1. a woman’s loose-fitting, shirtlike undergarment.
  2. (in women’s fashions) a dress designed to hang straight from the shoulders and fit loosely at the waist, sometimes more tightly at the hip.
  3. a revetment for an earth embankment.


  1. an unwaisted loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders
  2. a loose shirtlike undergarment

late Old English, cemes “shirt,” from Old French chemise “shirt, undertunic, shift,” or directly from Late Latin camisia “shirt, tunic” (Jerome; also source of Italian camicia, Spanish camisa); originally a soldier’s word, probably via Gaulish, from Proto-Germanic *khamithjan (cf. Old Frisian hemethe, Old Saxon hemithi, Old English hemeðe, German hemd “shirt”), from PIE root *kem- “to cover, cloak” (cf. heaven). The French form took over after c.1200. Related: Chemisette.

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