Definitions

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

  • n. Archaic A man's knee-length tunic or coat.
  • n. Archaic A woman's dress or skirt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A knee-length tunic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A garment varying in form and use at different times, and worn both by men and women.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To dispose in the manner of a kirtle.
  • n. In former use, a garment of which the form and purpose varied at different times.
  • n. A tunic or undergarment; a shirt.
  • n. A close-fitting gown for women, which sometimes was called a long kirtle and had a train.
  • n. A garment like a doublet for men.
  • n. A cloak.
  • n. A monk's gown. Coat and kirtle are mentioned together in the middle of the seventeenth century as forming a woman's costume: as, a tawny camlet coat and kirtle cost £10 17s. In this case kirtle is evidently the petticoat, or the garment worn under the coat. See half-kirtle, aud full kirtle, below.
  • n. An outer petticoat.
  • n. A coat or layer of plaster.
  • n. A quantity of flax, about 100 pounds.

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

  • n. a garment resembling a tunic that was worn by men in the Middle Ages
  • n. a long dress worn by women

Etymologies

Middle English kirtel, from Old English cyrtel, probably ultimately from Latin curtus, short; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Cognate with Old Norse kyrtill ( whence Danish kjortel and Icelandic kyrtill). Compare German Kittel. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "A message for Jane Boleyn, the Viscountess Rochford?" he will ask, looking at my plain kirtle and the dust on the hem of my gown, my hand stained with dirt from the London milestone. next »

    Excerpt: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

  • [356-8] The kirtle was a dress-skirt or outer petticoat.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 6

  • Around his waist was a kind of kirtle, the skin of some animal.

    Ringworld

  • "Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands" includes over 50 illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, as well as printed books, and will tell you what a gipser and kirtle were.

    Don't Miss: June 4-10

  • He made short work of her kirtle, baring her body to his greedy gaze.

    Dreams of a Dark Warrior

  • She removed her swords and cloak, revealing her strange garments—an armored vest of stiffened leather over a fine linen blouse and a kirtle so short that her thighs were visible above her high boots.

    Dreams of a Dark Warrior

  • She shrugged from it, then stepped from her kirtle, leaving her garbed in only her blouse.

    Dreams of a Dark Warrior

  • Before that, any colour would do and a wedding was a good excuse to get yourself a new kirtle.

    things to plan for next Maerquin

  • Her nails bit into my skin, even through the thickness of gown and kirtle.

    Secrets of the Tudor Court

  • The gown Mags had found for her was more of a kirtle.

    The Devil Wears Plaid

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  • I'm trying to come up with a less promising title than "Squirrels Have Bright Eyes". Not that easy to do. "All Bunnies Go to Heaven", maybe.

    January 27, 2008

  • "But, as a matter of fact, clothes suffocated her. Supremely Nordic, she ranged her vast apartment clad only in a sort of kirtle."
    – John Collier, "Squirrels Have Bright Eyes", Fancies and Goodnights

    January 27, 2008