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petticoat

[pet-ee-koht] /ˈpɛt iˌkoʊt/
noun
1.
Also called pettiskirt. an underskirt, especially one that is full and often trimmed and ruffled and of a decorative fabric.
2.
any skirtlike part or covering.
3.
a flounce or valance fitting around the sides of a bed, couch, or chair, as to conceal the legs.
4.
Informal: Sometimes Offensive. a woman or girl (usually used facetiously).
adjective
5.
Informal: Sometimes Offensive. of, relating to, or controlled by women; female; feminine:
petticoat government.
Origin of petticoat
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English petycote. See petty, coat
Related forms
petticoatless, adjective
underpetticoat, noun
Usage note
In reference to a female, this term is usually used for humorous effect, but is sometimes perceived as insulting or demeaning to women.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petticoat
  • They were painted white and wore nothing but a short petticoat.
  • As she summons the field hands for their meal, a gust of wind reveals a provocative bit of petticoat and her shapely ankles.
  • Each petticoat would contain approximately five to seven yards of fabric, as did the skirt.
British Dictionary definitions for petticoat

petticoat

/ˈpɛtɪˌkəʊt/
noun
1.
a woman's light undergarment in the form of an underskirt or including a bodice supported by shoulder straps
2.
(informal)
  1. a humorous or mildly disparaging name for a woman
  2. (as modifier): petticoat politics
Word Origin
C15: see petty, coat
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 petticoat
n.

early 15c., pety coote, literally "a small coat," from petty + coat (n.). Originally a padded coat worn by men under armor, applied mid-15c. to a garment worn by women and young children. By 1590s, the typical feminine garment, hence a symbol of female sex or character.

Men declare that the petticoatless female has unsexed herself and has left her modesty behind. ["Godey's Magazine," April 1896]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
15
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