- a high-school or college athlete kept out of varsity competition for one year to develop skills and extend eligibility.
- 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)
- to withdraw (an athlete) from varsity competition for one year.
- 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)
- (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.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper