from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The armpit; also, the embrace of the arms.
  • noun In coal-mining, a reëntrant corner in a working face.
  • To support under the arm; embrace with the arms.

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

  • noun Prov. Eng. & Scot. The armpit; also, the arm.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English ōxta, related to eax ("axis, axle") and eaxl ("shoulder"). See also axis and axon.


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  • Neither "ockster" nor "oxter" is an acceptable spelling, and I will give what I believe to be the correct spelling in comments.

    Poll prompted by reading Swift's Directions to the Footman nwhyte 2009

  • The correct spelling is "oxter"; Swift's spelling is archaic and nwhyte's instincts were correct.

    Poll prompted by reading Swift's Directions to the Footman nwhyte 2009

  • The "oxter" is crooked because the arm is engaged carrying them.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop 1836

  • At about 1.30 p.m. he elbowed the door handle and shouldered the door, coffee and sandwich in hand and papers in oxter.

    Well, Ken MacLeod agrees with me rather than with Jonathan Swift secritcrush 2009

  • "You rub your oxter over the beast's nose a few times, to give him your scent and get him accustomed to you, so he won't be nervous of ye."

    Sick Cycle Carousel 2010

  • I touched the hair in his oxter and stroked it, surprised at the soft, silky feel of it.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes Gabaldon, Diana 2005

  • Ye canna live in a man's oxter for three years without learning a great many things ye dinna want to know about him, let alone something like that.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes Gabaldon, Diana 2005

  • Where? says Alf. And begob there he was passing the door with his books under his oxter and the wife beside him and Corny Kelleher with his wall eye looking in as they went past, talking to him like a father, trying to sell him a secondhand coffin. —

    Ulysses 2003

  • And begob what was it only that bloody old pantaloon Denis Breen in his bathslippers with two bloody big books tucked under his oxter and the wife hotfoot after him, unfortunate wretched woman, trotting like a poodle.

    Ulysses 2003

  • “There was many a good man went to the penny-a-week school with a sod of turf under his oxter,” said Mr. Kernan sententiously.

    Dubliners 2003


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  • "Private Cart and Private Compton, swaggersticks tight in their oxters ..."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 28, 2007

  • JM wonders if folk still refer to their armpits as oxters.

    February 1, 2009

  • He growled in his menacing jock's burr,

    "Ah'll happily knock off yer block, sir,

    And send ye South

    Yer tit by yer mouth

    For yer heid ye'll be carryin' oxter."

    August 4, 2014

  • Not to be confused with oxer, a stock-proof fence.

    August 5, 2014

  • Thank you, michaelt42. I didn't know what an oxer is. There is a whole equestrian vocabulary to explore.

    August 5, 2014

  • "I swear you won't hear a bleep or a squeal out of her until she is stuffed up to the oxter."

    The Dirty Dust by Máirtín Ó Cadhain, translated by Alan Titley, p 67

    June 5, 2016