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Skirt was originally a butcher's term for the diaphragm of an ox or cow, as used for food. It is muscular tissue, but can scarcely compare with the best steak for tenderness, and not surprisingly was the prerogative of those with the least to spend: ‘A considerable proportion of the livers and skirts are purchased wholesale by retail dealers in low neighbourhoods’ (Daily News, 19 June 1868). Today probably most finds its way into dog-food and beefburgers. In France it is known as hampe.

In present-day English skirt generally denotes a cut of beef, lean but gristly, from the animal's flank, generally used for stews or mince.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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