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See also: shirtsleeve




Derived from the practice of taking one's jacket off, and relaxing in shirt sleeves.


shirt-sleeve (plural shirt-sleeves)

  1. Alternative form of shirt sleeve
    • 1872, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond:
      Not one of those rustic wassals of the Ouse of Widdlers, but ad his air curled and his shirt-sleaves tied up with pink ribbing as he led to the macy dance some appy country gal, with a black velvit boddice and a redd or yaller petticoat, a hormylu cross on her neck, and a silver harrow in her air!
    • 1934, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night:
      But Dick's necessity of behaving as he did was a projection of some submerged reality: he was compelled to walk there, or stand there, his shirt-sleeve fitting his wrist and his coat sleeve encasing his shirt-sleeve like a sleeve valve, his collar molded plastically to his neck, his red hair cut exactly, his hand holding his small briefcase like a dandy— just as another man once found it necessary to stand in front of a church in Ferrara, in sackcloth and ashes.
    • 1988, Social Welfare - Volume 34, page 26:
      In his properly trimmed beard, elephant like trousers, and cat-like eyes behind the goggles, shirt-sleaves folded up to arms showing the good biceps, Chander must have impressed them as something hard and fast.


shirt-sleeve (not comparable)

  1. Having an informal, relaxed appearance or approach, particularly in business.
    He had a shirt-sleeve style of management.

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