The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Tea room.
There are hits for "held onto her mother's skirts" or "held onto her skirts". What sense of skirt (or skirts?) is this? Surely not the usual sense of skirt (unless the mother is wearing two skirts??). We seem to lack it.—msh210℠ 17:20, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
- Maybe a left-over from petticoat days when mom did wear layered skirts? —Michael Z. 2010-03-08 20:48 z
- I always perceived "held onto his/her mother's skirts" as a frequentative, describing a protection-seeking tendency. Thus there would only be one mom, but possibly many holdings of multiple skirts. DCDuring TALK 12:08, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- There are lots of hits that describe someone's holding on to his mother's skirts on one occasion rather than frequently.—msh210℠ 19:48, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- It was pretty common for a long time to talk about "skirts" rather than "a skirt", either to emphasise the general array of skirts and underskirts, or the various pleats and folds involved in a single skirt, or sometimes generally with little real difference in meaning at all. Ƿidsiþ 12:55, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- Then it doesn't seem like a separate sense. Perhaps a usage note s.v. skirt?—msh210℠ 19:48, 9 March 2010 (UTC)