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gird, v.1

Forms:  Inflected girded and girt. Forms: OE gyrdan, Northumb. gi-gyrde, ME–15 gerd(e, ME–16 girde, (ME gyrdyn, gurde, 15 gyrde), 15– gird. pa. tense. α. OE gyrde, ME gurde, (ME gurd, gerd), ME girde, (ME pl. gurdene), 15 gyrd(e. β. ME girdede, ME–15 gyrded, 15 gerded, 15– girded. γ. ME gyrt, gert, girt(e, ME gyrte, 16– girt. pa. pple. α. OE gyrded, ME gyrdid, Sc. girdit, 15 gerded, gyrded, 15– girded. β. ME i-gurd, ME gurde, ME–15 gird(e, ME–15 gyrd(e. γ. ME gert, ME girte, 15 gerte, gyrte ( gyrthe), ME– girt.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Etymology: Old English gyrdan   = Old Saxon gurdian   (Dutch gorden  ), Old High German gurten   (Middle High German and modern German gürten  ), Old Norse gyrða   (Old Swedish giorþa  , Swedish gjorda  , Danish gjorde  ) to gird < Old Germanic *gurđjan  . To other grades of the same root belong Gothic (bi-  , uf-)gairdan   to gird, gairda   girdle; see girth n.1, garth n.2; some scholars connect also Gothic gard-s   house, corresponding to garth n.1, yard n.1
Throughout its whole history the English word is chiefly employed in rhetorical language, in many instances with more or less direct allusion to biblical passages.

 a. trans. To surround, encircle (the waist, a person about the waist) with a belt or girdle, esp. for the purpose of confining the garments and allowing freer action to the body. Chiefly refl. or pass.; also, after Biblical phrase, to gird one's loins , to gird one's reins , etc. Also to gird up , to gird about .

c950   Lindisf. Gosp. John xxi. 18   Mið-ðy [þu] uere giungra ðu waldes ðec gigyrde..miððy uutudlice ðu bist geuintrad..oðer ðec gyrdeð.
?c1225  (▸?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 307   Ge Schulen inan hetter & igurd liggen.
a1325  (▸c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 3149   Sod and girt, stondende, and staf on hond.
c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 1804   Coryneus first vp he stirt, & wyþ a cloþ his body gyrt.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Tobit v. 5   Tobie..fond a ȝung man stondende, ful faire, gird [1535 Coverdale gyrded vp], and as redi to gon.
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) Exod. xii. 11   Ȝe schulen girde about ȝoure reynes.
c1430   Syr Gener. (Roxb.) 7054   The lauendres kirtel on she cast, She gird hir, and tukked hir fast.
1483   Caxton tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende 432 b/2   For gyrdle he gyrded hym on his bare flesshe wyth a corde.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Kings iv. 29   Girde vp thy loynes, and take my staffe in thy hande, and go thy waye.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Luke xii. 35   Let youre loynes be gerded aboute.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost ix. 1113   Those Leaves They gatherd..And..together sowd, To gird thir waste.  
1782   W. Cowper Truth in Poems 82   In shirt of hair, and weeds of canvas dressed, Girt with a bell-rope that the Pope has blessed.
1810   Scott Lady of Lake iii. 106   He girt his loins, and came.
1865   Dickens Our Mutual Friend II. iii. iv. 25   She girded herself with a white apron.
1872   Earl of Pembroke & G. H. Kingsley S. Sea Bubbles vii. 176   They girded him with strange belts.

c950—1872(Hide quotations)


 b. fig. To prepare (oneself) for action; to brace up (oneself) for, to, or to do something. Often with up.

c1450   tr. Thomas à Kempis De Imitatione Christi i. xix. 22   Girde þe as a man ayenst þe fendes wickednes.
1592   tr. F. Du Jon Apocalypsis xiv. 1   As ready gird to doe his office in the midst of the Church.
1673   W. Cave Primitive Christianity i. iii. 49   The mind is strengthened and girt close by indigence and frugality.
1782   W. Cowper Conversation in Poems 247   [They] one in heart, in int'rest and design, Gird up each other to the race divine.
1822   W. Hazlitt Table-talk (1869) 2nd Ser. vi. 126   To gird themselves up to any enterprize of pith or moment.
1860   J. L. Motley Hist. Netherlands (1868) I. i. 15   He was already girding himself for his life's work.

c1450—1860(Hide quotations)


c. To clothe with or in a garment confined by a girdle. Obs. rare.

1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) 2 Sam. vi. 14   Dauid is gird [L. accinctus; a1425 L.V. clothed; 1611 girt] with a surplees.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 408   Girt in his Gabin Gown the Heroe sate.

1382—1697(Hide quotations)


d. To bind (a horse) with a saddle-girth. (Cf. girth v. 2) Obs.

c1330   Arth. & Merl. 3985   Adoun þai liȝt & her hors girten.
c1420   Anturs of Arth. xxxix. 495   Gawayne and Galerone gurdene [v.r. dyghtis] here stedes.
1509   A. Barclay Brant's Shyp of Folys (Pynson) f. xxxvii,   He is a fole..That to his saddyll wolde lepe on hye Before or he haue gyrt his horse.
?1567   Merie Tales Master Skelton sig. Bvii,   Skelton commaunded the Ostler to sadle his Mare, & the hosteler did gyrde the mare hard.
1677   G. Miege New Dict. French & Eng.   To gird a Horse, cengler un cheval.

c1330—1677(Hide quotations)


 2. fig. To invest or endue with attributes, esp. (after biblical phrase) with strength, power, etc.

c1000   Ags. Ps. (1835) xvii. 31 [xviii. 32]   Se god me gegyrde mid mægnum, and mid cræftum.
a1300   E.E. Psalter (Horstm.) xvii. 33 [xviii. 32]   Lauerd þat girde me with might.
1388   Wyclif Psalms (Horstm.) xvii. 33 [xviii. 32]   God that hath gird me with vertu.
1388   Wyclif Psalms lxiv. 7 [lxv. 6]   Thou makest redi hillis in thi vertu, and art gird with power.
1530   Myroure Oure Ladye (Fawkes) (1873) ii. 126   The vyrgyn mari in whome thou hast cladde the in fayrnesse, & gyrthe the in strengthe.
1580   Sir P. Sidney tr. Psalmes David xviii. ix,   This God then girded me in his all-mighty pow'rs.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vii. 194   The Son On his great Expedition now appeer'd, Girt with Omnipotence.  
1810   S. Rogers Voy. Columbus i. 3   Sent forth to save, and girt with God-like power.
1820   Shelley Prometheus Unbound i. i. 51   The sights with which thou torturest gird my soul With new endurance.
1874   J. S. Blackie On Self-culture 14   Without carrying away any living pictures of significant story which might..gird them with endurance in a moment of difficulty.

c1000—1874(Hide quotations)


 3. To equip (oneself or another) with a sword suspended from a belt fastened round the body; sometimes with reference to investing a person with the sword of knighthood.

OE   Genesis 2866   Hine se halga wer gyrde grægan sweorde.
1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls.) 3615   Mid is suerd he was igurd, þat so strong was & kene.
a1375   William of Palerne (1867) l. 3291   Þe kniȝt..gerd him wiþ a god swerd.
a1500  (▸?c1450)    Merlin (1899) xx. 322   Gonnore..hir-self girde hym with his swerde.
1569   R. Grafton Chron. II. 95   Vpon Easter day..he was gyrde with the sworde of the Duke of Briteyn.
1643   R. Baker Chron.: Edward III 156   And because he had not yet received the Order of knighthood, he was by Henry Earle of Lancaster girt solemnly with the Sword.
1663   S. Butler Hudibras: First Pt. i. ii. 128   Was I for this entitled Sir, And girt with trusty sword and spur.  
1848   ‘L. Mariotti’ Italy Past & Present I. p. xxv,   They gave her a standard; they girt her sons with the weapons of war.

OE—1848(Hide quotations)


 a. To fasten (a sword or other weapon) to one's person by means of a belt. Const. on, upon, to. Also with on adv.

c1000   Ags. Ps. (1835) xliv. 4 [xlv. 3]   Gyrd nu þin sweord ofer þin þeoh [L. super femur tuum] þu Mihtiga.
a1300   E.E. Psalter (Horstm.) xliv. 4 [xlv. 3]   Girde þi swerde of iren and stele Ouer þi thee.
1480   Caxton Chron. Eng. cc. 181   Andrew of herkela..worthely arrayed and with a swerd gurt aboute hym.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) xliii. 146   He dyd on his helme and gyrte on his sword.
1555   R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worlde f. 270v,   Hauynge theyr quyuers of arrowes gerte to them.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vi. 714   My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh.  
1718   M. Prior Solomon on Vanity i, in Poems Several Occasions (new ed.) 406   The combatant too late the field declines, When now the sword is girded to his loins.
1781   Gibbon Decline & Fall II. xlv. 689   A trusty sword was constantly girt to their side.
1832   E. Bulwer-Lytton Eugene Aram I. i. iv. 75   His pistols were still girded round him.
1841   Dickens Barnaby Rudge iii. 251   Girded to his side was the steel hilt of an old sword without blade or scabbard.
1883   R. L. Stevenson Treasure Island v. xxii. 176   The doctor took up his hat and pistols, girt on a cutlass..and..crossed the palisade.

c1000—1883(Hide quotations)


 b. To secure (clothing, armour, etc.) on the person by means of a girdle; also to gird on , to gird up .

1297   R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 8962   Þo caste þis gode mold hire mantel of anon & gurde aboute hire middel a uair linne ssete.
c1380   Wyclif Wks. (1880) 316   Ȝif þise cloþis ben gurde & more large in widnesse, þei beren on hem more synne.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) John xxi. 7   Simon Peter..gyrde his mantell aboute him & sprange in to ye see.
1583   P. Stubbes Second Pt. Anat. Abuses sig. O8v,   An olde gowne girded to him with a thong.
1611   Bible (King James) 1 Kings xx. 32   So they girded sackcloth on their loynes.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost vi. 542   Let each His Adamantine coat gird well.  
1791   W. Cowper tr. Homer Iliad in Iliad & Odyssey I. xi. 17   Bade the Greeks Gird on their armour.
1815   Scott Lord of Isles v. xxxiv. 218   Warn Lanark's knights to gird their mail.
1835   W. Irving Tour Prairies 45   He rode with his finely shaped head and breast naked, his blanket being girt round his waist.
1855   C. Kingsley Heroes (1868) ii. 24   So Perseus arose, and girded on the sandals and the sword.
1877   J. Northcote Catacombs i. v. 71   With his tunic girt high about his loins.

1297—1877(Hide quotations)


 c. To put (a cord, etc.) round something. rare.

1726   Swift Gulliver I. i. i. 20   Very strong Cords..which the Workmen had girt round my Neck, my Hands, my Body, and my Legs.

1726—1726(Hide quotations)

 5. transf. and fig.

a. To surround as with a belt; to tie firmly or confine. Also to gird up , to gird in , to gird about , to gird together . Obs.

1602   J. Marston Antonios Reuenge ii. v. sig. E2v,   Then I Catch straight the cords end; and..offer a rude hand, As readie to girde in thy pipe of breath.
1609   Shakespeare Sonnets xii. sig. B3v,   Sommers greene all girded vp in sheaues.  
1611   Bible (King James) Ecclus. xxii. 16   As timber girt and bound together in a building [etc.].
1657   R. Ligon True Hist. Barbados Index to Plate 84   Two stantions of timber, which are girded together in severall places, with wood or iron.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost viii. 82   How [they will] gird the Sphear With Centric and Eccentric scribl'd o're.  
1674   N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 128   For I take the seed..to be a cluster of bubbles wryed up snug, or a bottome of hoops or springs closely girt or knit together.

1602—1674(Hide quotations)


 b. To encircle (a town, etc.) with an armed force; to besiege, blockade.

1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VI f. cliijv,   He..determined to get the town of Vernoyle in perche, & gyrd it round about with a strong seage.
a1592   R. Greene Hist. Orlando Furioso (1594) sig. Cii,   But trust me Princes I haue girt his fort, And I will sacke it.
a1627   J. Hayward Ann. Four Years Elizabeth (1840) 66   But the French was so streightly girt up within Lieth, that no supplies were brought unto them.
1814   H. F. Cary tr. Dante Vision I. xiv. 60   This of the seven kings was one, Who girt the Theban walls with siege.
1867   Dickens Let. 17 Mar. (1999) XI. 337   The whole place is secretly girt in with a military force.

1548—1867(Hide quotations)


 c. To fasten tightly, draw close (as a fetter or bond) upon a person. rare.

1738   D. Neal Hist. Puritans IV. iii. 139   His Highness girt the Laws close upon the Papists.

1738—1738(Hide quotations)


 a. Said of that which surrounds: To encircle, enclose, confine.

c1290   S. Eng. Leg. I. 206   Some of þe naddrene biclupten heom so faste al a-boute Þat heom þouȝte heo scholden to-berste so streite heo gurden heom with-oute.
1487  (▸a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xvii. 616   Gret flaggatis tharof thai maid, Gyrdit with Irne-bandis braid.
1749   T. Smollett Regicide v. ix. 79   An Iron Crown, intensely hot, shall gird Thy hoary Temples.
1781   W. Cowper Retirem. 243   Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break His only bliss is sorrow for her sake.
1822   J. M. Good Study Med. IV. 573   A discoloration..which extended..over the loins, and very nearly girded the body.
1843   T. Carlyle Past & Present iii. ii. 202   Girt with the iron ring of Fate.
1864   Tennyson Enoch Arden 157   Then first since Enoch's golden ring had girt Her finger [etc.].
1868   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest (1876) II. viii. 197   A mighty mound girded by a fosse.

c1290—1868(Hide quotations)


 b. of natural surroundings or barriers, esp. of rivers.

1601   R. Johnson tr. G. Botero Trauellers Breuiat 7   The nauigable riuers, whereof some (as it were) gird in the whole realme.
a1616   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 3 (1623) iv. ix. 20   Like to his Iland, girt in with the Ocean.  
1667   Milton Paradise Lost iv. 276   That Nyseian Ile Girt with the River Triton.  
1809   N. Pinkney Trav. South of France 27   This lawn..was girded entirely around by a circle of lofty trees.
1853   G. Johnston Terra Lindisfarnensis I. 13   The range thus girds in and defines the plain.
1880   J. Thomson City of Dreadful Night 4   A river girds the city west and south.

1601—1880(Hide quotations)


 c. of a ring or crowd of people; chiefly refl. or pass.

1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 1415   Your company along I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them To see me girt with Friends.  
1815   Wordsworth White Doe of Rylstone iii. 50   They stood, and girt their Father round.
a1839   W. M. Praed Poems (1864) II. 37   Girt with a crowd of listening Graces, With expectation on their faces.
1864   Tennyson Boadicea 5   Boadicea..Girt by half the tribes of Britain.

1671—1864(Hide quotations)


 d. of immaterial surroundings (chiefly pass.).

1645   Milton On Christ's Nativity: Hymn xxii, in Poems 10   Ashtaroth..Now sits not girt with Tapers holy shine.
1671   Milton Paradise Regain'd i. 120   So to the Coast of Jordan he directs His easie steps; girded with snaky wiles.  
1832   Tennyson Palace of Art lxxi, in Poems (new ed.) 88   Shut up as in a crumbling tomb, girt round With blackness as a solid wall.
1836   H. Holland Med. Notes (1839) 274   It is well worthy of note..how long in fact it [life] may continue, thus narrowed and girt in on every side.
1847   L. Hunt Jar of Honey (1848) ix. 120   Unheard was shepherd's song, And silence girt the woods.

1645—1847(Hide quotations)


 e. To move round. rare.

1688   M. Prior Ode Exod. iii. 14 iii. 14, 51   Why does each consenting Sign With prudent Harmony combine..To gird the Globe, and regulate the Year?
1812   R. Woodhouse Elem. Treat. Astron. v. 20   They [Navigators] must therefore have surrounded, or girded the Earth.

1688—1812(Hide quotations)


7. intr. Of a string: To have a grip upon what it encircles. Obs.

1680   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. x. 187   The String..will touch and gird more upon the Groove of the Work, and consequently..will the better command the Work about.

1680—1680(Hide quotations)