What word does your mother always say?


[gurth] /gɜrθ/
the measure around anything; circumference.
a band that passes underneath a horse or other animal to hold a saddle in place, especially one having a buckle at each end for fastening to straps running from under the flaps of the saddle.
something that encircles; a band or girdle.
verb (used with object)
to bind or fasten with a girth.
to girdle; encircle.
Also, girt.
Origin of girth
1300-50; Middle English girth, gerth < Old Norse gerth girdle; akin to gird1
Related forms
undergirth, noun
ungirthed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for girth
  • In fact, he notes, the girth of the water pipes allows smokers to take bigger puffs than on cigarettes.
  • Amazon horned frogs achieve their enormous girth by being generally indiscriminate about what they eat.
  • Easy sleep is a distant memory now that she must contend with tens of pounds of extra girth.
  • Streamline fatties by shaving off some girth with a vegetable peeler.
  • It's about twice the girth of a normal ballpoint pen and operates without a battery.
  • Whether milled for bread or cooked as nubbins, grains are stalwart little soldiers that can be counted on to add girth to dinner.
  • Good food was his main indulgence, as his girth indicated.
  • And to be sure, the easiest way for an automaker to shed a vehicle's girth is to shrink it.
  • But girth shouldn't be the only dimension in the health care debate.
  • Its extra girth made the difference and prevented the pore from closing.
British Dictionary definitions for girth


the distance around something; circumference
size or bulk: a man of great girth
a band around a horse's belly to keep the saddle in position
(usually foll by up) to fasten a girth on (a horse)
(transitive) to encircle or surround
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse gjörth belt; related to Gothic gairdagirdle1; see gird1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for girth

c.1300, "belt around a horse's body," from Old Norse gjorð "girdle, belt, hoop," from Proto-Germanic *gertu- (cf Gothic gairda "girdle"), from the same source as gird. Sense of "measurement around an object" first recorded 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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