Definition of pelmet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɛlmɪt/


1A narrow border of cloth or wood, fitted across the top of a door or window to conceal the curtain fittings.
Example sentences
  • Chinoiserie chandeliers and pelmets, fretwork cornices, and ‘India’ wallpaper further ornamented the room, creating a splendid and exotic gardenlike setting.
  • I've already binned the flamboyant curtain pelmets from two rooms and can't wait to get my hands on the oversized brown smoke-glass lamp shade with twiddly gold bits.
  • An archway leads through to the kitchen/dining room which has concealed pelmet lighting, white units at ground level, solid timber worktops and a stainless steel splashback.
1.1British informal A very short skirt.
Example sentences
  • We are not trying to appeal to a 20-year-old, and I don't know a woman over 30 who wears a see-through blouse and pelmet skirt.
  • Don't succumb to strange unsightly trends because some over-hyped it-girl is wearing a pelmet skirt.
  • They are getting shorter and shorter these days, almost like pelmets.


Early 20th century: probably an alteration of French palmette, literally 'small palm' (see palmette).

  • palm from Old English:

    Although most dictionaries regard them as separate English words, palm meaning ‘a tropical tree’, and palm ‘the inner surface of the hand’ are from the same root, Latin palma ‘palm of the hand’, which is related to planus ‘flat’ ( see plain). In ancient Rome a leaf or branch of a palm tree would be placed in the hands of the victor in a contest, from which the tree got its name. The sense ‘conceal’ dates from the late 17th century and comes from cheats who would palm a card to hide it from other players. Pelmet (early 20th century) is probably an alteration of French palmette, literally ‘small palm’, formerly a conventional ornament on window cornices.

Words that rhyme with pelmet


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pel¦met

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