Definition of shirt in English:



  • 1A garment for the upper body made of cotton or a similar fabric, with a collar and sleeves, and with buttons down the front.

    ‘tonight he's smartly dressed in shirt and tie’
    • ‘Wear a white shirt with tan pants and a dark overcoat with confidence.’
    • ‘His black silk shirt was unbuttoned, but for Daman, this was nothing new.’
    • ‘He was wearing all black, his shirt clinging onto his body showing of muscles.’
    • ‘Wear your new striped button-down shirt with jeans, chinos or corduroy pants.’
    • ‘His tie was loose, and the top 2 buttons of his shirt undone with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows.’
    • ‘We have a business casual dress code at my office, which means collared shirts without a tie.’
    • ‘The boy's shirt has sweat all down the front of it.’
    • ‘She wore a plaid flannel shirt that went down her hips, and no pants.’
    • ‘There was a gentleman behind me walking on his own with his shirt open.’
    • ‘He wore his white chambray shirt and purple vest, black chinos, and leather boots.’
    • ‘His outfit consisted of a white cotton dress shirt with a black bow tie and matching shoes.’
    • ‘The making of women's blouses also bought the cut of men's shirts.’
    • ‘He himself had a red collared shirt with jeans on.’
    • ‘He wore a white and blue striped shirt with blue jeans.’
    • ‘He was similarly dressed except that his shirt hung more loosely over his body.’
    • ‘We then proceeded to a bunch of neatly ironed shirts on wire hangers.’
    • ‘He wore a tight, white, long-sleeved, button-up shirt.’
    • ‘The three men were also dressed alike: denim jeans, long-sleeved plaid shirts, and work boots.’
    • ‘She was wearing a white short-sleeved men's shirt with a pair of black denim pants.’
    • ‘He jogged up to walk beside me, his tie untied, the top two buttons of his shirt undone, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows.’
    1. 1.1[usually with modifier]A shirt-like garment made of stretchable material, typically having a short row of buttons at the neck, worn as casual wear or for sports.
      ‘a rugby shirt’
      • ‘The frog bra doesn't completely eliminate bounce for me, so I wear a snug fitting Lycra sport shirt as well.’
      • ‘All was going well until we went to the Crescent Hotel where I was refused entry for wearing a sports shirt, even after pointing out what day it was.’
      • ‘I usually wear khakis and a sport shirt to gun shows, and I blend in pretty well.’
      • ‘Already seated were two older men, both dressed casually in khaki pants and open sport shirts, and wearing serious but dour expressions on their faces.’
      • ‘He wore khaki shorts and a red short sleeve polo shirt.’
      • ‘He was wearing a long trench coat, a red and white rugby shirt, blue jeans and may have had black shoes.’
      • ‘It's no surprise to find that he donated the rugby shirt he wore in jail to the production.’
      • ‘Another great opportunity is woven dress shirts and woven sport shirts.’
      • ‘Cutting to the chase, I came to the conclusion that the answer was the minimal increase in warmth obtained by wearing a rugby shirt rather than a T-shirt.’
      • ‘I was wearing my Chelsea FC shirt outside my black jeans, with trainers and topped off with my £250 leather jacket.’
      • ‘I'm still working on it, but I did start a trend by wearing bowling shirts sporting some true flair.’
      • ‘The next night he returned, wearing the same rugby shirt.’
      • ‘She sported a white tank-top shirt that was worn around her slim, feminine body.’
      • ‘He was so obviously on the rugby team as he was just enormous and always wore a rugby shirt in the union colours.’
      • ‘When I pulled up in front of his apartment building, Nellie stood there dressed in jeans and a sport shirt.’
      • ‘About 20 players performed drills with singular enthusiasm and varying attire, including soccer shirts and baseball caps worn backwards.’
      • ‘To see so many children wearing their rugby shirts and baseball caps with pride says so much about what the club have achieved off the pitch as well as on it.’
      • ‘As if I couldn't get enough of the sport at practice I had to wear a soccer shirt too.’
      • ‘I get a whiff of it when I appear on television and see employees of major networks dressed in casual slacks and sport shirts with no ties.’
      • ‘He was wearing a blue polo shirt with black pants.’
    2. 1.2British [with modifier]Used to refer to membership of a particular sports team.
      ‘Smith increased his chances of a Great Britain shirt with a penalty shot save’
      • ‘The former York City loan-ranger is in line to strengthen his claims for a first team shirt at Sunderland this season.’
      • ‘Not one of his better days in a first team shirt but then he was hardly helped by the people around him…’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the keeper has welcomed the new competition for his first team shirt.’
      • ‘And he admits he cannot wait to pull on a first team shirt after savouring the quiet life of reserve team football with the Black Cats.’
      • ‘He is a man on a mission this pre-season as he aims to win back his first team shirt at West Bromwich Albion.’
      • ‘There will be tough competition for places with players battling for a regular first team shirt.’
      • ‘There is also the matter of a new shirt sponsor to be resolved.’
      • ‘‘We believe he has great potential and will soon be pushing for a first team shirt,’ the spokesman said.’
      belonging, associateship
      View synonyms


  • keep your shirt on

    • informal Don't lose your temper; stay calm.

      • ‘‘Keep your shirt on, will you?’ her colleague said, but he didn't raise his club again.’
      • ‘You're gonna be ten minutes late, so just keep your shirt on.’
      • ‘‘All right, all right, geez, keep your shirt on, please,’ said Victoria as she got up and was about to walk into the water.’
      • ‘I told him to keep his shirt on, no matter what the provocation.’
      • ‘She crossed her arms and gave him a patient look, ‘Well, if you would keep your shirt on, maybe you wouldn't get dirty.’’
      • ‘You'll also read about brandy's rules, dress for success, chill on the jewelry, polish your cleats, hike up your socks, and, OK, keep your shirt on.’
  • lose one's shirt

    • informal Lose all one's possessions.

      • ‘Being in technology stocks in this bubble gives you a much higher risk of losing your shirt than if you are not in them.’
      • ‘Whether he was hoping for a literal metaphor that expressed very clearly how he had lost his shirt, I cannot say.’
      • ‘When I lost my shirt in a poor investment you were there.’
      • ‘He tries organizing competing industries, but loses his shirt.’
      • ‘When you bet wrong in the former you lose your shirt, when you bet wrong in the latter, lives are lost.’
      • ‘It's curious, though, there was a blue ribbon panel of six experts who said, this will never work, the public will not accept it and you'll lose your shirt.’
      • ‘You could lose your shirt on the horses, then cross the road and lose your trousers in the casino.’
      • ‘I bought it again a few years later and lost my shirt - and I have owned up to all my stock losses when the bubble burst.’
      • ‘These nights always attract a large crowd, and turn out to be most enjoyable, even if you lose your shirt.’
      • ‘If you don't know how to play, you're going to lose your shirt.’
      • ‘But the fact is that I like casinos, they're actually fun, and you can play games and not lose your shirt.’
      • ‘You can lose your shirt just the same in bonds as you can in equities in bad situations.’
      • ‘Their brother-in-law lost his shirt on soybeans but that's because he bought it on thin margin.’
      • ‘This was before the Indian casinos turned Connecticut into a nice state to drive through and lose your shirt in.’
      • ‘I might lose my shirt - but I know he'd pay up with a smile when my queens over eights beat his flush.’
      • ‘I could end up just losing my shirt on this whole thing, but these guys are pretty good at what they do.’
  • put one's shirt on

    • informal Bet all one has on; be sure of.

      ‘they'll confirm it's him, I'll put my shirt on it’
      • ‘The guy was effectively putting his shirt on a horse, and it was the first and only time I have encountered life imitating a figure of speech.’
      • ‘But the talks ended in disappointment when the IT company put their shirt on Fulham.’
      • ‘A man I met at the club last night told me to put my shirt on Privateer for the two o'clock race this afternoon.’
      • ‘Maybe a Kilmarnock or Hearts will prove us wrong by emulating Aberdeen and the Old Firm, but you would not put your shirt on it.’
      • ‘I'll tell you what's up lover boy, Sir Guido in the 3.30 at Kempton Park, put your shirt on it, it's a sure fire winner.’
      • ‘He is one of many major-league names he has put his shirt on only to be let down by their naked underachievement.’
      • ‘We respectfully advise the Culture Secretary not to put her shirt on it.’
      • ‘You wouldn't put your shirt on the team winning the title next season but Miller and Robertson are determined that any future slayings are conducted by them, rather than being inflicted upon them.’
      • ‘Don't put your shirt on the shares but if you want to risk a small amount in a company that looks to be developing a promising niche, then it merits consideration.’
  • the shirt off (or on) one's back

    • informal Used to refer to someone's last remaining possessions.

      ‘he had fled to France with nothing but the shirt on his back’
      • ‘About what a good person he is to have as a friend, and how he would give anyone, even his worst enemy, the shirt off his back.’
      • ‘He's a guy who would literally give you the shirt off his back and he has two beautiful children.’
      • ‘‘He was the best… he would give you his heart and soul, he'd give you the shirt off his back or a coat to a stranger,’ said his father Eamonn yesterday with a justifiable pride in his voice.’
      • ‘A Scorpio will gladly give you the shirt off their back if you need it, but you may get the slightest inkling that they have an ulterior motive for doing so.’
      • ‘And Afghans themselves are very generous hosts; they would give you the shirt off their back if they felt you needed it.’
      • ‘They've treated everybody fairly, and they will give you the shirt off their back.’
      • ‘He'd give you anything, including the shirt off his back, if you asked him.’
      • ‘He learned that if he took the shirt off your back and showed you the blood of children in the fabric, people would snap alert.’
      • ‘He was a tough ole cowboy who would give you the shirt off his back.’
      • ‘He'd give anyone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it.’


Old English scyrte, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse skyrta (compare with skirt), Dutch schort, German Schürze apron, also to short; probably from a base meaning ‘short garment’.