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[vest] /vɛst/
a close-fitting, waist-length, sleeveless garment that buttons down the front, designed to be worn under a jacket.
a part or trimming simulating the front of such a garment; vestee.
Compare dickey1 (def 1).
a waist-length garment worn for protective purposes:
a bulletproof vest.
a sleeveless, waist- or hip-length garment made of various materials, with a front opening usually secured by buttons, a zipper, or the like, worn over a shirt, blouse, dress, or other article for style or warmth:
a sweater vest; a down vest.
British. an undervest or undershirt.
a long garment resembling a cassock, worn by men in the time of Charles II.
  1. dress; apparel.
  2. an outer garment, robe, or gown.
  3. an ecclesiastical vestment.
verb (used with object)
to clothe; dress; robe.
to dress in ecclesiastical vestments:
to vest a bishop.
to cover or drape (an altar).
to place or settle (something, especially property, rights, powers, etc.) in the possession or control of someone (usually followed by in):
to vest authority in a new official.
to invest or endow (a person, group, committee, etc.) with something, as powers, functions, or rights:
to vest the board with power to increase production; to vest an employee with full benefits in the pension plan.
verb (used without object)
to put on vestments.
to become vested in a person, as a right.
to devolve upon a person as possessor; pass into possession or ownership.
play it close to the vest, Informal. to avoid taking unnecessary risks.
Origin of vest
late Middle English
1375-1425; (noun) late Middle English < Italian veste robe, dress < Latin vestis garment; (v.) late Middle English < Middle French vestir < Latin vestīre to clothe, derivative of vestis; akin to wear
Related forms
vestless, adjective
vestlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vest
  • It has been my experience that none of the employer match will vest the first year.
  • Check under your seat to be sure the safety vest is actually there.
  • Trousers through which bits of flesh dirtily leered led up to a buttonless vest.
  • In the technique, the patient slips on the vest for simultaneous recording.
  • Since police officers are encouraged to wear a bulletproof vest under their uniform all day, they must be comfortable.
  • But those not on the royal guest list can always tackle urban reality in his fur vest and leather leggings.
  • She dresses the part: animal print shirt, lion-head ring, safari vest.
  • It's basically a vest that's supposed to make you feel all the punches, kicks, etc while playing video games.
  • Buying a bulkier combat vest slows my movement, but provides me with a bit more protection.
  • Salomon also makes a well-fitting hydration vest that carries water and nutrition.
British Dictionary definitions for vest


an undergarment covering the body from the shoulders to the hips, made of cotton, nylon, etc US and Canadian equivalent T-shirt, undershirt Austral equivalent singlet
a similar sleeveless garment worn as outerwear Austral equivalent singlet
(US & Canadian, Austral) a man's sleeveless waistlength garment worn under a suit jacket, usually buttoning up the front Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) waistcoat
(obsolete) any form of dress, esp a long robe
(transitive) foll by in. to place or settle (power, rights, etc, in): power was vested in the committee
(transitive) foll by with. to bestow or confer (on): the company was vested with authority
(usually foll by in) to confer (a right, title, property, etc, upon) or (of a right, title, etc) to pass (to) or devolve (upon)
(transitive) to clothe or array
(intransitive) to put on clothes, ecclesiastical vestments, etc
Derived Forms
vestless, adjective
vestlike, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Old French vestir to clothe, from Latin vestīre, from vestis clothing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for vest

early 15c., "to put in possession of a person," from Middle French vestir, from Medieval Latin vestire "to put into possession, to invest," from Latin vestire "to clothe," related to vestis "garment, clothing," from PIE *wes- "to clothe" (see wear). Related: Vested; vesting.


1610s, "loose outer garment" (worn by men in Eastern countries or in ancient times), from French veste, from Italian vesta, veste "robe, gown," from Latin vestis, from vestire "to clothe" (see vest (v.)). The sleeveless garment worn by men beneath the coat was introduced by Charles II.

The King hath yesterday, in Council, declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes .... It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift. [Pepys, "Diary," Oct. 8, 1666]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for vest



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The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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