in one’s shirt-sleeves


noun

  1. a long- or short-sleeved garment for the upper part of the body, usually lightweight and having a collar and a front opening.
  2. an undergarment of cotton, or other material, for the upper part of the body.
  3. a shirtwaist.
  4. a nightshirt.
Idioms
  1. in one’s shirt sleeves, without a coat: It was so hot that they worked in their shirt sleeves.Also in one’s shirt-sleeves.
  2. keep one’s shirt on, Informal. to refrain from becoming angry or impatient; remain calm: Tell him to keep his shirt on until we’re ready.
  3. lose one’s shirt, Informal. to lose all that one possesses; suffer a severe financial reverse: He lost his shirt in the stock market.

noun

  1. a garment worn on the upper part of the body, esp by men, usually of light material and typically having a collar and sleeves and buttoning up the front
  2. short for nightshirt, undershirt
  3. keep your shirt on informal refrain from losing your temper (often used as an exhortation to another)
  4. put one’s shirt on informal to bet all one has on (a horse, etc)
  5. lose one’s shirt on informal to lose all one has on (a horse, etc)
n.

Old English scyrte “skirt, tunic,” from Proto-Germanic *skurtjon “a short garment” (cf. Old Norse skyrta, Swedish skjorta “skirt, kirtle;” Middle Dutch scorte, Dutch schort “apron;” Middle High German schurz, German Schurz “apron”), related to Old English scort, sceort “short,” from PIE *(s)ker- (1) “to cut” (see shear (v.)).

Formerly of the chief garment worn by both sexes, but in modern use long only of that for men; in reference to women’s tops, reintroduced 1896. Bloody shirt, exposed as a symbol of outrage, is attested from 1580s. To give (someone) the shirt off one’s back is from 1771. To lose one’s shirt “suffer total financial loss” is from 1935. To keep one’s shirt on “be patient” (1904) is from the notion of (not) stripping down for a fight.

see give the shirt off one’s back; hair shirt; keep one’s shirt on; lose one’s shirt; stuffed shirt.

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