"shirt, chemise, body garment of linen or cotton for either sex," Middle English serk, late Old English serc "shirt, corselet, coat of mail," surviving as a Scottish and northern dialect word. It is either the Old English word influenced in pronunciation and spelling by its Old Norse cognate serkr, or that word in place of the native one. A general Germanic word (see shirt and also compare berserk.
1920, in reference to the shape it makes when laid out flat (t-shirt is incorrect).
West African type of loose shirt, 1969, a word of West African origin.
late Old English, cemes "shirt, undershirt," 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 *hamithjan (source also of Old Frisian hemethe, Old Saxon hemithi, Old English hemeðe, German hemd "shirt"), which is of uncertain origin.
The French form took over after c. 1200, along with the specialized sense "woman's undergarment." In early 19c. a short, loose-fitting gown worn by women; in early 20c. a dress hanging straight from the shoulders. Each of these is possibly a separate borrowing of the French word. Related: Chemisette.
1816, "short, light garment with sleeves," formerly worn by women as morning-dress, from French camisole (16c.), from Provençal camisola "mantle," diminutive of camisa "shirt," from Late Latin camisia "shirt, nightgown" (see chemise). In modern use a sleeveless undergarment for women (1900). In late 19c. it generally meant "strait-jacket, a restraint for lunatics."
mid-15c., in reference to garments, "padded with stuffing," past-participle adjective from stuff (v.). Hence stuffed shirt "pompous, ineffectual person" (1913).