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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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a garment varying in form and use at different times, and worn doth by men and women. Wearing her norman car, and her kirtle of blue. (Longfellow)

The term is still retained in the provinces, in the sense of an outer petticoat.

Origin: oe. Kirtel, curtel, as. Cyrtel; skin to Icel. Kyrtill, Sw. Kjortel, dan. Kiortel, kiole.