- shirt (n.)
- Old English scyrte "skirt, tunic," from Proto-Germanic *skurtijon "a short garment" (cf. Old Norse skyrta, Swedish skjorta "skirt, kirtle;" Middle Dutch scorte, Dutch schort "apron;" Middle High German schurz, German Schurz "apron"), from the same source as Old English scort, sceort (see short).
Formerly of garments worn by both sexes, but long in modern use only for men; in reference to women's tops, reintroduced 1896. Shirt-sleeve in reference to "without a coat" first recorded 1560s. 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 stripping down for a fight.