Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woman's loose, shirtlike undergarment.
  • n. A loosely fitting dress that hangs straight; a shift.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A loose shirtlike undergarment, especially for women.
  • n. A short nightdress, or similar piece of lingerie.
  • n. A woman's dress that fits loosely; a chemise dress.
  • n. A wall that lines the face of a bank or earthwork.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A shift, or undergarment, worn by women.
  • n. A wall that lines the face of a bank or earthwork.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shift or undergarment worn by women; a smock.
  • n. A short, loose-fitting gown worn by women in the early part of the nineteenth century.
  • n. In fortification: A wall built parallel to and outside of the main wall of a fortress, or concentric with and surrounding a tower, intended to prevent the approach of sappers to the foot of the main defense. The space between the chemise-wall and the main work which it protects, sometimes covered with a penthouse roof.
  • n. A sleeve or an envelop of sheet-iron placed on a mandrel to receive the coils of steel ribbon used in making shot-gun barrels.
  • n. Any covering or envelop, especially one of flexible material, as the parchment bag in which seals of wax were inclosed.
  • n. In mech., a sheath or covering of sheet-metal; specifically, a sheet-iron cylinder placed around the tubes in a vertical boiler.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman's sleeveless undergarment
  • n. a loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, shirt, from Late Latin camisia, from Late Greek kamision, probably of Semitic origin; see qmṣ in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman chemés ("shirt"), Old French chainse, chamisae ("linen clothes, undergarment"), from Latin camisa, camisia ("shirt, undergarment, nightgown"), from Proto-Germanic *hamiþijan (“clothes, shirt, skirt”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱam- (“cover, clothes”). Cognate with Old High German hemidi (German Hemd, "shirt"), Old English hemeþe ("shirt"), ham ("undergarment"), hama ("covering, dress, garment"). More at hame. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The method of adoption, in accordance with the customs of this nation, is said to have been like this: the old man directs him to strip himself naked and put on linen inner garment, which we call a chemise, and he embraces him, and confirms the entire transaction with kiss; both the old man and the old woman do this.

    The Deeds of God Through the Franks

  • Then she stripped off her outer gear and she threw open her chemise from the neck downwards and showed her parts genital and all the rondure of her hips.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • His breeches and her chemise were the only barriers, the only protection, but it was enough.

    Much Ado About Marriage

  • She is responsible for popularizing such fads as the Picture Hat, the Gaulle Gown aka chemise a la reine, and the gown en militaire.

    A Small Investigation of Michael O'Connor's Work

  • One sees a thing, but one sees it badly, so that a feather-broom becomes a head of bristling locks, a red carnation is a beast's open mouth, and a chemise is a ghost in its winding-sheet.

    A Mummer's Tale

  • Her shoes white satin, embroidered in gold; the sleeves and body of the chemise, which is of the finest cambric, trimmed with rich lace; and the petticoat, which comes below the dress, shows two flounces of Valenciennes.

    Life in Mexico, During a Residence of Two Years in That Country

  • There was nothing surprising in their not having chemises, for the chemise is a scarce article in Spain, but the idea of pleasing

    The memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • There was nothing surprising in their not having chemises, for the chemise is a scarce article in Spain, but the idea of pleasing God by wearing a Capuchin's habit struck me as extremely odd.

    The Complete Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

  • To begin, there will be a chemise which is worn next to the skin.

    Shades of Milk and Honey ARC giveaway on Library Thing

  • "chemise" to the gorge wall, the interior traverses and merlons, and to erect a covered way from Gregg to Battery

    Memoirs of the War of Secession

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