, The Science of Dress in Theory and Practice, Chapter XI:
      The petticoats and skirts ordinarily worn are decidedly the heaviest part of the dress ; hence it is necessary that some reform should be effected in these.
    • 1891, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Red-Headed League
      “It's all clear,” he whispered. “Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump, Archie, jump, and I'll swing for it!”
      Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar. The other dived down the hole, and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts.
  3. A loose edging to any part of a dress.
    • July 27, 1713, Joseph Addison, The Guardian no. 118
      A narrow lace, or a small skirt of fine ruffled linen, which runs along the upper part of the stays before, and crosses the breast, being a part of the tucker, is called the modesty piece.
  4. A petticoat.
  5. (pejorative, slang) A woman.
    • 1931, Robert E. Howard, Alleys of Peril:
      "Mate," said the Cockney, after we'd finished about half the bottle, "it comes to me that we're a couple o' blightin' idjits to be workin' for a skirt."
      "What d'ya mean?" I asked, taking a pull at the bottle.
      "Well, 'ere's us, two red-blooded 'e-men, takin' orders from a lousy little frail, 'andin' the swag h'over to 'er, and takin' wot she warnts to 'and us, w'en we could 'ave the 'ole lot. Take this job 'ere now--"
  6. (UK, colloquial) Women collectively, in a sexual context.
  7. (UK, colloquial) Sexual intercourse with a woman.
  8. Border; edge; margin; extreme part of anything.
    • ca. 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act III, sc. 2:
      here in the skirts of the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
    • 1820, John Keats, “Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil. A Story from Boccaccio.”, in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, London: Printed [by Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, […], OCLC 927360557 ↗, stanza XXXIX, page 68 ↗:
      I am a shadow now, alas! alas! / Upon the skirts of human-nature dwelling / Alone: [...]
  9. The diaphragm, or midriff, in animals.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Saum
  • Portuguese: borda
  • Russian: грани́ца

skirt (skirts, present participle skirting; past and past participle skirted)

  1. To be on or form the border of.
    The plain was skirted by rows of trees.
  2. To move around or along the border of; to avoid the center of.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 1
      An enormous man and woman (it was early-closing day) were stretched motionless, with their heads on pocket-handkerchiefs, side by side, within a few feet of the sea, while two or three gulls gracefully skirted the incoming waves, and settled near their boots.
  3. To cover with a skirt; to surround.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 5”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
  4. To avoid or ignore (something); to manage to avoid (something or a problem); to skate by (something).
    He skirted the issue of which parties to attend by staying at home instead.
Related terms Translations

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