\ ˈslēv How to pronounce sleeve (audio) \

Definition of sleeve

1a : a part of a garment covering an arm
b : sleevelet
2a : a tubular part (such as a hollow axle or a bushing) designed to fit over another part
b : an open-ended flat or tubular packaging or cover especially : jacket sense 3c(2)
on one's sleeve
: in an honest and open manner used with wear wears his emotions on his sleeve
up one's sleeve
: held secretly in reserve has a few tricks up her sleeve

Other Words from sleeve

sleeved \ ˈslēvd How to pronounce sleeve (audio) \ adjective
sleeveless \ ˈslēv-​ləs How to pronounce sleeve (audio) \ adjective

Examples of sleeve in a Sentence

a shirt with long sleeves The joint is covered with a metal sleeve.
Recent Examples on the Web Rodriguez said his father’s death finally convinced his mother to roll up her sleeve. Kim Bojórquez, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Jan. 2022 But the former model and current Instagram sensation has versatility up her sleeve, too. Liam Hess, Vogue, 5 Jan. 2022 Shutterfly, the longtime photo personalization and holiday card company, has an ace up its sleeve to keep business running smoothly despite record-shattering supply chain delays. Jane Thier, Fortune, 23 Dec. 2021 Out of the new crop, Cadence may have the most surprises up its sleeve. New York Times, 14 Dec. 2021 If the weapon is brought by an armorer to a prop master, the prop master will perform the exact same check and then put the gun back into its protective sleeve. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 25 Oct. 2021 Lo and behold, when the Spurs and Suns met to open a new season on Oct. 28, 2008, at the AT&T Center, Popovich had one more trick up his sleeve. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Oct. 2021 Nearly a half century may have passed since his death but Pablo Picasso still has a trick or two hidden up his sleeve. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 11 Oct. 2021 Issa Dee has worn her heart on her sleeve in a way that has inspired me. E. Alex Jung, Vulture, 27 Dec. 2021

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

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First Known Use of sleeve

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sleeve

Middle English sleve, going back to Old English slīefe (West Saxon), slēfe (Anglian), feminine weak noun, going back to a Germanic noun base *slaubj- (whence also East Frisian [Saterland] sleeuwe "sleeve," North Frisian [Mooring] sliiw), from a verbal root *slaub- seen also in Old English slēfan (weak verb) "to slip (clothes) on," Middle Dutch slōven "to roll up, strip off, slip over something," sloof "coat of rough cloth, habit," slove "cover, wrapper," regional German Schlaube "skin, peel (of fruit, etc.)," going back to Indo-European *slou̯bh-, causative derivative of *sleu̯bh- "move easily, slip," whence also Latin (with suffix *-re/o-ko-) lūbricus "slippery, difficult to hold"

Note: This Germanic etymon for "sleeve" is evidently of Anglo-Frisian date, judging by its appearance in North and East Frisian; in West Frisian it appears to have been replaced by Dutch mouw. —The postulation of *slou̯bh- is based on the R. Lühr's hypothesis (see note at slip entry 5), though others appear to regard *slaub- as arising within Germanic, without positing an Indo-European base (thus Feist/Lehmann, A Gothic Etymological Dictionary; G. Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic); thereby the verb *sleupan- "to creep, glide" (see slip entry 5) can be added to the above group of words, as well as Gothic afslaupjan "to strip off (a garment)," a causative with o-grade ablaut. Kroonen additionally cites also Old Frisian slēpan "to fasten, put (a noose around the neck)" and Old Saxon slōpian "to loosen." The putative Old English verb slīepan cited by Feist/Lehmann and Kroonen does not appear to exist, nor does slíefan cited by Lühr. Kroonen cites as a form comparative within Indo-European Lithuanian įslupti "to slip in" and Latvian šļupt "to glide out." For more Germanic nominal derivatives see slop entry 1.

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Time Traveler for sleeve

Time Traveler

The first known use of sleeve was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sleeve



sleeve bearing

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sleeve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for sleeve



English Language Learners Definition of sleeve

: the part of a shirt, jacket, etc., that covers all or part of your arm
: a part that fits over or around something to protect it or to hold its parts together


\ ˈslēv How to pronounce sleeve (audio) \

Kids Definition of sleeve

1 : the part of a piece of clothing covering the arm
2 : a part that fits over or around something like a sleeve
up someone's sleeve
: held secretly in reserve Watch him. He's got something up his sleeve.

Other Words from sleeve

sleeved \ ˈslēvd \ adjective
sleeveless \ ˈslēv-​ləs \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on sleeve

Nglish: Translation of sleeve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sleeve for Arabic Speakers


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