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

  • n. A sleeveless garment, often having buttons down the front, worn usually over a shirt or blouse and sometimes as part of a three-piece suit.
  • n. A waist-length, sleeveless garment worn for protection: a warm down vest; a bulletproof vest.
  • n. A fabric trim worn to fill in the neckline of a woman's garment; a vestee.
  • n. Chiefly British An undershirt.
  • n. Archaic Clothing; raiment.
  • n. Obsolete An ecclesiastical vestment.
  • transitive v. To place (authority, property, or rights, for example) in the control of a person or group, especially to give someone an immediate right to present or future possession or enjoyment of (an estate, for example). Used with in: vested his estate in his daughter.
  • transitive v. To invest or endow (a person or group) with something, such as power or rights. Used with with: vested the council with broad powers; vests its employees with full pension rights after five years of service.
  • transitive v. To clothe or robe, as in ecclesiastical vestments.
  • intransitive v. To become legally vested.
  • intransitive v. To dress oneself, especially in ecclesiastical vestments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A loose robe or outer garment worn historically by men in Arabic or Middle Eastern countries.
  • n. A sleeveless garment that buttons down the front, worn over a shirt, and often as part of a suit; a waistcoat.
  • n. A sleeveless garment, often with a low-cut neck, usually worn under a shirt or blouse.
  • n. A sleeveless top, typically with identifying colours or logos, worn by an athlete or member of a sports team.
  • n. Any sleeveless outer garment, often for a purpose such as identification, safety, or storage.
  • v. : (commonly used of financial arrangements) To become vested, to become permanent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An article of clothing covering the person; an outer garment; a vestment; a dress; a vesture; a robe.
  • n. Any outer covering; array; garb.
  • n. Specifically, a waistcoat, or sleeveless body garment, for men, worn under the coat.
  • intransitive v. To come or descend; to be fixed; to take effect, as a title or right; -- followed by in.
  • transitive v. To clothe with, or as with, a vestment, or garment; to dress; to robe; to cover, surround, or encompass closely.
  • transitive v. To clothe with authority, power, or the like; to put in possession; to invest; to furnish; to endow; -- followed by with before the thing conferred.
  • transitive v. To place or give into the possession or discretion of some person or authority; to commit to another; -- with in before the possessor.
  • transitive v. To invest; to put.
  • transitive v. To clothe with possession; ; also, to give a person an immediate fixed right of present or future enjoyment of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To clothe with or as with a garment, vest, or vestment; robe; dress; cover, surround, or encompass closely.
  • To invest or clothe, as with authority; put in possession (of); endow; put more or less formally in occupation (of): followed by with.
  • To place or put in possession or at the disposal of; give or confer formally or legally an immediate fixed right of present or future possession, occupancy, or enjoyment of; commit to: followed by in.
  • To lay out, as money or capital; invest: as, to vest money in land. [Rare.] Imp. Dict.
  • To put on clothing or vestments.
  • To come or descend; devolve; take effect, as a title or right: with in.
  • n. An article of clothing covering the person; an outer garment; a vestment.
  • n. Figuratively, garment; dress; array; vesture.
  • n. A body-garment for men's wear, at different times of distinct types
  • n. A body-garment of later times; especially, the waistcoat in the ordinary modern sense—that is, a short garment without sleeves, buttoning down the front, and having the back concealed by the coat.
  • n. An outer garment, or part of such a garment, for women.
  • n. An undergarment knitted or woven on the stocking-loom. Vest and undervest are more common in England; undershirt in the United States.

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

  • v. clothe oneself in ecclesiastical garments
  • v. clothe formally; especially in ecclesiastical robes
  • v. place (authority, property, or rights) in the control of a person or group of persons
  • n. a man's sleeveless garment worn underneath a coat
  • n. a collarless men's undergarment for the upper part of the body
  • v. provide with power and authority
  • v. become legally vested


French veste, robe, from Italian vesta, from Latin vestis, garment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French veste ("a vest, jacket"), from Latin vestis ("a garment, gown, robe, vestment, clothing, vesture"). (Wiktionary)



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  • I think vests are generally buttoned up the front (or fastened in some other way), whereas singlets don't fasten. (Isn't that right? They're what we call in the U.S. tank tops.)

    August 27, 2008

  • When is a vest a vest and when is it a singlet?

    August 27, 2008