che·​mise | \ shə-ˈmēz How to pronounce chemise (audio) , sometimes -ˈmēs \

Definition of chemise

1 : a woman's one-piece undergarment
2 : a loose straight-hanging dress

Examples of chemise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One is a dress version — a one-piece with a chemise underneath it. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 The sensitive Solange, for instance, often sports a white chemise dotted with tiny red hearts, a nod to her youthful vulnerability. Caitlin Quinlan, Variety, 15 Aug. 2021 This is where the investment of a beautiful robe or chemise comes into play. Heather Hall, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Mar. 2021 Look no further than Bum Cake’s vintage chemise and Torlowei’s ethically made satin skirt. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, 26 Jan. 2021 The subject reclines voluptuously, her eyes closed, her face turned up to the light, a silky white chemise slipping carelessly from her ample shoulder. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 28 Sep. 2020 In all, six bulldozers — including a 108,000-pound Caterpillar D9 — set to work moving chemise, coyote brush, greasewood and manzanita out of the way, establishing a safe zone at the edge of Chappellet. Esther Mobley,, 28 Aug. 2020 Between them came austere black and gray suiting with the ruff of a clerical collar peeking out; lacy chemise dresses and tapestry brocades. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 28 Feb. 2020 The items also include a chemise, cream and red stockings, a black shirt and two pairs of leather boots, which were made by shoemaker J. Sparks-Hall of London. Francisco Guzman And Brian Ries, CNN, 20 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chemise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of chemise

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chemise

borrowed from French, going back to Old French cheminse, chamisae "tunic-like garment worn directly against the skin," going back to Late Latin camīsia, perhaps borrowed from a continental Celtic word borrowed from West Germanic *hamiþja- (whence Old English hemeþe "undergarment, tunic, shirt," Old Frisian hemethe, hemede, hamed, Old Saxon hemithi, Old High German hemidi), derivative, with the dental suffix *-iþja-, of Germanic *hama- or *haman- "shape, human form, covering" (whence Old English hama [masculine weak noun] "covering, womb, afterbirth, slough of a snake," Old Norse hamr "skin, shape (assumed by a supernatural entity)," and in compounds Old Frisian līkhoma, lichama "body, corpse," Old Saxon gūthhamo "battle shirt," līkhamo "body, corpse," Old High German gundhamo, līhnamo), of uncertain origin

Note: The word chemise occurs once in Middle English, presumably borrowed from Anglo-French, but as a designation for a woman's garment it does not occur after that until the eighteenth century, when it was reborrowed from French. Late Latin camīsia was taken directly into Old English as cemes "shirt, undergarment," continued in Middle English as kemes, kemse, but not surviving any later. The kind of garment designated by camīsia, a sort of close-fitting shirt worn by men, was apparently not familiar to the Romans, so Latin had no name for it; the tunica "tunic," usually at least knee-length and belted, was evidently not the same. The earliest attestation of camīsia, in a letter of jerome (Epistolae 64.11), describes it as having "close-fitting sleeves" ("strictis manicis") descending to the legs ("… usque ad crura descendat"); camīsia was the vernacular name for such a garment, worn by soldiers ("… solent militares habere lineas, quas camisias vocant" - "soldiers customarily possess linen garments, which they call camisiae"). The etymology given above is often accepted, but it is not without obscurities. The reflection of Germanic initial h as c in camīsia is peculiar, as is the long i, attested as short in outcomes of the etymon only in easternmost Romance (Romanian, Dalmatian, dialects of northeast Italy). British Celtic languages have what appears to be an early loan from Old English hemeþe, though with a sibilant that is perhaps owed to the Latin word: Welsh hefys, hefis "woman's undergarment" (ca. 1400 heuis), Old Cornish heuis (glossing colobium "sleeveless tunic"), Old Breton hemis (in guest-hemisiou, glossing lāticlāvia "tunic with a broad purple stripe"). The Germanic etymon has been further compared with Sanskrit śāmulya- "garment," though given the lack of other evidence this connection is questionable.

Learn More About chemise

Time Traveler for chemise

Time Traveler

The first known use of chemise was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near chemise




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for chemise

Cite this Entry

“Chemise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for chemise



English Language Learners Definition of chemise

: a piece of clothing that looks like a light, loose dress and that is worn by women as underwear or in bed
: a loose dress that hangs straight

More from Merriam-Webster on chemise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chemise

Nglish: Translation of chemise for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about chemise


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!