Definition of sleeve in US English:



  • 1The part of a garment that wholly or partly covers a person's arm.

    ‘a shirt with the sleeves rolled up’
    • ‘On the shirt pattern, trim off the hem allowances on the sleeve and shirt front and back lower edges.’
    • ‘As he walked away, he rolled up the sleeves on his shirt and looked at the slits all over his arms.’
    • ‘He wore a pink button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, light coloured trousers and white trainers.’
    • ‘He was wearing black pants and a white button-down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows.’
    • ‘I adore the folds of the sleeve and bodice and how she pulled her hair up to show off those darling dangling earrings.’
    • ‘She wore a black turtleneck with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows and a black skirt that went just past her knees.’
    • ‘One of them rolled up the sleeve of his shirt and held his arm next to my hand.’
    • ‘He'd removed his suit coat and rolled up the sleeves of his white dress shirt.’
    • ‘It has a scoop neck, hemmed sleeves, topstitched shoulders, and an even hem bottom.’
    • ‘He was wearing a brown apron with a white button up flannel shirt that had the sleeves rolled up and navy blue trousers.’
    • ‘It was a cropped top with short sleeves with a low neckline that bared my shoulders and some of my stomach.’
    • ‘Even darker blue embroidery swirls were etched along the hems of the sleeves, neckline and skirt.’
    • ‘Joel was wearing a pair of loose, light blue jeans, a blue on white striped button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and a nice pair of black shoes.’
    • ‘And the flared sleeve dress shirt and strapless dress combo is just unusual enough to be interesting but not weird.’
    • ‘If the armhole is too high and the garment has a set-in sleeve, the fit can be adjusted as you sew.’
    • ‘Today, he wore black slacks and a very light blue dress shirt, sleeves rolled up past his elbows.’
    • ‘She wore a soft yellow and olive green plaid gown with a sweetheart neckline and sleeves that reached just slightly past her elbows.’
    • ‘A solid white or blue dress shirt with long sleeves offers the most polished look.’
    • ‘Features include a stand-up fleece lined collar, raglan sleeves and heavy duty rib cuffs and waistband.’
    • ‘Cut the garment neckline, sleeves and lower edge to the desired finished length.’
    1. 1.1 A protective paper or cardboard cover for a record, CD, or DVD.
      • ‘Their record sleeves and videos are cryptic, self-mythologising, deliberately uninformative.’
      • ‘She designed their graphic, starkly monochrome record sleeves.’
      • ‘Lambie painted over most of the cover art and removed the records, leaving empty paper sleeves painted in many colors.’
      • ‘A record sleeve is one thing, but a serious magazine is another.’
      • ‘The packaging is nice enough, a cardboard sleeve covering the case itself.’
      • ‘You don't get the tin boxes but you do get the first seven DVDs in a cardboard sleeve for $124.99.’
      • ‘Pictures of the artists rarely appeared on the record sleeves on the grounds that many of them were black and record companies worried that this put off the mainly white buyers.’
      • ‘Gavin enlisted friends to help record the song and design the sleeve of the CD.’
      • ‘Our CDs are packaged using the exact artwork of the original album in our custom LP style cardboard sleeves.’
      • ‘The pictures on the album sleeve sum up the nature of Moffat's dance-influenced dreams.’
      • ‘They came in cardboard sleeves, and when you bought them you could put them in a big plastic bag to carry them home.’
      • ‘But she doesn't regret turning down the offer to design the album sleeve.’
      • ‘I've seen these fantastic sleeves in secondhand record stores without realising they were by him.’
      • ‘If you pick up one of these records and find the sleeve appealing, there's a good chance that the music inside it will appeal too.’
      • ‘It does not look out of place: the dark sleeve design features spooky silhouettes instead of the bespectacled schoolboy who grins from covers in Britain.’
      • ‘It all comes down, though, for me, to the record sleeves.’
      • ‘I would often thumbtack the covers to my bedroom wall, leaving the album itself in its paper sleeve.’
      • ‘Inside is the game CD encased in a paper sleeve, a forty-page manual and a registration card.’
      • ‘I would slide the mysterious black disc out of its paper sleeve.’
      • ‘This state of flux in the music industry means that graduating and going into record sleeve design is probably going to be difficult.’
      wrapping, wrapper, wrap, sheath, sheathing, envelope, cover, covering
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A protective or connecting tube fitting over or enclosing a rod, spindle, or smaller tube.
      • ‘The shaft bushing and the resilient element tightly enclose the shaft while a firm connection with the shaft sleeve is secured.’
      • ‘The sleeve restrains the grout flow and expands up to twice its previous diameter, molding itself in the shapes and spaces within the walls.’
      • ‘Paperboard cartons and sleeves are used to enclose plastic tubs.’
      • ‘The width adjusts hydraulically, and cylinders and return sleeves are protected by steel oversleeves.’
      • ‘This may result in a recommendation to move the location of the friction sleeve further away from the cone tip.’
      • ‘If soft material is encountered, the operator inserts a steel sleeve to prevent collapse.’
      • ‘How long, do you imagine, before the paper sleeves the sticks arrive in are printed with health warnings and a helpline number?’
      • ‘Gases going past the slot are deflected away from the shooter's face by a flange on the bolt sleeve.’
      • ‘The lever the operator holds controls a hydraulically actuated piston that connects to this sleeve gear.’
      • ‘The sleeves slide onto the roller frame and lock into place with a setscrew.’
      • ‘If a pipe penetration must be located within that zone, use of a schedule 40 steel pipe sleeve is required.’
      • ‘After we finished, we were ready to pour the top caps and then tie the bronze sleeve to the spindle as before and set in the bottom sleeves.’
      • ‘However, PVC jacketing, or running the copper through a PVC sleeve, might be a good idea for a variety of reasons.’
      • ‘The magnesium sleeve in the seat tube was not even damaged.’
      • ‘One piece is folded to form a sleeve or tube through which the belt is passed, and the other is sewn to this envelope to form the loop that holds the gun.’
      • ‘The pop rivet itself looks something like a nail with a flanged metal sleeve over one end.’
      • ‘I didn't know this, but in the Old Days they'd slip a paper sleeve over the bottle to keep the condensation from dripping on your lap.’
      • ‘The carrier is a sleeve that encloses bearings and seals intended to prevent water from entering the sterndrive housing at the drive shaft.’
      • ‘The outer cable conductor is enclosed by a contact sleeve which has a plurality of radially resilient segments.’
      • ‘Wrap the original cardboard sleeve over the brush, or use brown paper and tie it with string or a rubber band.’
      ring, band, collet, pipe, flange, rim, rib
      View synonyms


  • up one's sleeve

    • (of a strategy, idea, or resource) kept secret and in reserve for use when needed.

      ‘he was new to the game but had a few tricks up his sleeve’
      • ‘I still have a few ideas up my sleeve, which will inevitably disappoint some readers and please others.’
      • ‘Your hand will reveal who you are - and what tricks you may have up your sleeve…’
      • ‘There are still some ideas up my sleeve - including book lists to be added to the library.’
      • ‘They will also have a few tricks up their sleeve and perhaps change the way they play to catch us out this week.’
      • ‘Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to give business spending a boost?’
      • ‘‘At the same time, we needed to have a few tricks up our sleeve to surprise the audience,’ he says.’
      • ‘Annie puts her success down to eating wholesome, home-cooked food, while Dorothy has another secret up her sleeve.’
      • ‘Lubar has several successful strategies up his sleeve that keep us laughing.’
      • ‘He said he has a secret sound effect up his sleeve to accompany a flash of lightning but the audience will have to wait and see how this is accomplished.’
      • ‘I'll bet you're sitting there with a thousand ideas up your sleeve.’


Old English slēfe, slīef(e), slȳf; related to Middle Dutch sloove ‘covering’.