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See also: wife beater and wife-beater


A wifebeater (sleeveless shirt)

Alternative forms[edit]


From wife +‎ beater. The sleeveless shirt acquired the nickname by association with men who commit domestic violence.[1][2] The lager, being relatively strong, was thought to lead to drunken disputes.


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wifebeater (countable and uncountable, plural wifebeaters)

  1. One who (usually as a repeated practice) beats his wife, or a husband prone to violence.
    • 2020 November 2, “Johnny Depp loses libel case against Sun over claims he beat ex-wife Amber Heard”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Depp, 57, had sued the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article published in the Sun that originally carried the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
  2. (US, colloquial) A type of sleeveless shirt, often but not exclusively worn as an undershirt. [from 1950s]
    • 2018, Raychel Ryder, Haven in the Hood:
      Just then, a tall, lanky white man wearing a sleeveless tee or "wifebeater" as it is often referred to walked around the corner.
  3. (uncountable, UK, colloquial) Stella Artois, a brand of lager beer.
    • 2005, Conrad Williams, London Revenant:
      And then we were walking back alleys, trudging through the drifts of chip papers, the bottles and empty cans of wifebeater []
    • 2011, Pete Brown, Three Sheets to the Wind:
      But Stella shouldn't really be drunk in pints the same way our dads used to drink bitter or mild that was effectively half as strong. Drink Stella in goblets like people do in its native country and, hey presto! It's no longer 'wifebeater'.



See also[edit]