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

  • n. A garment formerly worn by men under a doublet.
  • n. Chiefly British A short, sleeveless, collarless garment worn especially over a shirt and often under a suit jacket; a vest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short, sleeveless coat or garment for men, worn under the coat, extending no lower than the hips, and covering the waist; a vest.
  • n. A garment occasionally worn by women as a part of fashionable costume.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name of various garments.
  • n. A garment without sleeves worn under a coat. They were formerly long, reaching sometimes to the thighs, and were made of rich and bright-colored material; now they are worn much shorter. They are generally single-breasted, but double-breasted waistcoats have been in fashion at different times.
  • n. A garment worn by women in imitation of a man's waistcoat. Compare .

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

  • n. a man's sleeveless garment worn underneath a coat


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The waistcoat is important, see, because the colors denote certain ranks.

    Small Trifles « Morgan Dempsey

  • He had a tuft of white hair at the back of his dark head, like the cotton-tail of a rabbit, and as well as corduroy breeches he wore a rabbit-skin waistcoat, and he was a great nuisance to gamekeepers, who called him a poacher; whereas all he did was to let the rabbits out of the snares when it was kind to, and destroy the snares.

    Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard

  • And this was the first and last time we ever saw Jack London arrayed in waistcoat and starched collar.


  • His eye is large and dark and dewy; he wears a tight little red satin waistcoat on his full

    My Robin

  • In less than two weeks he revealed a tight, glossy little bright red satin waistcoat and with it a certain youthful maturity such as one beholds in the wearer of a first dress suit.

    My Robin

  • That's because the company's Travel Vest - North American for 'waistcoat' - is "compatible with iPad", meaning it has an inner pocket large enough to accommodate Apple's 243 x 190 x

    The Register

  • Marianne’s marriage to the man in the flannel waistcoat is dissatisfying because it undoes the reader’s nostalgia for uncomplicated sentimental resolution.

    Money, Matrimony, and Memory: Secondary Heroines in Radcliffe, Austen, and Cooper

  • Not every man can wear a vest what the Brits call a waistcoat without looking like a riverboat gambler or John Foster Dulles.

    Roger Stone: StoneZone's 2011 Best and Worst Dressed

  • His waistcoat is the most hideous shade of puce I have ever seen.

    The Charade

  • Others might see glory only through hexameters and pentameters; renown might await others only through boating or cricket; with him the colour of his coat and the cut of his waistcoat were the materials of fame.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844


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  • Frindley: If I had to guess, I'd say vests are much shorter/modern-looking. But that is by no means a technical (or even correct) answer.

    August 27, 2008

  • Then there's the matter of what's a waistcoat and what's a vest.

    August 27, 2008

  • Ugh! I don't want to go back to SAMPA /"weIsk@Ut/, but the limited HTML here offers no control over fonts. I see the IPA characters in a completely different font: Lucida Sans Unicode, I believe, an ugly one I try to avoid when I have CSS or HTML control over it. So, as with IPA generally, it's just blind luck if any one viewer's browser supports it.

    August 27, 2008

  • I just meant here, where I work, it's generally pronounced "weskit," but spelled "waistcoat."

    (Edit: a minor note, I can't actually see most of the pronunciation characters in your comment, except for the schwa. FYI)

    August 26, 2008

  • Certainly in standard British speech, the spelling pronunciation /ˈweɪsˌkəʊt/ outnumbers the older /ˈweskət/, if that was ever standard. (The OED, with W not recently revised, calls the latter 'colloq. or vulgar', and though it notes the spelling 'weskit', gives no examples.) However, I can't back up this preferred pronunciation with numbers.

    August 26, 2008

  • Pronounced (and therefore some people spell it as) "weskit."

    August 26, 2008