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Thread: Wife-beater shirt... ?

  1. #1
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    Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Wife-beater shirt.

    Is it slang, and can it be used in adverts (paper, TV, ...?). Who might be using it? Teenagers? Is it used ironically or seriously? I don't quite understand who is likely to use it in the English-speaking communities and in what types of speech this can occur?

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    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    no idea what you're talking about. Did you see this, read this? Is it a shirt with the words "wife beater" written on it???
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Wife-beater: this dates from the movie with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1951. Stan (Brando), a violent character, wears this type of undershirt. And so it became known as a wife-beater.

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    But is it ok to call it (майку) a wife-beater, or there's another, nicer word?

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    If a person simply said undershirt, others would think either of this shirt, or the T-shirt, (or both).
    From Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeveless_shirt and http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%...6%D0%B4%D0%B0)...
    "A-shirt

    The etymology of the term "A-shirt," which is preferred by manufacturers, is uncertain. Some claim that it is short for "athletic shirt" because it is often worn in sports, such as basketball and track-and-field events, while others say that it refers to the "A" shape when laid out flat (compare the origin of the word "T-shirt"). In America, it is also known colloquially as a wife beater, Guinea tee or Dago tee (from guinea and dago, ethnic slurs against Italians).[citation needed] In British English, the A-shirt is known as a vest.[1] ((cf.) American usage of vest) In India it is referred to as Baniyan, Bandi In Scots vernacular it is referred to as a semmit,[2] and as a singlet in Australia and New Zealand. In Colombia it’s known as a "busca pleitos" meaning trouble seeker, in reference to its usage by violent individuals. In Spain they used to be called "camiseta imperio" (Imperial t-shirt). In the former Soviet Union it’s known as "alkogolichka" (alcoholic) as it's often worn by alcoholics[3]. In addition to athletic usage, A-shirts have traditionally been used as undershirts, especially with suits and dress shirts."

    I did not know any of the other things, only the wife-beater reference from Streetcar Named Desire, that they don't list here.

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    I would say it is a slight Americanism. I've never heard it used in the UK and I personally strongly dislike the word, even though it is technically correct. If you want something less violent, "vest" is a decent alternative.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    I never use the term myself, it's offensive. The term was simply in memory from movie trivia. It will probably fade into history, that's my guess.

  8. #8
    Hanna
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    I have never even heard it. It's definitely American and probably not even common there...

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    But is it ok to call it (майку) a wife-beater, or there's another, nicer word?
    if you walked into a store and asked for a wife beater shirt they'd probably call the police. Seriously, no one would have the slightest idea what you're talking about.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  10. #10
    Hanna
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    You do not need to use that word and the source it came from is not up-to-date.

    Use instead:

    VEST
    (=what men wear under a shirt...)




    T-SHIRT

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    I've never heard it called a "vest" only a TANK or Tank Top
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  12. #12
    Hanna
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    We are both right! I checked it and:

    This is ANOTHER one of these US/UK differences I didn't know about!




    (We should really do a thread about this; it's much more substantial than I had thought. Here is a SHORT list of this.... (there is much more, and that's excluding slang and expressions) http://www.englishclub.com/vocabular...h-american.htm According to this, vest = undershirt)

    This doesn't matter much unless you LIVE in an English speaking country though. Basically the problem occurs when you have to speak about everyday items (in the supermarket or shopping) and people don't know what you mean.

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    But is it ok to call it (майку) a wife-beater, or there's another, nicer word?
    if you walked into a store and asked for a wife beater shirt they'd probably call the police. Seriously, no one would have the slightest idea what you're talking about.
    I don't know what part of the states you're from but thats all I've ever heard them called ever.

    I guess in stores they would be called under shirts or tank tops or something. But 99% of America would call them wifebeaters, cuz, thats what they are. I for whatever reason someone didn't understand you right away all you would have to say is "Wifebeater shirt" and you'd be understood. If you don't want to call it that then you don't have to, but a lot of people do. Don't say that no one uses it though, because they do.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  14. #14
    Hanna
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Wow, the original poster must be SERIOUSLY confused about this right now..


    To summarise the thread so far:

    In the USA:
    correct word = tank top
    slang = wife beater

    In England and Australia:

    normal word = vest

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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Way to break it down Hanna!

    Good job!
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  16. #16
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    You do not need to use that word and the source it came from is not up-to-date.

    Use instead:

    VEST
    (=what men wear under a shirt...)

    Must be what them brits say. I wouldaf never called that thing a vest. Lol.
    A tank top is more like it. Though that kind of apparel is not my cup of tea, I'm more of a t-shirt guy. Lol

    A wife beater - don't use this word, if you do you're running a risk of raising a few eyebrows around at best. At least in my neck of the woods.
    Aint it a shame you cant say fu_ck?
    Fu_ck is just a word and it's all fu_cked up.

  17. #17
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    if you walked into a store and asked for a wife beater shirt they'd probably call the police. Seriously, no one would have the slightest idea what you're talking about.
    If I walked into a store and asked for a wife beater, they would hand me a mirror right away. Lol
    Aint it a shame you cant say fu_ck?
    Fu_ck is just a word and it's all fu_cked up.

  18. #18
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    If you google picture the words "Wife" and "Beater" you get about 2,000 pictures of people wearing "vests" and only about three pictures of women with black eyes.

    It is an extremely common name for this attire so, just because you don't use it doesn't mean you should discourage others from using it, or at least learning it.
    I personally can't remember ever meeting someone who didn't know what one was, but maybe I've just done a whole lot more traveling than a lot of other people. Not that I go around asking everyone about this shirt, but anyways.

    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  19. #19
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Well, I have it on good authority that out here in the willywags this word isn't used to describe a tank top.
    Of course people can ask in a clothing store for a wifebeater, but the clerk will only shrug his shoulders in bewilderment or say "come again please?"
    I don't aim to discourage anybody from using it. Be my guest.
    Aint it a shame you cant say fu_ck?
    Fu_ck is just a word and it's all fu_cked up.

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Re: Wife-beater shirt... ?

    Maybe because I am female?? But as I've stated before, I've lived on both the East Coast and West Coast, in the North and South and in the MidWest... and I worked in retail clothing for major retail chain... NEVER have I heard it called a wifebeater until this thread!
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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