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noun, plural jer·seys.
  1. a close-fitting, knitted sweater or shirt.
  2. a plain-knit, machine-made fabric of wool, silk, nylon, rayon, etc., characteristically soft and elastic, used for garments.
  3. (initial capital letter) one of a breed of dairy cattle, raised originally on the island of Jersey, producing milk with a high butterfat content.
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Origin of jersey

First recorded in 1575–85; after Jersey
Related formsjer·seyed, adjective


  1. a British island in the English Channel: the largest of the Channel Islands. 44 sq. mi. (116 sq. km). Capital: St. Helier.
  2. Informal. New Jersey.
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Related formsJer·sey·an, noun, adjectiveJer·sey·ite, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

blouse, tunic, turtleneck, jersey, pullover, chemise, polo, sark

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Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for jersey


  1. a knitted garment covering the upper part of the body
    1. a machine-knitted slightly elastic cloth of wool, silk, nylon, etc, used for clothing
    2. (as modifier)a jersey suit
  2. a football shirt
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Word Origin

C16: from Jersey, from the woollen sweaters traditionally worn by the fishermen


  1. an island in the English Channel, the largest of the Channel Islands: forms, with two other islands, the bailiwick of Jersey; colonized from Normandy in the 11th century and still officially French-speaking; noted for finance, market gardening, dairy farming, and tourism. Capital: St Helier. Pop: 95 732 (2013 est). Area: 116 sq km (45 sq miles)
  2. a breed of dairy cattle producing milk with a high butterfat content, originating from the island of Jersey
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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

Word Origin and History for jersey


1580s as a type of knitted cloth; 1842 as a breed of cattle; both from Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. Its name is said to be a corruption of Latin Caesarea, the Roman name for the island (or another near it), influenced by Old English ey "island;" but perhaps rather a Viking name (perhaps meaning "Geirr's island"). The meaning "woolen knitted close-fitting tunic," especially one worn during sporting events, is from 1836.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper