• synonyms


or shirt·sleeve, shirt-sleeved, shirt-sleeves

  1. not wearing a jacket; informally dressed: a shirt-sleeve mob.
  2. warm enough to live or work in without wearing a jacket or coat: shirt-sleeve weather in November.
  3. simple, plain, and informal; direct and straightforward in approach, manner, etc.: shirt-sleeve diplomacy.
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Origin of shirt-sleeve

First recorded in 1560–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shirtsleeve

Historical Examples of shirtsleeve

  • Own wife, the coat does not crock the shirtsleeve in the least—so thy labor in lining it would have been thrown away.

    Love Letters of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Volume 2 of 2

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The man wiped the tears from his eyes with his shirtsleeve, smearing the red brick dust with which it was powdered, over his face.

  • Miss Eyester flipped a bit of plaster from his shirtsleeve with her thumb and finger.

    The Dude Wrangler

    Caroline Lockhart

  • He stopped and swabbed his streaming face with a shirtsleeve—he now was carrying his coat.

    Dust of the Desert

    Robert Welles Ritchie

  • The negro presently dropped his ax, sat down on the log, and wiped his forehead with his shirtsleeve.

British Dictionary definitions for shirtsleeve


  1. the sleeve of a shirt
  2. in one's shirtsleeves not wearing a jacket
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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