midsection n : the middle area of the human torso (usually in front); "young American women believe that a bare midriff is fashionable" [syn: middle, midriff]
In the human body, the midriff is the section of the body between the chest and the waist, i.e. the diaphragm area. Its main outside anatomical feature is the navel.
"Midriff" is often misspelled "mid-drift" or "midrift". It is a word of very old origin in the English language, known before 1000 AD. It is written in Middle English as "mydryf" and Old English as "midhrif". The old word "hrif" literally meant stomach. The word was essentially obsolete after the 18th century however the word was revived in the middle of the 20th century in the world of fashion, partly to avoid use of the word "belly" which many women consider undesirable in reference to their bodies as it has connotations of obesity.
In some cultures, exposure of the midriff is socially discouraged or even banned. In Western cultures and others, especially during the late 1990s, it became fashionable for women to expose the midriff. For a period during the early 80's, bare midriffs were in style for men, with several manufacturers producing t-shirts that ended above the navel.
Most American secondary schools have a rule against attire that leaves the midriff exposed.