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

  • n. A part of a garment that covers all or part of an arm.
  • n. A case into which an object or device fits: a record sleeve.
  • transitive v. To furnish or fit with sleeves or a sleeve.
  • idiom up (one's) sleeve Hidden but ready to be used: I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to fit a sleeve to

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See sleave, untwisted thread.
  • n. The part of a garment which covers the arm.
  • n. A narrow channel of water.
  • n.
  • n. A tubular part made to cover, sustain, or steady another part, or to form a connection between two parts.
  • n. A long bushing or thimble, as in the nave of a wheel.
  • n. A short piece of pipe used for covering a joint, or forming a joint between the ends of two other pipes.
  • n. A double tube of copper, in section like the figure 8, into which the ends of bare wires are pushed so that when the tube is twisted an electrical connection is made. The joint thus made is called a McIntire joint.
  • transitive v. To furnish with sleeves; to put sleeves into.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with a sleeve or with sleeves; make with sleeves.
  • To put in a sleeve or sleeves.
  • See sleave.
  • In mech., to fasten or adjust in the manner of a sleeve.
  • To attach or operate by a sleeve. See sleeve, n., 2.
  • n. That part of a garment which forms a covering for the arm: as, the sleeve of a coat or a gown.
  • n. In mech., a tube into which a rod or another tube is inserted.
  • n. Specifically:
  • n. A square of cloth or other flexible material through the center of which a catheter is passed and tied. It is then inserted into a canal to be tamponed, and the space between the catheter and its cloth covering is packed with pledgets of cotton, worsted yarn, or other material.

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

  • n. the part of a garment that is attached at the armhole and that provides a cloth covering for the arm
  • n. small case into which an object fits


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

Middle English sleve, from Old English slēf; see sleubh- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English sleve, from Old English sliefe, slefe.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • in BC, it's a glass of beer, less than an imperial pint of 568 mL .

    Our bars sometimes buy pint glasses from the US which is a 473 mL drink, but the bar cannot legally call it a pint in Canada. In general, a sleeve is not a specific unit of liquid.  Lookup : "sleeve of beer" 
    Google books has 'sleeve of beer' in the 21st century, but I heard this term in the late 80's.

    November 12, 2017

  • I'd wager that we can't do much about it, though, since the man died in 2000. :-/

    June 6, 2011

  • You know, I don't really care what Jack and Stephen get up to in the bath -- they can amuse themselves by farting in the bathwater and attempting to bite the bubbles, as far as I'm concerned.

    But I am horrified by the type of writing exemplified by Jack's ridiculous question, which makes no sense at all, at any level, real or metaphoric.

    I will don my pointy pedant-hat to make two points:

    1. the word is "sleave", not "sleeve" (sleave = a woven or threaded skein of yarn)

    2. "sore labour's bath" is a reference to sleep, so the conjunction 'and' makes no sense, unless they plan to attempt the D minor double sonata in their sleep. Is Stephen agreeing to a little night music, or to getting some beauty rest? *

    I call shenanigans on Mr O' Brian's faux-erudition. If he wants to lard his writing with Shakespearean references, he should take the trouble to get them right.

    *: OK, granted that Jack might be proposing a little night music, followed by 40 winks, but given O' Brian's propagation of the 'sleeve' error, I'm inclined to think it's just another example of sloppy writing.

    June 6, 2011

  • "'Shall we make an attempt upon the D minor double sonata?' said Jack, 'and knit up the ravelled sleeve of care with sore labour's bath?'

    "'By all means,' said Stephen. 'A better way of dealing with a sleeve cannot be imagined.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 48

    February 11, 2008