What does sleeve mean?

Definitions for sleeve

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sleeve.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sleeve, armnoun

    the part of a garment that is attached at the armhole and that provides a cloth covering for the arm

  2. sleevenoun

    small case into which an object fits


  1. sleevenoun

    The part of a garment that covers the arm.

    The sleeves on my coat are too long.

  2. sleevenoun

    A (usually tubular) covering or lining to protect a piece of machinery etc.

    This bearing requires a sleeve so the shaft will fit snugly.

  3. sleevenoun

    A protective jacket or case, especially for a record, containing art and information about the contents; also the analogous leaflet found in a packaged CD.

  4. sleeveverb

    to fit a sleeve to

  5. Etymology: From sleve, from sliefe, slefe.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Sleevenoun

    Etymology: slif , Saxon.

    Once my well-waiting eyes espy’d my treasure,
    With sleeves turn’d up, loose hair, and breast enlarged,
    Her father’s corn, moving her fair limbs, measure. Philip Sidney.

    The deep smock sleeve, which the Irish women use, they say, was old Spanish; and yet that should seem rather to be an old English fashion: for in armory, the fashion of the Manche, which is given in arms, being nothing else but a sleeve, is fashioned much like to that sleeve. And knights, in ancient times, used to wear their mistress’s or love’s sleeve upon their arms; sir Launcelot wore the sleeve of the fair maid of Asteloth in a tourney. Edmund Spenser, Ireland.

    Your hose should be ungarter’d, your sleeve unbutton’d, your shoe untied, demonstrating a careless desolation. William Shakespeare.

    You would think a smock a she-angel, he so chants to the sleeve-band, and the work about the square on’t. William Shakespeare.

    He was cloathed in cloth, with wide sleeves and a cape. Francis Bacon.

    In velvet white as snow the troop was gown’d,
    Their hoods and sleeves the same. Dryden.

    Methought I heard a voice cry, sleep no more!
    Macbeth doth murder sleep; the innocent sleep;
    Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
    The birth of each day’s life William Shakespeare.

    A brace of sharpers laugh at the whole roguery in their sleeves. Roger L'Estrange.

    Men know themselves utterly void of those qualities which the impudent sycophant ascribes to them, and in his sleeve laughs at them for believing. Robert South, Sermons.

    John laughed heartily in his sleeve at the pride of the esquire, John Arbuthnot, Hist. of John Bull.

    It is not for a man which doth know, or should know what orders, and what peaceable government requireth, to ask why we should hang our judgment upon the church’s sleeve, and why in matters of orders more than in matters of doctrine. Richard Hooker.


  1. Sleeve

    A sleeve (Old English: slīef, a word allied to slip, cf. Dutch sloof) is the part of a garment that covers the arm, or through which the arm passes or slips. The sleeve is a characteristic of fashion seen in almost every country and time period, across a myriad of styles of dress. Styles vary from close-fitting to the arm, to relatively unfitted and wide sleeves, some with extremely wide cuffs. Long, hanging sleeves have been used variously as a type of pocket, from which the phrase "to have up one's sleeve" (to have something concealed ready to produce) comes. There are many other proverbial and metaphorical expressions associated with the sleeve, such as "to wear one's heart upon one's sleeve", and "to laugh in one's sleeve". Early Western medieval sleeves were cut straight, and underarm triangle-shaped gussets were used to provide ease of movement. In the 14th century, the rounded sleeve cap was invented, allowing a more fitted sleeve to be inserted, with ease around the sleeve head and a wider cut at the back allowing for wider movement. Throughout the 19th century and particularly during the Victorian era in Western culture, the sleeves on women's dress at times became extremely wide, rounded or otherwise gathered and 'puffy', necessitating the need for sleeve supports worn inside a garment to support the shape of the sleeve. Various early styles of Western sleeve are still found in types of academic dress or other robes, such as ecumenical dress. Sleeve length varies in modern times from barely over the shoulder (cap sleeve) to floor-length (as seen in the Japanese furisode). Most contemporary shirt sleeves end somewhere between the mid-upper arm and the wrist.


  1. sleeve

    A sleeve is a part of a garment that covers the arm, or through which the arm passes or slips. It can also refer to a protective covering for something like a record, or a tubular piece in machinery.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sleevenoun

    see Sleave, untwisted thread

  2. Sleevenoun

    the part of a garment which covers the arm; as, the sleeve of a coat or a gown

  3. Sleevenoun

    a narrow channel of water

  4. Sleevenoun

    a tubular part made to cover, sustain, or steady another part, or to form a connection between two parts

  5. Sleevenoun

    a long bushing or thimble, as in the nave of a wheel

  6. Sleevenoun

    a short piece of pipe used for covering a joint, or forming a joint between the ends of two other pipes

  7. Sleeveverb

    to furnish with sleeves; to put sleeves into; as, to sleeve a coat

  8. Etymology: [OE. sleeve, sleve, AS. slfe, slfe; akin to slfan to put on, to clothe; cf. OD. sloove the turning up of anything, sloven to turn up one's sleeves, sleve a sleeve, G. schlaube a husk, pod.]


  1. Sleeve

    Sleeve is the part of a garment that covers the arm, or through which the arm passes or slips. The pattern of the sleeve is one of the characteristics of fashion in dress, varying in every country and period. Various survivals of the early forms of sleeve are still found in the different types of academic or other robes. Where the long hanging sleeve is worn it has, as still in China and Japan, been used as a pocket, whence has come the phrase to have up one's sleeve, to have something concealed ready to produce. There are many other proverbial and metaphorical expressions associated with the sleeve, such as to wear one's heart upon one's sleeve, and to laugh in one's sleeve. Sleeve length varies from barely over the shoulder to floor-length. Most contemporary shirt sleeves end somewhere between the mid-upper arm and the wrist.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sleeve

    slēv, n. the part of a garment which covers the arm: a tube into which a rod or other tube is inserted.—v.t. to furnish with sleeves.—ns. Sleeve′-band (Shak.), the wristband; Sleeve′-butt′on, a button or stud for the wristband or cuff.—adjs. Sleeved, furnished with sleeves; Sleeve′less, without sleeves.—ns. Sleeve′-link, two buttons, &c., joined by a link for holding together the two edges of the cuff or wristband; Sleeve′-nut, a double-nut for attaching the joint-ends of rods or tubes; Sleeve′-waist′coat, Sleeved′-waist′coat, a waistcoat with long sleeves, worn by porters, boots, &c.—Hang on the sleeve, to be dependent on some one; Have in one's sleeve, to have in readiness for any emergency; Laugh in one's sleeve, to laugh behind one's sleeve, to laugh privately or unperceived; Leg-of-mutton sleeve, a woman's sleeve full in the middle, tight at arm-hole and wrist. [A.S. sléfe, sléf, a sleeve—slúpan, to slip; cog. with Ger. schlauf.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. sleeve

    The word formerly used to denote the narrows of a channel, and particularly applied to the Strait of Dover, still called La Manche by the French. When Napoleon was threatening to invade England, he was represented trying to get into a coat, but one of the sleeves utterly baffled him, whence the point: "Il ne peut pas passer La Manche."

Editors Contribution

  1. sleeve

    A facet of a garment.

    The sleeve is beautiful on the wedding dress.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 7, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sleeve' in Nouns Frequency: #2162

How to pronounce sleeve?

How to say sleeve in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sleeve in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sleeve in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of sleeve in a Sentence

  1. Robert Schooley:

    Each swab would have associated with it a QR code, we'll have loaded on the app a barcode reader that will attach the identity of the person using the swab. They will pop the barcode, pull the swab out of the sleeve, swab their mouths, stick the swab back into a plastic sleeve, and then drop it in the box.

  2. Sam Clovis:

    I work with him. I'm around him. I spend a lot of time with him. He's a person of deep faith. He's just not a person that puts it on his sleeve and enunciates that.

  3. Lewis Hamilton:

    I think this year the whole pack looks a bit closer. I think they have something up their sleeve this weekend, i think they have a lot more than they are talking. They have arrived on the low, but are going to deliver high.

  4. Amir Ghaferi:

    Gastric bypass is considered the gold standard, but over the past five or six years, there have been more sleeve gastrectomy procedures.

  5. Deon Joseph:

    I thought he was dead, i pulled his sleeve and maggots and flies came out. He'd been lying there for a while. There were dozens of people around and nobody called an ambulance for him, nobody.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sleeve

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"sleeve." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sleeve>.

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    A cosmopolitan
    B witless
    C urban
    D sought

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