Definition of miter in US English:


(British mitre)


  • 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.

    • ‘Apart from his mitre, a bishop also had a ring (usually set with an amethyst) and a staff.’
    • ‘Cardinals wearing white mitres walked onto the square, their red vestments blowing in the breeze.’
    • ‘In it, a bishop who had committed disgraceful acts was stripped of the symbols of his office - mitre, crosier and ring.’
    • ‘The reliquary bust's shoulders were made to look as if draped in a rich brocade, and it has a removable silk and enameled silver miter.’
    • ‘The mitre had a band, or plate of inscribed gold.’
    • ‘There are some scholars who say the fish head hat of the priests of Enki (a Sumerarian god of the earth and world order) later became the miter of the bishops.’
    • ‘Cardinals wearing white miters processed onto the square, the wind rippling their red vestments and the pages of the book of the Gospel, which was placed on the coffin.’
    • ‘He was a tall man to start with, but as an Orthodox priest, he wore a miter on his head, which must have made him appear like a giant as he emerged out of the darkness.’
    • ‘The pope is also, of course, buried with his bishop's ring and with his miter.’
    • ‘Then a man pushed forward from the congregation and rearranged the archbishop's mitre - and we realized it was a scene being shot for a film.’
    • ‘A man in the purple robes and small miter of the Order stepped from the obscurity.’
    • ‘His wobbling mitre gave clerical emphasis to his plea.’
    • ‘The figure, wearing the distinctive mitre - the ceremonial hat of a bishop - replaces an eroded piece of decorative stonework.’
    • ‘In its place is the miter, the representation par excellence of the episcopate.’
    • ‘He is wearing a grey fantasy costume with a red collar and a red-black stripe in the front that resembles a mitre.’
    • ‘It showed me standing by the church door at the end of a service with a mitre almost covering my ears and my eyes.’
    • ‘Now I find myself completely unmoved by badges of hierarchy, of mitres and crooks and crowns.’
    • ‘These church leaders adorn themselves with grand mitres, cloaks and sceptres whilst living and working in lavish and luxurious surroundings.’
    1. 1.1historical A headdress worn by a Jewish high priest.
    2. 1.2historical A headband worn by women in ancient Greece.
  • 2A joint made between two pieces of wood or other material at an angle of 90°, such that the line of junction bisects this angle.

    as modifier ‘a miter saw’
    • ‘The baseboards have butt joints rather than mitre joints and there are two bad locations shown on the diagram.’
    • ‘The legs and leg tops as well as the top frame will need miter or angled cuts.’
    • ‘Add wood glue to the miters and a bead of construction adhesive to the backside to compensate for the light nailing.’
    • ‘Turn the wood around to make a miter cut on the other end.’
    • ‘If a single board length will not cover the entire ridge, join the ends of boards with a miter joint.’
    • ‘The wood, which is through-dyed in the colour black-grey and mitre jointed, gives the tables and Volumina a strong, monolithic character.’
    • ‘Although a miter joint can be used, it is sometimes difficult to get a tight joint, especially when walls are drywall.’
    • ‘Installing trim, countertops, cabinets, flooring, and other woodwork would simply be a matter of cutting perfect 45-and 90-degree angles and miters.’
    • ‘Many carpenters have started using biscuits in the miter joints between trim pieces to lock the joint together and prevent future separation.’
    • ‘Apply some glue at the miter joint between the two pieces.’
    • ‘I then reversed the 45 degree angle on the miter saw one cut the other two 28-inch rails in the same manner.’
    • ‘The joints are also the same, using 45 degree miters.’
    • ‘It's easiest to square up the board, then tilt the miter saw to cut a 45-degree bevel for the first end piece and then square it up to cut the second end.’
    • ‘Once the miter joint looks good, lightly tack it in place.’
    • ‘A professional-quality miter box or, preferably, a 10-inch power miter saw are required for the precision miters and crosscuts.’
    • ‘Apply glue to the miters, and lock the joints with a finish nail from the top and side as shown.’
    • ‘You set an angle on the dial, put a piece of wood on the surface and then big whirling blades of death chomp down and cut a perfect mitre joint for you.’
    • ‘Cut neatly, form mitres at return angles and remove sharp edges, swarf and other potentially dangerous projections.’
    1. 2.1 A diagonal seam of two pieces of fabric that meet at a corner joining.
      • ‘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.’
  • 3A mollusk of warm seas which has a sharply pointed shell with a narrow aperture, supposedly resembling a bishop's miter.

    Family Mitridae, class Gastropoda: Mitra and other genera

    • ‘The octopus to the left was hiding under the shell it's carrying, other juveniles have been found in miter shells.’
    • ‘They reported miter shells in abundance, spider conches, Tridacna, and black-lipped pearl shells, the latter on the Yasawa’
    • ‘This lot includes 20 Pacific miter shells that have been hand-drilled through the tips to make them into beads.’
    • ‘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.’


[with object]
  • Join by means of a miter.

    ‘turn up a double hem, mitering the corners’
    • ‘Another trick here is to miter the ends at a 45-degree angle so that the two pieces of molding will overlap each other to make a cleaner looking trim.’
    • ‘Pin pieces of 2-inch-wide ribbon onto each of the four edges of the curtain panel; miter the corners.’
    • ‘If you are using quarter round tiles, you can either miter the corners or use specially molded quarter round corners if it comes in the pattern of tile you are using.’
    • ‘The corners were mitered as the top of the trim was placed and pinned around the panel.’
    • ‘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.’


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