Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A college athlete who is allowed to practice with the varsity team but is kept out of competition for one year in order to extend the athlete's period of eligibility.
  • transitive verb To make (a student) a redshirt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person responsible for loading and unloading weapons, artillery, and equipment from aircraft.
  • noun US 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
  • verb US 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.
  • verb US To hold a child out of kindergarten for one year in the hope that the child will do better academically and socially.
  • noun fiction, science fiction An unimportant character introduced only to be killed in order to underscore the peril to the important characters; an expendable character.

Etymologies

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

[From the red jerseys worn by such athletes to distinguish them from the regular players.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

red +‎ shirt. From the red shirts worn by such people when on duty

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

  • 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.

    The moon is a harsh mistress

  • 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!

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

    Cory Doctorow on Futurism

  • 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.

    Thailand's redshirts and civil unrest

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

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

    December 12, 2009

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

    October 24, 2012