Definition of skivvy in US English:


nounPlural skivvies

  • 1skivviesNorth American trademark Underwear, especially a set consisting of undershirt and underpants, or just the underpants.

    • ‘I remember his raised eyebrows and the distinct embarrassment of being caught in my skivvies in front of a complete stranger.’
    • ‘One had pulled on jeans, one was in skivvy shorts, and one responded nude.’
    • ‘At dawn the next morning I stood in my skivvies on the balcony of my room and surveyed the restless sea.’
    • ‘I imagine Beatrix eating organic vegetables and dancing around in hemp skivvies, but I can't get anywhere near her.’
    • ‘What's laughable is not the former dictator's skivvies, but military leaders' naivety about the media world we now live in.’
    • ‘These chambers sometimes get so hot that the rappers have stripped down to their skivvies to record.’
    • ‘Their idea blossoms gradually into the film's central story, which has the womanly girls shedding their skivvies for the shoot.’
    • ‘For a decade now, La Roche's Luk briefs, boxers, panties and undershirts have been synonymous with comfy-cozy yet fully sexy skivvies.’
    • ‘He got down to his skivvies and climbed in the shower.’
    • ‘But I still make him walk around at parties in his leopard print skivvies.’
    • ‘Just go to this link and find a short story that sends the shivers down to your skivvies.’
    • ‘After the shoot was over, Curtis decided to strip down to her skivvies and wash off the makeup for some real footage.’
    • ‘Like the others, this trio was clad in their government-issue skivvies.’
    • ‘Undies, underwear, or skivvies were all deemed acceptable.’
  • 2Australian US A lightweight high-necked, long-sleeved garment.

    • ‘I had worn a black skivvy with my favourite pair of faded jeans and my white sneakers.’
    • ‘But Couples doesn't wear a skivvy shirt under his golf tunic to minimize the subcutaneous fat.’
    • ‘We progress through his experiences as though carried in his pocket, attached to his dogtags, or tucked in his skivvies.’
    • ‘This new Ozzie skivvy is designed in a similar style to that used by the Norwegian Army, but of a uniquely Australian material.’
    • ‘Dressing only in skivvies, or tunics, with no armour or protection other than their sword skills, they were outnumbered and outplayed.’
    • ‘Acpec has introduced a combat skivvy as part of a cold weather ensemble to protect the soldier in the field.’
    • ‘The brown skivvy, open and zipped up, may be worn with dress order 4A DCPU barracks dress and 4B DPCU field dress.’
    • ‘All his friends attended and he even broke out the red skivvy for the special day.’
    • ‘Wear your western shirt open and untucked over a skivvy to draw the eye down and create the illusion of a more sculpted, leaner silhouette.’
    1. 2.1 An undershirt or T-shirt.
      • ‘About 109,000 skivvies / undershirts are in the process of being procured and issued.’
      • ‘Some of the new stuff you can expect to see this year includes the wet weather ensemble, combat jacket and skivvy / undershirts.’
  • 3British informal A low-ranking female domestic servant.

    • ‘She said the new laws would protect Pakistani teenagers who were brought over to be little more than skivvies to an unknown husband and his family.’
    • ‘In upper-class households there was often a hierarchy of servants ‘below stairs', ranging from the butler to kitchen skivvies.’
    • ‘Be realistic: he is never going to tidy up if he has a skivvy to do it for him and give him back his stuff all sorted, clean, tidy and ready to use.’
    attendant, retainer
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    1. 3.1 A person doing work that is poorly paid and considered menial.
      • ‘And the choice of placements totally eclipses the old stigma of office typist or work site skivvy.’
      • ‘What else can I do for anyone, since I seem to be everyone's skivvy this morning?’
      • ‘He said: ‘Brian is my skivvy, but I will also help him in his preparations.’’
      • ‘Are they teachers, managers, social workers or skivvies?’
      • ‘Assistant engineer makes it sound rather grand, they were just called tape ops really, the skivvies of the recording studio.’
      • ‘They want to be treated with respect, not taken for granted as low paid skivvies.’

verbskivvies, skivvied, skivvying

[no object]British
  • Do menial household tasks; work as a skivvy.

    • ‘Thank you, thank you for letting us come here and skivvy for you 12 hours a day for less than a fiver an hour.’
    • ‘Burke's opportunity to ditch the skivvying came when his ailing grandfather divided up some inheritance money before passing away.’
    • ‘Antonin was taken in by a busy cook who offered him bed and board in exchange for skivvying.’
    hard work, menial work, donkey work, toil, toiling, labour, hard labour, sweated labour, chores, plodding
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Early 20th century: of unknown origin.