Definition of petticoat in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɛtɪkəʊt/


1A woman’s light, loose undergarment hanging from the shoulders or the waist, worn under a skirt or dress.
Example sentences
  • At the bottom of the trunk she found a set of white undergarments including lacy petticoats and a full corseted bodice.
  • The undergarments included stockings, petticoats, drawers, and a corset.
  • She swiftly pulled on the tunic, then the stockings, the corset, petticoats, skirt and boots.
historical crinoline, farthing, hoop petticoat
archaic kirtle
1.1 [as modifier] informal, often derogatory Used to denote female control of something regarded as more commonly dominated by men: he was in danger of succumbing to the petticoat government of Mary and Sarah
More example sentences
  • Nancy was renowned as a petticoat president who dominated the White House.



Example sentences
  • But the smaller key was for another locker, four feet high and five inches wide boasting a single rail and hanger - adequate for storing a single item of clothing as long as it wasn't a petticoated ball gown.
  • Now most of these laws do not specify the actual type of square dancing, but it is clear from the official pictures - showing elaborately petticoated women with elegantly tailored partners - what is meant.
  • They wear long petticoated gowns with shawls, along with extravagant headdresses.


Late Middle English: from petty coat, literally 'small coat': the word originally referred to a garment worn by men under a coat or doublet. The second sense derives from a later use to mean 'skirt'.

  • This comes from the phrase petty coat which means literally ‘small coat’. It was originally a masculine garment, a tight-fitting undercoat worn underneath a doublet or a padded jacket to go under armour. It seems to have been used for a similar under-garment for women. In the late 15th century it started to be fashionable for women to wear full skirts open down the front in an inverted V-shape, the gap filled with a contrasting underskirt, and the term petticoat was transferred to this under-garment.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: petti|coat

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