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

  • noun A girth that binds a saddle, pack, or blanket to the body of a horse.
  • noun Archaic The fastening belt on a clerical cassock; a cincture.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A girth for a horse; especially, a girth separate from the saddle and passing around the body of the horse, retaining in place a blanket, a sheet, or the like, by passing over it.
  • noun The girdle with which a garment, especially a cassock, is fastened. Compare cincture.
  • noun Same as cauda striati (which see, under cauda).
  • To gird or surround with a surcingle, as a horse.
  • To secure by means of a surcingle, as a blanket or the saddle.

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

  • noun A belt, band, or girth which passes over a saddle, or over anything laid on a horse's back, to bind it fast.
  • noun (Eccl.) The girdle of a cassock, by which it is fastened round the waist.

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

  • noun a long unpadded strap to pass over and keep in place a blanket, pack or saddle on an animal
  • noun a piece of tack wrapped around the belly of a horse, to use when longeing, also know as lungeing; (roller in UK and Australasia)
  • noun a girdle to fasten a garment, especially a cassock


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

[Middle English sursengle, from Old French surcengle : sur-, sur- + cengle, belt (from Latin cingula, from cingere, to gird; see cingulum).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French surcengle, formed with sur ("over") and cengle ("girdle").



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  • Another relative of "cingular" is "surcingle", meaning a belt or girth,

    and used quite memorably by Emily Dickinson in this poem:

    Bees are Black, with Gilt Surcingles --

    Buccaneers of Buzz.

    Ride abroad in ostentation

    And subsist on Fuzz.

    Fuzz ordained -- not Fuzz contingent --

    Marrows of the Hill.

    Jugs -- a Universe's fracture

    Could not jar or spill.

    - from AWADmail Issue 292

    February 4, 2008

  • "'Mama said you would certainly come up and try it on.'

    'There is no need ... Yet I may come up when George and I have finished this surcingle.'

    'Then please may we open the epaulette-case?'"

    --P. O'Brian, The Commodore, 57

    March 16, 2008