Definition of pleat in US English:



  • A double or multiple fold in a garment or other item made of cloth, held by stitching the top or side.

    • ‘Working with upholstery, handloom fabrics, chiffon and rayon the duo played around with pleats, cowl necks, beaded chiffon textures, layers and asymmetrical hemlines.’
    • ‘Also, try to avoid pants with pleats, as they'll make your pelvic area look bigger.’
    • ‘This can be accomplished at side seams, the center back seam, gathers, pleats, darts or a combination of the above.’
    • ‘Sew the decorative stitching across the pleats from one end of the pleated fabric to the other, using the pleating threads as guidelines.’
    • ‘Another way to add volume: try pants with pleats around the pockets.’
    • ‘He stated it was very useful for table cloths and articles without pleats and irregular folding and recommended it for all large families.’
    • ‘Because pleats tend to add bulk, opt for styles with a flat front.’
    • ‘Clearly, I would wear a shirt with a traditional lay-down collar, but pleats or no pleats?’
    • ‘The long-sleeve style has button-through sleeve plackets, adjustable cuffs and a back pleat.’
    • ‘That is why I was so surprised one night when she came into the living room wearing high heels and a mini skirt with side pleats so high I could see she might not be wearing underwear.’
    • ‘By definition, a pleat is a fold in cloth made by doubling the material upon itself and then pressing or stitching it into place.’
    • ‘It has a tailored collar with top button loop, hemmed sleeves, matte pearl buttons, a double-layer back yoke with pleats, left chest pocket and a clean-finish hem with side vents.’
    • ‘It is tailored for women with a spread collar, two back pleats for comfort and a left chest pocket.’
    • ‘If you do find a pair with pleats, do go easy on them.’
    • ‘Its pleats should always be facing up and should match the bow tie.’
    • ‘Yes, I'm sure you already have a pair of black pants, but if they're flowy and full of pleats, then it's time to get one thing straight: your pants.’
    • ‘Being a very feminine line, rounded shapes, inverted pleats, fringes, deconstructed cuts and chunky buttons feature in the collection.’
    • ‘Use cloth napkins, fold them into accordion pleats and place them in the water glasses.’
    • ‘Finally, keep in mind that pants with no pleats or a single pleat are more flattering than multiple pleats.’
    • ‘It is a tube of cloth folded with a pleat to fit the waist and secured with a belt or a tuck in the waist.’
    fold, tuck, crease, gather, pucker, crimp
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[with object]
  • Fold into pleats.

    ‘a short pleated skirt’
    ‘she was absently pleating her skirt between her fingers’
    • ‘Pants are pleated at the top with a peg leg and worn with high heels.’
    • ‘This time there's something about the way the veil is pleated which catches your eye.’
    • ‘Her gymslip was neatly pleated over a well-developed bosom, which again was not the case with me.’
    • ‘The skirt was a simple gray pleated one and it was about a foot too long and practically falling off my hips.’
    • ‘My nana is tall, slim, and is in size 10 jeans, and she hates how pleated skirts look.’
    • ‘She had a penchant for oxford shirts, carefully tucked into her pinch pleated shirts or Bermuda shorts.’
    • ‘Her skirt was orange pleated, and barely covered the tops of her thighs.’
    • ‘A heavy woolen skirt pleated at the back is held in place by a woven sash.’
    • ‘Skirts are layered and pleated in heavy dark grey and black felt.’
    • ‘Connolly gave it a new lease of life by the extravagant method of pleating it - pleated, it took eight metres to achieve one metre of fabric.’
    • ‘She had a dark navy blue pleated skirt, a white t-shirt and yellow kneesocks on.’
    • ‘It was that pleated black Japanese stuff which I thought would be perfect for her but she absolutely hated it.’
    • ‘The place was totally black, with loads of gold upholstery and candelabras and fake fires burning and crisply pleated black curtains.’
    • ‘His usual high leather boots and baggy pleated trews had got soaked and muddy yesterday, he explained, and now they were drying off by the stove at home.’
    • ‘If you are of more generous proportions, pleated trousers may be ideal for you.’
    • ‘The dress is intricately pleated and ruched, like unravelling rope, giving her the appearance of a life-sized corn dolly.’
    • ‘Highlanders originally wore a stretch of plaid, often vegetable dyed, that was draped and pleated to form a skirt with pockets.’
    • ‘She pleated the edge of the handkerchief, working it through her fingers.’
    • ‘Brush the edges of the wrappers with water and fold over to seal, pleating the edges and releasing any air bubbles.’
    • ‘Even the woman who was wearing tapered, pleated jeans knew more than I did.’
    fold, tuck, crease, gather, pucker, crimp
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: a variant of plait. The written form of the word became obsolete between c 1700 and the end of the 19th century.