Definition of shirt in US English:



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

    • ‘His outfit consisted of a white cotton dress shirt with a black bow tie and matching shoes.’
    • ‘There was a gentleman behind me walking on his own with his shirt open.’
    • ‘He wore a white and blue striped shirt with blue jeans.’
    • ‘We then proceeded to a bunch of neatly ironed shirts on wire hangers.’
    • ‘He himself had a red collared shirt with jeans on.’
    • ‘He wore his white chambray shirt and purple vest, black chinos, and leather boots.’
    • ‘The boy's shirt has sweat all down the front of it.’
    • ‘Wear your new striped button-down shirt with jeans, chinos or corduroy pants.’
    • ‘Wear a white shirt with tan pants and a dark overcoat with confidence.’
    • ‘We have a business casual dress code at my office, which means collared shirts without a tie.’
    • ‘His tie was loose, and the top 2 buttons of his shirt undone with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows.’
    • ‘He wore a tight, white, long-sleeved, button-up shirt.’
    • ‘The making of women's blouses also bought the cut of men's shirts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She wore a plaid flannel shirt that went down her hips, and no 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.’
    • ‘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 was similarly dressed except that his shirt hung more loosely over his body.’
    1. 1.1usually with modifier A garment similar to a shirt, made of stretchable material and typically having a short row of buttons at the neck, worn as casual wear or for sports.
      ‘a rugby shirt’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The frog bra doesn't completely eliminate bounce for me, so I wear a snug fitting Lycra sport shirt as well.’
      • ‘As if I couldn't get enough of the sport at practice I had to wear a soccer shirt too.’
      • ‘He was wearing a blue polo shirt with black pants.’
      • ‘Another great opportunity is woven dress shirts and woven sport shirts.’
      • ‘It's no surprise to find that he donated the rugby shirt he wore in jail to the production.’
      • ‘He wore khaki shorts and a red short sleeve polo shirt.’
      • ‘She sported a white tank-top shirt that was worn around her slim, feminine body.’
      • ‘I usually wear khakis and a sport shirt to gun shows, and I blend in pretty well.’
      • ‘About 20 players performed drills with singular enthusiasm and varying attire, including soccer shirts and baseball caps worn backwards.’
      • ‘I was wearing my Chelsea FC shirt outside my black jeans, with trainers and topped off with my £250 leather jacket.’
      • ‘He was wearing a long trench coat, a red and white rugby shirt, blue jeans and may have had black shoes.’
      • ‘When I pulled up in front of his apartment building, Nellie stood there dressed in jeans and a sport shirt.’
      • ‘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 was so obviously on the rugby team as he was just enormous and always wore a rugby shirt in the union colours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The next night he returned, wearing the same rugby shirt.’
      • ‘I'm still working on it, but I did start a trend by wearing bowling shirts sporting some true flair.’
      • ‘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.’


  • keep your shirt on

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

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

    • informal Lose all one's possessions.

      • ‘When you bet wrong in the former you lose your shirt, when you bet wrong in the latter, lives are lost.’
      • ‘I might lose my shirt - but I know he'd pay up with a smile when my queens over eights beat his flush.’
      • ‘If you don't know how to play, you're going to lose your shirt.’
      • ‘You could lose your shirt on the horses, then cross the road and lose your trousers in the casino.’
      • ‘You can lose your shirt just the same in bonds as you can in equities in bad situations.’
      • ‘When I lost my shirt in a poor investment you were there.’
      • ‘I could end up just losing my shirt on this whole thing, but these guys are pretty good at what they do.’
      • ‘He tries organizing competing industries, but loses his shirt.’
      • ‘Whether he was hoping for a literal metaphor that expressed very clearly how he had lost his shirt, I cannot say.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This was before the Indian casinos turned Connecticut into a nice state to drive through and lose your shirt in.’
      • ‘Their brother-in-law lost his shirt on soybeans but that's because he bought it on thin margin.’
      • ‘But the fact is that I like casinos, they're actually fun, and you can play games and not lose your shirt.’
      • ‘Being in technology stocks in this bubble gives you a much higher risk of losing your shirt than if you are not in them.’
      • ‘These nights always attract a large crowd, and turn out to be most enjoyable, even if you lose your shirt.’
  • the shirt off (or on) one's back

    • informal One's last remaining possessions.

      ‘we share things—we'd give our shirt off our back to another’
      • ‘He was a tough ole cowboy who would give you the shirt off 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘He'd give anyone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it.’
      • ‘They've treated everybody fairly, and they will give you the shirt off their back.’
      • ‘He's a guy who would literally give you the shirt off his back and he has two beautiful children.’
      • ‘And Afghans themselves are very generous hosts; they would give you the shirt off their back if they felt you needed it.’
      • ‘He'd give you anything, including the shirt off his back, if you asked him.’


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’.