1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Waist

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[ 246 ]

WAIST, the middle part of the human body, the portion lying between the ribs and the hip-bones, comprising the compressible parts of the trunk. The word is also applied to the central portion of other objects, particularly to the narrowest portion of musical instruments of the violin type and to the centre of a ship. The word appears in the M. Eng. as waste, “waste of a mannys' myddel” (Prompt. parv. c. 1440), and is developed from the O. Eng. wæstm, growth, the “waist” being the part where the growth of a man is shown and developed; cf. Icel. vōxtr, stature, shape; Dan. vaext, size, growth, &c. It is thus to be derived from the O. Eng. weaxan, to grow, wax.