Definition of the Order of the Garter from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

the Order of the Garter

 
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the oldest and highest of the British orders of chivalry. It includes members of the British and other royal families and a maximum of 24 other people, who receive the rank of Knight or Lady Companion when they are appointed to the order, and may put the letters KG or LG after their names. It was probably started in 1348 by King Edward III. According to tradition, it was named after an occasion when a woman in the presence of the king dropped a garter (= a band worn around the leg to hold up a sock). The king saved her from embarrassment by picking up the garter and fixing it to his own leg, saying 'Honi soit qui mal y pense', French for 'Shame on anyone who thinks badly of this'. This phrase became the motto (= phrase expressing an aim or a belief) of the order, whose full name is the Most Noble Order of the Garter.