Definition of miter in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmīdər/
(British mitre)


Image of miter
1A tall headdress worn by bishops and senior abbots as a symbol of office, tapering to a point at front and back with a deep cleft between.
Example sentences
  • In it, a bishop who had committed disgraceful acts was stripped of the symbols of his office - mitre, crosier and ring.
  • He is wearing a grey fantasy costume with a red collar and a red-black stripe in the front that resembles a mitre.
  • The mitre had a band, or plate of inscribed gold.
1.1 historical A headdress worn by a Jewish high priest.
1.2 historical A headband worn by women in ancient Greece.
Image of miter
2 (also miter joint) A joint made between two pieces of wood or other material at an angle of 90°, such that the line of junction bisects this angle.
Example sentences
  • Apply some glue at the miter joint between the two pieces.
  • Once the miter joint looks good, lightly tack it in place.
  • Although a miter joint can be used, it is sometimes difficult to get a tight joint, especially when walls are drywall.
2.1A diagonal seam of two pieces of fabric that meet at a corner joining.
Example sentences
  • Rethread the needle and, beginning at a bottom corner, blind stitch up the corner miter to the fabric upper edge.
  • On a sectioned shade, clip the corners at the shade lower edge so they form a miter when the hem is turned up.
3 (also miter shell) A mollusk of warm seas that has a sharply pointed shell with a narrow aperture, supposedly resembling a bishop’s miter.
  • Family Mitridae, class Gastropoda: Mitra and other genera.
Example sentences
  • In one corner were piles of seashells attractively packaged and framed in boxes for hanging on the wall - cowries and mitre shells, murex and spider shells.
  • The nautilus shell and miter shell are arranged as illustrations from a natural science sketch book.
  • This lot includes 20 Pacific miter shells that have been hand-drilled through the tips to make them into beads.


[with object]
Join by means of a miter.
Example sentences
  • When mitering the box trim, always start by first cutting and mounting an end trim piece, then the long front trim and finally the other end.
  • Pin pieces of 2-inch-wide ribbon onto each of the four edges of the curtain panel; miter the corners.
  • The corners were mitered as the top of the trim was placed and pinned around the panel.


Late Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek mitra 'belt or turban'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mi·ter

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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