[ 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?



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Origin of redshirt

An Americanism dating back to 1950–55 for def. 1, from the red shirts worn in practice by such athletes; in def. 2, the term is a 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020