Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shirt n.

[20C+] (Aus.) that portion of a glass of beer that lies beneath the foamy collar n. (1b)

SE in slang uses

In compounds

shirt-fly (n.) [they are ‘always up the gaffer’s arse’]

[1990s+] a toady.

shirtlifter (n.) [i.e. the lifting of the shirt-tail before sodomy]

[1950s+] a male homosexual.

shirtlifterish (adj.) (also shirtlifting)

pertaining to homosexuality.

shirt potato (n.) (also sweater potato)

[2000s] (Aus.) the female breasts.

shirt rat (n.) (also shirt hound, ...rabbit, ...squirrel)

[1910s–20s] (US) a body louse, a bedbug.

shirt-stretcher (n.)

[1990s+] a woman with large breasts.

shirt-tail (adj.) [one’s shirt-tail is (fig.) hanging out]

[1920s+] (US) impoverished, deprived, mean.

shirt-tail relation (n.) (also shirt-tail, shirt-tail cousin, ...kin, ...relative)

[20C+] (Aus./US) a distant relation, a family friend.

In phrases

another clean shirt ought to see you out (also one more clean shirt is all you’ll need)

[1930s+] you look very ill; i.e. you look as if you’ll soon be dead.

clean shirt (n.)

[1940s] (UK prison) a beating administered by warders to a new prisoner on admission.

clean-shirt day (n.) [the one day of the week on which even the poorest wore a clean shirt]

[late18C-19C] Sunday.

fill one’s shirt (v.) [a full, bulging stomach fills one’s shirt]

[20C+] (US) to eat heartily.

get one’s shirt out (v.) (also get someone’s shirt out, have one’s shirt out)

1. [mid-19C] to become angry or to make another angry [the disarrangement of one’s clothes that may follow a fit of arm-brandishing fury].

2. [mid-19C–1930s] to cause someone to lose all their money (through gambling) [? precursor of lose one’s shirt ].

get one’s shirt-tails cracking (v.)

[1970s] (N.Z.) to hurry up.

lose one’s shirt (v.)

1. [1910s+] to lose a good deal of money, usu. through gambling or other speculation.

2. (Aus.) to lose one’s temper.

3. [1990s+] (US campus) to laugh uncontrollably.

put one’s shirt on (v.) (also have one’s shirt on, put it all on, put one’s socks on)

[late 19C+] (gambling) to bet heavily.

take one’s shirt off (v.)

[late 19C] to lose one’s temper.

In exclamations

do as my shirt does! [pun on kiss my arse! excl.]

[mid-17C–18C] a euph. but derisive excl. of abuse, rejection.

hold on to your shirt!

[20C+] calm down!

keep your shirt on! (also keep your jumper on!)

[mid-19C+] calm down! don’t lose (emotional) control!