In politics and sociology, "Belt" is used after a word to describe a region that has similar characteristics. It originated to describe agricultural regions that grew a certain crop "corn belt", "cotton belt", and was then later used to describe other economic similarities "rust belt", and later similarities of lifestyle or climate "sun belt". Now, much as with the -gate suffix, it is used rather liberally. It is also used to describe demographic areas that are not actually connected, I have recently heard, for example, the term "diploma belt" to describe scattered communities with high education rates.

As with any division of the United States by region, the "belts" are a good guide, but should not be taken too seriously, since they often take one characteristic as being more distinctive and important than it is. For example, within the "rust belt", there are many areas that are depressed manufacturing centers, but there are also agricultural areas within that same region, as well as urbanized areas with prosperous economies.

Belt (?), n. [AS. belt; akin to Icel. belti, Sw. balte, Dan. baelte, OHG. balz, L. balteus, Ir. & Gael. balt boder, belt.]


That which engirdles a person or thing; a band or girdle; as, a lady's belt; a sword belt.

The shining belt with gold inlaid. Dryden.


That which restrains or confines as a girdle.

He cannot buckle his distempered cause Within the belt of rule. Shak.


Anything that resembles a belt, or that encircles or crosses like a belt; a strip or stripe; as, a belt of trees; a belt of sand.

4. Arch.

Same as Band, n., 2. A very broad band is more properly termed a belt.

5. Astron.

One of certain girdles or zones on the surface of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, supposed to be of the nature of clouds.

6. Geog.

A narrow passage or strait; as, the Great Belt and the Lesser Belt, leading to the Baltic Sea.

7. Her.

A token or badge of knightly rank.

8. Mech.

A band of leather, or other flexible substance, passing around two wheels, and communicating motion from one to the other.

[See Illust. of Pulley.]

9. Nat. Hist.

A band or stripe, as of color, round any organ; or any circular ridge or series of ridges.

Belt lacing, thongs used for lacing together the ends of machine belting.


© Webster 1913.

Belt, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Belted; p. pr. & vb. n. Belting.]

To encircle with, or as with, a belt; to encompass; to surround.

A coarse black robe belted round the waist. C. Reade.

They belt him round with hearts undaunted. Wordsworth.


To shear, as the buttocks and tails of sheep.

[Prov. Eng.]



© Webster 1913.

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