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Ava Gardner in a… bikini? Yes, a bikini

Actress Ava Gardner poses for a studio PR picture in 1946. She turned 24 years old that year. We were going to call this swimsuit a bikini, but then decided that it's more of a two-piece swimsuit; the bottom is technically a skirt or wrap. However, we just found this definition of a bikini in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "a two-piece bathing suit worn by women that does not cover the midriff." This suit clearly DOES fit that description.

Wikipedia, in its thorough way, defines a bikini as: "a two-piece swimsuit primarily worn by women that features two triangles of fabric on top that cover the breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom: the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks." Ava Gardner's swimsuit just as clearly does NOT fit that description.

In the end, forced to choose, we must side with the linguistic professionals at Merriam-Webster. Ava Gardner is wearing a bikini.

See our biography of Ava Gardner