- Usually loins. the part or parts of the human body or of a quadruped animal on either side of the spinal column, between the false ribs and hipbone.
- a cut of meat from this region of an animal, especially a portion including the vertebrae of such parts.
- the parts of the body between the hips and the lower ribs, especially regarded as the seat of physical strength and generative power.
- the genital and pubic area; genitalia.
- gird (up) one’s loins, to prepare oneself for something requiring readiness, strength, or endurance: He girded his loins to face his competitor.
- Also called: lumbus anatomy the part of the lower back and sides between the pelvis and the ribsRelated adjective: lumbar
- a cut of meat from this part of an animal
early 14c., “side of the body of an animal used for food,” from Old French loigne “hip, haunch, lumbar region,” from Vulgar Latin *lumbea, from *lumbea caro “meat of the loin,” from fem. of *lumbeus, adjective used as a noun, from Latin lumbus “loin” (see lumbago).
Replaced Old English lendenu “loins,” from Proto-Germanic *landwin- (cf. German Lende “loin,” Lenden “loins;” Old High German lenti, Old Saxon lendin, Middle Dutch lendine, Dutch lende, Old Norse lend).
The Latin word perhaps was borrowed from a Germanic source. In reference to the living human body, it is attested from late 14c. In Biblical translations, often used for “that part of the body that should be covered and about which the clothes are bound” (1520s). Related: Loins.
- The part of the body on either side of the spinal column between the ribs and the pelvis.
Also, gird up one’s loins. Prepare oneself for action, as in I’m girding up my loins for that crucial interview. This expression comes from the Bible (Proverbs 31:17) and originally alluded to tucking up the traditional long robe into a girdle (that is, a belt) so it will not hamper physical activity. [c. 1600]
see gird one’s loins.