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

  • noun The part of the human trunk between the bottom of the rib cage and the pelvis.
  • noun The narrow part of the abdomen of an insect.
  • noun The part of a garment that encircles the waist of the body.
  • noun The upper part of a garment, extending from the shoulders to the waistline, especially the bodice of a woman's dress.
  • noun Archaic A blouse.
  • noun The middle section or part of an object, especially when narrower than the rest.
  • noun Nautical The middle part of the upper deck of a ship between the forecastle and the quarterdeck.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In archery, the narrow middle or handle in a broad flat bow. Bows of this double-paddle shape are used by some primitive peoples.
  • noun The part of the human body between the chest and the hips; the smaller or more compressible section of the trunk below the ribs and above the haunch-bones, including most of the abdomen and the loins.
  • noun Something worn around the waist or body, as a belt or girdle.
  • noun A garment covering the waist or trunk.
  • noun Figuratively, that which surrounds like a girdle.
  • noun That part of any object which bears some analogy to the human waist, somewhere near the middle of its height or length.
  • noun Especially—
  • noun The narrowest part of the body of musical instruments of the violin kind, formed by the bouts, or inward curves of the ribs near the middle of the body.
  • noun Nautical, the central part of a ship.
  • noun The middle part of a period of time.

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

  • noun That part of the human body which is immediately below the ribs or thorax; the small part of the body between the thorax and hips.
  • noun Hence, the middle part of other bodies; especially (Naut.), that part of a vessel's deck, bulwarks, etc., which is between the quarter-deck and the forecastle; the middle part of the ship.
  • noun A garment, or part of a garment, which covers the body from the neck or shoulders to the waist line.
  • noun obsolete A girdle or belt for the waist.
  • noun See Sheet anchor, 1, in the Vocabulary.

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

  • noun The part of the body between the pelvis and the stomach.
  • noun A part of a piece of clothing that covers the waist.
  • noun The narrow connection between the thorax and abdomen in certain insects (e.g., bees, ants and wasps).
  • noun The middle portion of the hull of a ship or the fuselage of an aircraft.
  • noun nautical That part of the upper deck of a ship between the quarterdeck and the forecastle.

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

  • noun the narrowing of the body between the ribs and hips
  • noun the narrow part of the shoe connecting the heel and the wide part of the sole


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

[Middle English wast, perhaps from Old English *wæst, growth, size; see aug- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English waste, wast ("stature, waist"), from Old English *wǣst, *wǣxt, from Proto-Germanic *wahstuz (“growth, development, stature, build”), from Proto-Indo-European *aweks-, *auks-, *weks- (“to multiply, increase”). Cognate with Middle High German wahst ("growth"), Danish vækst ("growth"), Swedish växt ("growth, development, size"), Icelandic vöxtur ("growth"), Gothic  (wahstus, "growth"). Related to Old English weaxan ("to grow, increase"). More at wax.


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  • On a guitar, the narrow area between the upper and lower bouts.

    November 15, 2007

  • The waist, with an "i," lies between the ribs and hips. Credit Johnson (1755) with the "i" spelling.

    September 12, 2011