'Hips' vs 'Waist': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on September 12, 2023

Are you wondering about the difference between 'hips' vs. 'waist?' I can help!

Here is the short version: 

  • 'Hips' are joints located at the bottom of the trunk and connect the femurs and pelvis and include the fleshy parts that cover the area. 
  • 'Waist' is the part of the torso that is typically the narrowest between the hips and the upper back or chest.

Knowing where the hips and waist are is crucial if you order a suit or tailored clothing. It is also critical if you are writing product descriptions with measurements, describing physical anatomy, or discussing health topics.

So, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Hips' vs. 'Waist?'

The 'hips' and 'waist' are both terms for parts of the body. Some people may use these terms for each other mistakenly, but the 'hips' are below the 'waist.'

  • The 'hips' include the portion of the body located at the hip joint and covered with fleshy parts. The 'hips' usually stick out further than the rest of the legs and torso.
  • On the other hand, the 'waist' is the portion of the torso between the 'hips' and lower chest or upper back that indents.

How to Measure 'Hips' vs. 'Waist'

Now that you have an idea of the difference between 'hips' vs. 'waist' here are a few tips for using these terms.

When you are measuring the 'hips' or 'waist,' it is imperative that you measure them correctly. For 'hip' measurements, place a fabric or plastic measuring tape around your body in the middle of the bottom of the ribs and the top of the 'hips.'

For 'hip' measurements, measure around the widest portion of the area where your pelvis meets your femur bone.

Definition of 'Hips': What Does 'Hips' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'hip' as a noun that means:

  • The laterally projecting region is a portion of the lower mammal trunk formed by the joint connecting the pelvis and upper part of the femur, as well as the fleshy parts that cover them

It can also mean:

  • The hip joint
  • The angle formed on the outside of a roof by two sloping sides with wall plates that run in different directions

'Hip' can also be an adjective that means:

  • Being part of the in-crowd
  • Having knowledge of and interest in the latest trends or fashions
  • Awareness or knowledge of something

It can also be an interjection that means:

  • Cheers

*NOTE: When someone says 'hips,' they are almost always referring to the noun form of the word that refers to human anatomy.

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Hips'

  • Chic
  • Happening
  • Popular
  • Cool
  • Fashionable
  • Exclusive
  • Fresh
  • Smart
  • In style
  • Cool
  • Modern
  • Sharp
  • Style

Definition of 'Waist': What Does 'Waist' Mean?

The same source defines 'waist' as a noun that means:

  • The usually thinner portion of the torso between the upper 'hip' and upper back

It can also mean:

  • The constricted portion of the abdomen on some insects, including wasps and flies
  • The portion of an object that resembles a human 'waist.'
  • The portion of deck between the poop deck and the forecastle on a boat or vessel
  • The middle of a sailboat between the foremast and mainmast
  • The middle portion of an airplane fuselage
  • A garment or section of a garment that covers the neck to the waistline
  • A bodice or blouse

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Waist'

  • Midriff
  • Abdomen
  • Trunk
  • Waistline
  • Midsection
  • Belly
  • Abs
  • Waist trainer
  • Waist slimmer
  • High waist
  • Low waist
  • Mid waist

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Hips' vs. 'Waist'

Next, let's look at the pronunciation of 'hips' vs. 'waist.' These are terms you may have to use in conversation. Furthermore, whether you are learning English as a second language or working on your public speaking and writing skills, learning proper pronunciation is beneficial.

So, here is a pronunciation guide for you to reference. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'hips':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'waist':


Sample Sentences Using 'Hips' vs. 'Waist'

You are almost done with this post, but before you go, read these sample sentences using 'hips' vs. 'waist.' They will help you remember the meanings of these terms and how to use them in different contexts.


  • Your hips look slimmer. Have you been running?
  • The hips are a challenging area to target when you are working out.
  • I slipped on a piece of fabric that was on the floor and got a huge bruise on my hip.
  • You have to move your hips when you are belly dancing.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, having good posture, exercising regularly, and weight training are great ways to ensure your hips stay healthy.


  • That waist trainer makes her midsection look much thinner.
  • You can make your waist smaller by doing core strengthening and toning exercises.
  • High-waist jeans are not a style everyone can pull off.
  • Can you believe that women used to wear corsets under their clothes every day to make their waists appear thinner?
  • Have you seen the dresses that use strategically placed lines to slim your waist?


  • Accurately measuring your hips and waist is a critical step if you are making a dress or outfit.
  • It is also helpful to know the measurement of your hips and waist when you are ordering clothes online.
  • Many people wish they had a smaller waist and hips.

Final Thoughts on the Difference Between 'Hips' vs. 'Waist'

Congratulations! You finished this post. Here is a quick recap of what you learned about the difference between 'hips' vs. 'waist': 

  • The 'hips' are the area below the 'waist' where the hip joints connect the pelvis and the femur and include the fleshy area that covers it. 
  • The 'waist' is found in the middle of the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hips, typically the thinnest part of a mammal's torso. 

There are numerous words like 'hips' and 'waist' that confuse English language learners and experienced writers. So, we have hundreds of guides to help you verify the correct meaning and usage of terms like these in the confusing words section here.

If you need to verify the meaning of a word or if you want to expand your vocabulary while learning critical grammar skills, these lessons are an excellent place to start!

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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