- (dated) underwear (especially, but not always, made of linen); any undergarment.
1914, Mary King Waddington, My First Years As A Frenchwoman, 1876-1879:
- Suddenly she announced her intention of becoming a nun--sold her house and lovely garden, where she had spent so many happy hours with her flowers and her birds, distributed her pretty things among her friends, and accepted all the small trials of strict convent life--no bath, nor mirror, coarse underlinen and sheets--no fire, no lights, no privacy, the regular irksome routine of a nun's life, and is perfectly happy--never misses the intellectual companionship and the refinement and daintiness of her former life,--likes the commonplace routine of the convent--the books they read to each other in "recreation," simple stories one would hardly give to a child of twelve or fourteen,--the fetes on the "mother's" birthday, when the nuns make a cake and put a wreath of roses on the mother's head.
1886, Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge:
- In an open space before the church walked a woman with her gown-sleeves rolled up so high that the edge of her underlinen was visible, and her skirt tucked up through her pocket hole.
1922, P. G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves:
- He did so, and I commenced to don, "Well, Jeeves," I said, reaching for the underlinen, "here we are again at Brinkley Court in the county of Worcestershire."