Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To keep (a college or school athlete) out of varsity competition for one year in order to extend the athlete's period of eligibility.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an athlete who spends a year not participating in official athletic activities, but does not lose his or her eligibility to participate in following years
  • v. to place an athlete in a status wherein the athlete will spend a year not participating in official athletic activities, but will not lose his or her eligibility to participate in following years.
  • v. To hold a child out of kindergarten for one year in the hope that the child will do better academically and socially.
  • n. An unimportant character introduced only to be killed in order to underscore the peril to the important characters; an expendable character.
  • n. A person responsible for loading and unloading weapons, artillery, and equipment from aircraft.

Etymologies

From the red jerseys worn by such athletes to distinguish them from the regular players.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
red +‎ shirt. From the red shirts worn by such people when on duty (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • From Wikipedia: A redshirt is a stock character, used frequently in science fiction but also in other genres, whose purpose is to die soon after being introduced, thus indicating the dangerous circumstances faced by the main characters.

    October 2007

  • A redshirt is a term essentially used for skipping a year.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The good news is Hill will be back next season and was granted a medical redshirt, meaning he retains two more seasons of eligibility.

    USATODAY.com

  • It has worked well for both sides: The Eagles could trade McNabb and now are reaping the benefits of Vick's "redshirt" year.

    Andrew Brandt: Look Who Could Be NFL Free Agents Soon!

  • Thailand's civil unrest took a new turn Saturday 4/11/09 when "redshirt" demonstrators managed to push through security forces and invade the resort hotel where ministers of ASEAN were preparing to meet.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Everyone who should have been a "redshirt" raise your hand.

    Cory Doctorow on Futurism

  • This year, the line figures to make great leaps, especially if Tray Allen recovers from his injury, Mason Walters lives up to his billing and youngsters such as redshirt freshmen Thomas

    statesman.com - Highschool

  • She played in too many games to qualify for a medical redshirt, meaning she will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning next season.

    seMissourian.com Headlines

  • Having missed most of this season with a knee injury, Street will be taking a medical redshirt, meaning he will have the chance to return next year and be a part of another outdoor game.

    Badger Herald: News Updates

  • Training camp will be a challenge for Maclin as he tries to rip off his "redshirt" while trying to impress the coaches in reps versus veterans like Asante Samuel.

    Taking it to the House

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Comments

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  • A lot of these characters got killed on Star Trek, and they were always the security people.

    October 24, 2012

  • A transitive verb? Wow. Just think of the fun I can have next time I open my wardrobe!

    December 12, 2009