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

[ shurt-sleev ]

  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.

  1. simple, plain, and informal; direct and straightforward in approach, manner, etc.: shirt-sleeve diplomacy.

Origin of shirt-sleeve

First recorded in 1560–70 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shirt-sleeve in a sentence

  • In his shirtsleeves he climbed into the buggy, and the constable turned his horse and clucked him into a trot.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm | Irvin S. Cobb
  • He was in his shirtsleeves; his tender feet were incased in a pair of red-and-green carpet slippers.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm | Irvin S. Cobb
  • Happy Jack wiped his hands upon an empty flour sack, rolled down his shirtsleeves and hurried off to saddle a horse.

    The Happy Family | Bertha Muzzy Bower

British Dictionary definitions for shirtsleeve


/ (ˈʃɜːtˌsliːv) /

  1. the sleeve of a shirt

  2. in one's shirtsleeves not wearing a jacket

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