• synonyms


or sciv·vy

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noun, plural skiv·vies. Informal.
  1. Also called skivvy shirt. a man's cotton T-shirt.
  2. skivvies, underwear consisting of cotton T-shirt and shorts.
  3. a thin sweater with a round neck, usually worn over a blouse, turtleneck, or the like.
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Origin of skivvy1

First recorded in 1925–30; origin uncertain


[skiv-ee]British Disparaging.
noun, plural skiv·vies.
  1. a female servant, especially a chambermaid.
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verb (used without object), skiv·vied, skiv·vy·ing.
  1. to work as a skivvy.
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Origin of skivvy2

First recorded in 1910–15; origin uncertain

Usage note

This term is used with disparaging intent, implying the low rank of such a servant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skivvies

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Swindled them all, skivvies and badhachs from the county Meath, ay, and his own kidney too.


    James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for skivvies


noun plural -vies
  1. mainly British often derogatory a servant, esp a female, who does menial work of all kinds; drudge
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verb -vies, -vying or -vied
  1. (intr) British to work as a skivvy
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Word Origin

C20: of unknown origin


noun plural -vies
  1. slang, mainly US a man's T-shirt or vest
  2. (plural) slang, mainly US men's underwear
  3. Australian and NZ a garment resembling a sweater with long sleeves and a polo neck, usually made of stretch cotton or cotton and polyester and worn by either sex
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Word Origin

of unknown origin
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 skivvies


"underwear," 1932, nautical slang, of unknown origin. An earlier skivvy/skivey was London slang for "female domestic servant" (1902).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper