Definition of shirttail in US English:


(also shirttails)


  • The lower, typically curved, part of a shirt which comes below the waist.

    • ‘Just knock the mud off the lens and wipe it clean with your dirty shirt tail.’
    • ‘They feature button down collars, center full button front, reinforced shoulder and armholes, shirt tail hem and wood-tone buttons.’
    • ‘So he untucked the shirt tails from his trousers.’
    • ‘Denise grabbed his shirt tail and pulled as hard as she could, stopping him from entering the bathroom.’
    • ‘He could also see in Scott's eyes the love that he not only had for her but also the two mopped-headed boys who stuck close to his shirt tail.’
    • ‘Some were accompanied by more sedate blokes, dressed in their finest old jeans with their shirt tails hanging out.’
    • ‘I'm actually wearing slippers, my shirttail isn't tucked in, and I'm gulping down the last spoonfuls of apple crisp when the telephone rings.’
    • ‘Her glasses had been forgotten; she was still mindlessly cleaning the lenses with her shirt tail.’
    • ‘He stroked her hair and wiped away her tears with his shirt tail.’
    • ‘Once we have stormed out of the house, shirt tails flapping, we make it to the bus stop.’
    • ‘Occasionally, one of them might push part of his shirt tail back into his pants.’
    • ‘His pants were barely on and his shirt tail stuck out in numerous places.’
    • ‘Don Quijote decides to imitate Amadís's mournful madness, and tears a long piece off his shirt tails, making knots in it to use as a rosary.’
    • ‘I was lagging behind the tour group, busy being skeptical about everything until something happened that I couldn't disprove - someone tugged on my shirt tail.’
    • ‘Which is always like being caught in public with your fly open and your shirttail sticking through.’
    • ‘Mathias gave me no quarter though and grabbed me roughly by my shirt tails, hauling me down off the horse.’
    • ‘Jim examined the damaged tissue, then tore a piece of his shirt tail off and tried to make a bandage that would keep the metal from touching the raw flesh.’
    • ‘The shirt was long because he was a big man and so it had plenty of shirt tail length.’
    • ‘Certain gestures are taboo, your shirt tail has to be tucked in, your chin strap has to be fastened, and they tell you what kind of shoes to wear.’


  • (of relatives) distantly related.

    ‘if you checked back far enough, they were shirttail cousins of Curly's parents’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, Louis spent a number of evenings with his shirttail relative in the makeshift studio hes had put together in his father-in-law's billiard room.’
    • ‘Unless you're a shirttail relative of a member of the cast or crew, find a homeless shelter where you can volunteer for an hour and a half instead.’