dinner jacket

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Musician Alberto Semprini wearing a dinner jacket


So called because it is worn by men to formal dinners.


dinner jacket (plural dinner jackets)

  1. (especially US) A jacket, often white, corresponding to a tuxedo jacket.
  2. (Britain) The formal suit, typically black, that includes this type of jacket.
    • 1932, Nevil Shute, Lonely Road, Chapter 2,[3]
      [They] sat in a pen in the corner, smoking cigarettes and reading magazines; four or five girls in black silk dresses and the same number of slight effeminate young men in dinner-jackets.
    • 1934, George Orwell, Burmese Days, Chapter 17,[4]
      Mr Lackersteen was even wearing a dinner-jacket—white, because of the season—and was completely sober. The boiled shirt and piqué waistcoat seemed to hold him upright and stiffen his moral fibre like a breastplate.
    • 1971, E. M. Forster, Maurice, Penguin, Chapter 37,[5]
      It was a dinner-jacket evening—not tails, because they would only be three—and though he had respected such niceties for years he found them suddenly ridiculous.


  1. (formal suit): black tie, penguin suit