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

  • noun A part of a garment that covers all or part of an arm.
  • noun A case into which an object or device fits.
  • noun A tattoo that covers all or a large part of the arm.
  • transitive verb To furnish or fit with sleeves or a sleeve.
  • idiom (up (one's) sleeve) Hidden but ready to be used.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To furnish with a sleeve or with sleeves; make with sleeves.
  • To put in a sleeve or sleeves.
  • noun That part of a garment which forms a covering for the arm: as, the sleeve of a coat or a gown.
  • noun In mech., a tube into which a rod or another tube is inserted.
  • noun Specifically:
  • noun 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.
  • In mech., to fasten or adjust in the manner of a sleeve.
  • To attach or operate by a sleeve. See sleeve, n., 2.
  • See sleave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun See sleave, untwisted thread.
  • transitive verb To furnish with sleeves; to put sleeves into.
  • noun The part of a garment which covers the arm.
  • noun rare A narrow channel of water.
  • noun A tubular part made to cover, sustain, or steady another part, or to form a connection between two parts.
  • noun A long bushing or thimble, as in the nave of a wheel.
  • noun A short piece of pipe used for covering a joint, or forming a joint between the ends of two other pipes.
  • noun (Elec.) 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.
  • noun a detachable button to fasten the wristband or cuff.
  • noun two bars or buttons linked together, and used to fasten a cuff or wristband.
  • noun to laugh privately or unperceived, especially while apparently preserving a grave or serious demeanor toward the person or persons laughed at; that is, perhaps, originally, by hiding the face in the wide sleeves of former times.
  • noun to be, or make, dependent upon.

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

  • verb transitive to fit a sleeve to

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

  • noun the part of a garment that is attached at the armhole and that provides a cloth covering for the arm
  • noun 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.


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  • "'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

  • 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

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

    June 6, 2011

  • 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