Definition of shirt in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃəːt/


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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
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
More example sentences
  • The frog bra doesn't completely eliminate bounce for me, so I wear a snug fitting Lycra sport shirt as well.
  • She sported a white tank-top shirt that was worn around her slim, feminine body.
  • 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.
1.2 [with modifier] British Used to refer to membership of a particular sports team: Smith increased his chances of a Great Britain shirt with a penalty shot save
More example sentences
  • Not one of his better days in a first team shirt but then he was hardly helped by the people around him…
  • The former York City loan-ranger is in line to strengthen his claims for a first team shirt at Sunderland this season.
  • Meanwhile, the keeper has welcomed the new competition for his first team shirt.



keep your shirt on

informal Don’t lose your temper; stay calm.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • ‘All right, all right, geez, keep your shirt on, please,’ said Victoria as she got up and was about to walk into the water.
  • She crossed her arms and gave him a patient look, ‘Well, if you would keep your shirt on, maybe you wouldn't get dirty.’

lose one's shirt

informal Lose all one’s possessions.
Example sentences
  • Whether he was hoping for a literal metaphor that expressed very clearly how he had lost his shirt, I cannot say.
  • Being in technology stocks in this bubble gives you a much higher risk of losing your shirt than if you are not in them.
  • 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

British informal Bet all one has on; be sure of: they’ll confirm it’s him, I’ll put my shirt on it
More example sentences
  • He is one of many major-league names he has put his shirt on only to be let down by their naked underachievement.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.



[often in combination]: white-shirted bouncers
More example sentences
  • He left his white-haired, green dressed wife and his black-haired, yellow shirted kid in a diaper at home.
  • And the goal (no matter how much luck played its part), seemed to lift a huge weight off the white shirted players, as they visibly improved for the remaining half hour of football.
  • Cushioned cane chairs and large tables with blue cloths give the place a ‘picnic’ atmosphere, and the brightly shirted attendants all heighten the tropical impression.


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'.

  • The garments shirt and skirt (Middle English) share an ancient root, which is also that of short, the basic sense probably being ‘short garment’. The idea behind shirty (mid 19th century), ‘bad-tempered or annoyed’, is the same as that behind keep your shirt on, ‘don't lose your temper, stay calm’. The offended or riled person is about to take his shirt off ready for a fight. In lose your shirt or put your shirt on the shirt is seen as the very last possession that you could use to bet with.

Words that rhyme with shirt

advert, alert, animadvert, assert, avert, Bert, blurt, Burt, cert, chert, concert, controvert, convert, curt, desert, dessert, dirt, divert, exert, flirt, girt, hurt, inert, insert, introvert, Kurt, malapert, overt, pert, quirt, skirt, spirt, spurt, squirt, Sturt, subvert, vert, wort, yurt

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shirt

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