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[red-shurt] /ˈrɛdˌʃɜrt/
  1. a high-school or college athlete kept out of varsity competition for one year to develop skills and extend eligibility.
  2. a child held back from starting kindergarten for one year, the practice of which is believed by some parents to give the child academic, athletic, and social advantages.
a character in a TV show or movie who dies soon after being first introduced:
She's a redshirt who won’t make it to the next scene.
verb (used with object)
  1. to withdraw (an athlete) from varsity competition for one year.
  2. to delay (a child) from starting kindergarten for one year:
    They redshirt their kids because they think it gives them a competitive edge.
to quickly kill off (a character) in a TV show or movie:
That guard is totally going to be redshirted in the next five minutes.
verb (used without object)
  1. (of an athlete) to withdraw from varsity competition for one year:
    He redshirted in 2010, only to come back faster and stronger the following season.
  2. to delay a child from starting kindergarten for one year:
    Would you redshirt if your kid’s preschool teacher recommended it?
Origin of redshirt
1950-55, Americanism; def 1 from the red shirts worn in practice by such athletes; def 2 in reference to the original Star Trek series (1966-69) in which characters in red shirts, usually security personnel or engineers, were often killed off as a plot device Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Word Origin and History for redshirt

"to withdraw (a player) from the varsity team to add a year to his or her eligibility," 1955, in reference to the red shirts worn by athletes on the scrimmage squad; from red (adj.1) + shirt (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for redshirt



  1. A student whose period of athletic eligibility has been extended
  2. An act of redshirting: Indiana forward Alan Henderson is recovering from knee surgery, so a medical redshirt is a possibility


  1. To extend a college student's period of athletic eligibility
  2. Various noncollege and nonsports instances of providing an extra year of eligibility: It is a capricious misuse of scarce resources when public schools provide redshirting, borrowing the term used in college athletics/ To get them eligibility for additional schooling: Under the redshirt plan, special education students could extend their high school program by at least one year

[1955+ Sports; fr the red shirts worn by such athletes in contrast with varsity players]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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