Definitions

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

  • n. Archaic A fine thread or skein of thread.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To separate, as threads; to divide, as a collection of threads.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The knotted or entangled part of silk or thread.
  • n. Silk not yet twisted; floss; -- called also sleave silk.
  • transitive v. To separate, as threads; to divide, as a collection of threads; to sley; -- a weaver's term.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To separate or divide, as a collection of threads, strands, or fibers.
  • n. Anything matted or raveled; hence, unspun silk; the knotted and entangled part of silk or thread.

Etymologies

From Middle English *sleven, to disentangle, from Old English *slǣfan, to cut, from slāf, past tense of slīfan, to split.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Once I put a small garter Snake in a girl's muff, and it went up her sleave, which is nothing to some of the things she had done to me.

    Bab: A Sub-Deb

  • Last edited by jase2472 on Thu Feb 21, 2008 6: 32 pm; edited 2 times in total excuse me? could you re-write that in english please? do you mean the flash with the black snake that is seen on the sleeves? not sure mate looked on army website for FTRS vacancies and it says CMT class 1 must have done Black Serpent course All I've managed to find out is that it's a course, where as the black snake on the sleave is a unit marking.

    Army Rumour Service

  • The fashionable rolling travel satchel from Caribbean Joe looks is gorgeous tote by day, but comes with wheels and a trolly handle to become an easy carry-on with a laptop sleave and multiple compartments.

    Zorianna Kit: 2011 Academy Awards Gifting suites

  • Even a reader who loves salt marshes, as I do, and who wants to lose herself in Mr. Lender's tender ­appreciation of them may find herself, instead, lost in the sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care.

    Coastal Disturbances

  • People wear their religion on their sleave because they don't have a genuine faith.

    South Carolina's Christian question

  • 'Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care The death of each day\'s life, sore labour\'s bath Balm of hurt minds, great nature\'s second course, Chief nourisher in life\'s feast.

    Anne Naylor: Is Sleeping A Good Investment Of Your Time?

  • According to one of William Shakespeare's gags, it is sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care spelling, Will, spelling.

    The ravelled mystery of David Lloyd's eyebrows

  • Why does the GOP insist that everyone wear their patroitism on their sleave?

    Michelle Obama takes heat from Tennessee Republicans

  • Even she doesn't get the popular vote, even if Pennsylvania fails to give her the nomination single-handedly, even if etc., etc., etc., she will still have the winning card up her sleave: John Edwards 'endorsement.

    Penn: Pennsylvania Will Show That Obama "Really Can't Win The General Election"

  • I left journalism to follow a course that allows me to wear my heart on my sleave, a trait that -- much as it is me -- is faintly embarrassing even now.

    Ellyn Spragins: With Apologies To Maureen Dowd

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