Posted by: Jack Henry | October 4, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Skirts

Today’s topic comes from one of our readers who was, I think, watching Schindler’s List, and heard the term “skirt” being used to refer to a woman. He then mentioned “skirting the law.” Although references to women and avoiding the law seem unrelated, the various meanings of the word skirt, whether used as a noun or a verb, are actually closely connected.

According to Merriam-Webster, skirt used as a noun is all of these things:

· the part of an outer garment or undergarment extending from the waist down that has a free hanging lower edge and is cut in one with the upper part of the garment or attached at the waistline

· either of two usually leather flaps on a saddle covering the bars on which the stirrups are hung

· a cloth facing hanging loosely and usually in folds or pleats from the bottom edge or across the front of a piece of furniture

· the outer part of a parachute canopy

· the lower branches of a tree when near the ground

· the rim, periphery, or environs of an area, territorial division, or natural feature

· part or attachment serving as a rim, border, edging, or endpiece of an object: such as:

o the lip of a bell

o an apron piece or border in a building (such as a baseboard or the molded piece under a window stool)

o a decorative piece on furniture connecting the legs along the lower edge of the table top, chair seat, or base

o a protective guard or plating on machinery and appliances

o a sheet metal covering for the wheels and other working parts of a locomotive

o the bottom portion of the vertical wall of a screw-on jar cap

· the final portions of a period of time

· the diaphragm or midriff of an animal used as edible meat

· British: a flank of beef

· slang: girl, woman [KC – Derogatory term that may lead to fisticuffs!]

· the bearing surface of a piston consisting of the plain cylindrical portion below the ring

· Fabric, fleece

Most of these things have a similar shape or the function of surrounding something, sort of like the items below.


Bed skirt

Tree skirt

The outskirts of an area

As far as the verb skirt goes, here are a few more definitions from M-W:

· to form the border or edge of : run along the edge of : border

· to go or proceed closely around or about : follow the outskirts of

· to remove the skirtings from a fleece of wool [KC-Trimming the edge.]

· to be, lie, or move along an edge, border, or margin : follow a roundabout path

· of a hound : to cut corners rather than follow the actual path of a fox

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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