from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive & transitive verb To jeer or jeer at.
  • noun A sarcastic remark.
  • intransitive verb To encircle (a person or the part of the body) with a belt or band.
  • intransitive verb To fasten or secure (clothing, for example) with a belt or band.
  • intransitive verb To surround.
  • intransitive verb To prepare (oneself) for action.
  • intransitive verb To prepare for action.
  • idiom (gird (up) (one's) loins) To summon up one's inner resources in preparation for action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A hoop, especially one for a barrel, tub, or the like.
  • To bind or confine by encircling with any flexible material, as a cord, bandage, or cloth: as, to gird waist with a sash.
  • To make fast by binding; put on by tying or fastening: usually with on: to gird on a sword.
  • To surround; encircle; encompass; inclose.
  • To invest; clothe; dress; furnish; endue.
  • Hence— Figuratively, to brace the mind or spirit for any effort or trial.
  • To strike; smite.
  • To lash with the tongue; gibe; reproach severely; taunt; upbraid.
  • To leap or spring with violence; rush.
  • To gibe; jeer; mock.
  • noun Twist, used for binding together the fibers of yarn in the process of spinning.
  • noun A stroke with a switch or whip; hence, a twinge or pang.
  • noun A short sudden effort; a spurt.
  • noun A sneer; a gibe; a taunt; a stroke of sarcasm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A stroke with a rod or switch; a severe spasm; a twinge; a pang.
  • noun A cut; a sarcastic remark; a gibe; a sneer.
  • intransitive verb To gibe; to sneer; to break a scornful jest; to utter severe sarcasms.
  • transitive verb obsolete To strike; to smite.
  • transitive verb To sneer at; to mock; to gibe.
  • transitive verb To encircle or bind with any flexible band.
  • transitive verb To make fast, as clothing, by binding with a cord, girdle, bandage, etc.
  • transitive verb To surround; to encircle, or encompass.
  • transitive verb To clothe; to swathe; to invest.
  • transitive verb To prepare; to make ready; to equip.
  • transitive verb to put on; to fasten around or to one securely, like a girdle; as, to gird on armor or a sword.
  • transitive verb to bind tightly with a girdle; to support and strengthen, as with a girdle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To bind with a flexible rope or cord.
  • verb transitive To encircle with, or as if with a belt.
  • noun A sarcastic remark.
  • verb transitive To jeer at.
  • verb intransitive To jeer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb prepare oneself for a military confrontation
  • verb put a girdle on or around
  • verb bind with something round or circular


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English girden, to strike.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English girden, from Old English gyrdan; see gher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English gyrdan ("to put a belt around, to put a girdle around"). Cognate with Albanian ngërthej ("to tie together by weaving, to bind").


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  • As in 'gird your loins.'

    December 9, 2006

  • I don't do much of that....

    October 3, 2007

  • I never really understood this phrase. Is it meant to be taken literally, like wearing a jockstrap?

    October 3, 2007

  • I think it originally meant to tie up one's robe or tunic and fasten between the legs, so you could move or run quickly--so basically, "be ready to move" or "be on the alert." could put on a jockstrap. ;-)

    October 3, 2007

  • I assume it is similar to girdle.

    October 4, 2007

  • A fine explanation from The Explainer, here. I did not know that "loins" meant the area between your hips and ribs.

    October 23, 2008

  • From Middle English: girden (up) lendes - to wrap (one's, someone's) loins; cover (one's) nakedness; fig. gird (one's) loins, prepare, get ready.

    lendes = loins

    October 19, 2011

  • So our buildings are held up by loin wrappers?

    October 20, 2011