One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An army officer's tight-fitting undress jacket reaching to the waist.
- ‘The South selected cadet gray as its official uniform color - in tribute to ‘the long gray line ‘at West Point - but the War Department could not begin to supply so many shell jackets and trousers.’’
2The jacket of a shell suit.
- ‘As a converted downhill skier from Pennsylvania, I came prepared with a neophyte backpack I use to carry a pittance of items, mainly a shell jacket, when I kick and glide on nearby hills.’
- ‘However, in testing the vest and examining in detail the shell jacket, and looking over the new cargo pants, I have to say, the quality and function your customers want is definitely there, at a fair price.’
- ‘Specially designed to zip into a shell jacket, this is a versatile little number with little nylon/Lycra hems round the cuffs to keep out the elements.’
- ‘The two pieces, fleece and shell jacket, work well in combination with each other and are just as functional when worn as separates.’
- ‘Each of the fleecy shell jackets is suspended from a hook, with the trousers tucked in beneath and bent at the knee so that the seat touches the hem.’
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