Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 7, 2020 is:
midriff • MID-riff • noun
1 : the mid-region of the human torso : midsection
2 a : a section of a garment that covers the midriff
b : a garment that exposes the midriff
3 : a body partition of muscle and connective tissue; specifically : the partition separating the chest and abdominal cavities in mammals : diaphragm
Even the store’s winter line of clothing includes a number of midriff-baring tops, albeit paired with oversized cardigans or flannel shirts.
Did you know?
Midriff is now most commonly encountered in the mid-torso or clothing-related senses. These senses are relatively young, having appeared, respectively, in the early 19th and mid-20th centuries. For most of its history, however, midriff has been used to refer to the diaphragm (a large flat muscle separating the lungs from the stomach area). The diaphragm sense has been with us for more than 1,000 years, with the earliest known uses being found in Old English manuscripts such as Bald’s Leechbook, a medical text that is believed to date back to the 9th century. The riff in midriff comes from Old English hrif (“belly, womb”). Hrif is akin to Old High German href (“womb”) and probably also to Latin corpus (“body”).