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[sleev] /sliv/
the part of a garment that covers the arm, varying in form and length but commonly tubular.
an envelope, usually of paper, for protecting a phonograph record.
Machinery. a tubular piece, as of metal, fitting over a rod or the like.
verb (used with object), sleeved, sleeving.
to furnish with sleeves.
Machinery. to fit with a sleeve; join or fasten by means of a sleeve.
have something up one's sleeve, to have a secret plan, scheme, opinion, or the like:
I could tell by her sly look that she had something up her sleeve.
laugh up / in one's sleeve, to be secretly amused or contemptuous; laugh inwardly:
to laugh up one's sleeve at someone's affectations.
Origin of sleeve
before 950; Middle English sleve, Old English slēfe (Anglian), slīefe; akin to Dutch sloof apron
Related forms
sleevelike, adjective
unsleeved, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sleeve
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, I know some one who has a sleeve with something up it, that's all.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Emma finished the sleeve of the blouse she was mending with a flourish.

  • Then Crane took Porter gently by the sleeve and drew him half within the stall.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • And he turned his head and covered his face with his sleeve.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Great beads of sweat stood on his brow and he wiped them away with his sleeve.

British Dictionary definitions for sleeve


the part of a garment covering the arm
a tubular piece that is forced or shrunk into a cylindrical bore to reduce the diameter of the bore or to line it with a different material; liner
a tube fitted externally over two cylindrical parts in order to join them; bush
a flat cardboard or plastic container to protect a gramophone record US name jacket
roll up one's sleeves, to prepare oneself for work, a fight, etc
up one's sleeve, secretly ready
(transitive) to provide with a sleeve or sleeves
Derived Forms
sleeveless, adjective
sleevelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English slīf, slēf; related to Dutch sloof apron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sleeve

Old English sliefe (West Saxon), slefe (Mercian) "arm-covering part of a garment," probably literally "that into which the arm slips," from Proto-Germanic *slaubjon (cf. Middle Low German sloven "to dress carelessly," Old High German sloufen "to put on or off"). Related to Old English slefan, sliefan "to slip on (clothes)" and slupan "to slip, glide," from PIE root *sleubh- "to slide, slip."

Cf. slipper, Old English slefescoh "slipper," slip (n.) "woman's garment," and expression to slip into "to dress in"). Mechanical sense is attested from 1864. To have something up one's sleeve is recorded from c.1500 (large sleeves formerly doubled as pockets). Meaning "the English Channel" translates French La Manche.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sleeve
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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Idioms and Phrases with sleeve
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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