Share this entry

Share this page

corset

Line breaks: cor¦set
Pronunciation: /ˈkɔːsɪt
 
/

Definition of corset in English:

noun

1A woman’s tightly fitting undergarment extending from below the chest to the hips, worn to shape the figure.
Example sentences
  • Fashion in clothes often influences body shape - witness the corset and the wasp waist.
  • Across from these tiny slippers is a case that displays the evolution of the corsets and brassieres that have twisted and shaped the female figure to reflect the ever-changing ideal of what women should look like in Western culture.
  • I was left only in my corset and my undergarments, shivering.
Synonyms
girdle, panty girdle, foundation garment, foundation, support garment, corselette;
British roll-on
informal , dated waspie
Medicine truss
historical stays
1.1A tightly fitting undergarment worn by men or women to support a weak or injured back.
Example sentences
  • She wore a reinforced corset so she could support her son and take part in the walk.
  • He has reportedly taken to jogging in a corset to keep in shape.
1.2 historical A tightly fitting laced or stiffened outer bodice.
Example sentences
  • Its skirt is a cascade of ostrich feathers, the bodice a beaded corset.
  • I bought a riding crop from a saddlemaker on the outskirts of town and dressed in pantaloons with a tightly drawn corset and laced up boots.
  • For the battle scenes Richard replaces his corset with black trousers and gloves and a red jacket summing up his role as devilish assassin.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French, diminutive of cors 'body', from Latin corpus. The sense 'close-fitting undergarment' dates from the late 18th century, by which time the sense 'bodice' had mainly historical reference.

More
  • corpse from (Middle English):

    At one time corpses did not have to be dead. Until the early 18th century a corpse (from Latin corpus ‘body’) could be the living body of a person or animal, as in ‘We often see…a fair and beautiful corpse but a foul and ugly mind’ (Thomas Walkington, 1607). You would need to specify ‘a dead corpse’ or some similar expression if you were talking about a dead body. In time, you could simply say ‘a corpse’ and people would assume that you meant a dead person. The p used to be silent and the final e was rare before the 19th century. In fact, corpse and corps (late 16th century), ‘a division of an army’ are basically the same word. Latin corpus has given us several words, among them corporation (Late Middle English), corpulent (Late Middle English) or ‘fat’, corset (Middle English) a ‘little body’, and incorporate (Late Middle English). A corporal (mid 16th century) is in charge of a ‘body’ of troops.

Derivatives

corseted

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • At the bottom of the trunk she found a set of white undergarments including lacy petticoats and a full corseted bodice.
  • She'd spent countless hours in front of the sewing machine with Jeri, piecing together her corseted bodice and matching skirts.
  • The corseted bodice cinched in my waist slightly so it was defined.

corsetry

2
noun
Example sentences
  • Of all the pieces shown, my absolute favourite has to be the red silk dress (with spaghetti straps and pronounced corsetry detailing around the bust).
  • The bloomers and a chemise would have gone under layers and layers of corsetry and petticoats, which could weigh up to 7lb.
  • It has become the most imitated item of corsetry this century

Words that rhyme with corset

Dorset, faucet

Definition of corset in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something