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

  • transitive v. To encircle with a belt or band.
  • transitive v. To fasten or secure (clothing, for example) with a belt or band.
  • transitive v. To surround. See Synonyms at surround.
  • transitive v. To equip or endow.
  • transitive v. To prepare (oneself) for action.
  • intransitive v. To prepare for action: "Men still spoke of peace but girded more sternly for war” ( W. Bruce Lincoln).
  • idiom gird (up) (one's) loins To summon up one's inner resources in preparation for action.
  • transitive v. To jeer or jeer at.
  • n. A sarcastic remark.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sarcastic remark.
  • v. To jeer at.
  • v. To jeer.
  • v. To bind with a flexible rope or cord.
  • v. To encircle with, or as if with a belt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A stroke with a rod or switch; a severe spasm; a twinge; a pang.
  • n. A cut; a sarcastic remark; a gibe; a sneer.
  • intransitive v. To gibe; to sneer; to break a scornful jest; to utter severe sarcasms.
  • transitive v. To strike; to smite.
  • transitive v. To sneer at; to mock; to gibe.
  • transitive v. To encircle or bind with any flexible band.
  • transitive v. To make fast, as clothing, by binding with a cord, girdle, bandage, etc.
  • transitive v. To surround; to encircle, or encompass.
  • transitive v. To clothe; to swathe; to invest.
  • transitive v. To prepare; to make ready; to equip.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A hoop, especially one for a barrel, tub, or the like.
  • n. A stroke with a switch or whip; hence, a twinge or pang.
  • n. A short sudden effort; a spurt.
  • n. A sneer; a gibe; a taunt; a stroke of sarcasm.
  • n. Twist, used for binding together the fibers of yarn in the process of spinning.

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

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


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

Middle English girden, from Old English gyrdan; see gher-1 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English girden, to strike.

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").



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • So our buildings are held up by loin wrappers?

    October 20, 2011

  • 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

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

    October 23, 2008

  • I assume it is similar to girdle.

    October 4, 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 never really understood this phrase. Is it meant to be taken literally, like wearing a jockstrap?

    October 3, 2007

  • I don't do much of that....

    October 3, 2007

  • As in 'gird your loins.'

    December 9, 2006