AskDefine | Define nightshirt

Dictionary Definition

nightshirt n : nightclothes worn by men

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a shirt-like garment (often oversized) that is worn to bed
    He wore a blue striped nightshirt and bedroom slippers.


Extensive Definition

A nightshirt is a garment intended for sleeping in. It is somewhat longer than most regular shirts, reaching at least down to the thighs, but usually shorter than a dress or robe, leaving some of the legs uncovered. It is generally loose-fitting to avoid restricting the wearer's movement while sleeping.
As a bedtime garment, the nightshirt is the successor of a type of long undergarment used by many Europeans through the 19th Century. This undergarment was worn all day under outer clothing. At night the outer clothing was removed, and men and women slept in the long shirt-like garment. This smock was longer for women than for men, more resembling a dress. Upon arising in the morning, the outer garments were again put on over it.
In modern usage, the nightshirt usually functions as an alternative to other specialized sleepwear, such as pajamas, in that it is removed after arising and put away for use during the next sleeping period. It may also be used in private and intimate settings as comfortable attire for relaxation. As a sleep or lounge garment, it has the convenience of being a single piece, and provides a degree of warmth and a moderate degree of modesty for the wearer.
A skin-tight variation of the nightshirt has seen an increased popularity in certain nightclubs and raves.
nightshirt in Czech: Noční košile
nightshirt in French: Chemise de nuit
nightshirt in Dutch: Nachthemd
nightshirt in Portuguese: Camisola
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