gregory23b wrote:I hear similar things about the word 'shift' but need to do more research before I kill that bovine.
Edit - a cursory look at the ME dictionary, shows smock and shirt to be the words.
But something is niggling me re 'shift' as possibly being a later term, in the ME dictionary it seems loosely linked with 'smock' but I can;t find the actual entry where the words shift and smock are together, someone else might enlighten us.
The OED definitions are follows sorry its so verbose
10. a. A body-garment of linen, cotton, or the like; in early use applied indifferently to men's and women's underclothing; subsequently, a woman's ‘smock’ or chemise. Now chiefly N. Amer.
In the 17th c. smock began to be displaced by shift as a more ‘delicate’ expression; in the 19th c. the latter, from the same motive, gave place to chemise.
1598 B. JONSON Ev. Man in Hum. I. i, I haue knowne some of them, that haue..at length bene glad for a shift (though no cleane shift) to lye a whole winter in halfe a sheete.
1648 WINYARD Midsummer-Moon 4 Is the University Pim'd, and therefore must change shifts, or are men turnd out..for being scabby?
1691 D'Emilianne's Frauds Rom. Monks 96 They are stript stark Naked in another [room], without suffering them so much as to keep on their Shifts.
1712 ADDISON Spect. No. 367 5 A Lady's Shift may be metamorphosed into Billet-doux.
1756 F. BROOKE Old Maid No. 34. 204 But remember that Julia and Rosara..fail not to bring with them checqu'd shifts to appear in at church.
1. a. A woman's undergarment; a shift or chemise. Now arch. or dial. (common down to 18th cent.).
For the use as a plant-name see LADY-SMOCK.
a1000 in Wr.-Wülcker 210 Colobium.., loa, hom, uel smoc, mentel.
c1000 ÆLFRIC Gloss. Ibid. 125 Colobium, smoc, uel syrc.
c1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 163 Hire chemise [is] smal and hwit,..and hire smoc hwit.
c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 182 Are hire smok were of i-nome. a1320 Sir Tristrem 1788 our smock was solwy to sen, Bi mark o e schuld ly.
c1386 CHAUCER Miller's T. 52 Whit was hir smok, and browdid al byfore And eek byhynde on hir coler aboute.
c1425 LYDG. Assembly of Gods 377 A smokke was her wede, garnysshyd curyously.
1483 CAXTON Gold. Leg. 371/1 He..wold not relece hir obedyence tyl that she was despoyled to hir smocke.
1559 W. CUNINGHAM Cosmogr. Glasse 173 Their shirtes and smokes are saffroned.
1591 GREENE Farew. Follie Wks. (Grosart) IX. 316 Shee..standing in hir smocke by the bed side.
1650 BULWER Anthropomet. 200 The women..weare but three cubits of cloth in their smocks.
1674 tr. Scheffer's Lapland xvii. 89 The use of smocks is no more known among women than the use of shirts among men.
1735 POPE Ep. Lady 24 Agrees as ill..As Sappho's di'monds with her dirty smock.
1837 BARHAM Ingol. Leg. Ser. I. Look at the Clock, You may sell my chemise (Mrs. P. was too well-bred to mention her smock). 1865 KINGSLEY Herew. xv, I would sooner have her in her smock than any other woman with a dower.
1461 Paston Lett. I. 542 Nere is my kyrtyl, but nerre is my smok.
1639 J. CLARKE Parmiologia 254 Neare is my petticoat, but nearer is my smock.
1. a. In early use: a long shirt or shirt-like undergarment worn (esp. by women) for warmth and to protect clothing from sweat; a shift, a smock. Subsequently esp.: a short nightdress or similar item of lingerie (cf. night-chemise n. at NIGHT n. and int. Compounds 3b); a long shirt worn as an overgarment.
eOE Cleopatra Gloss. in W. G. Stryker Lat.-Old Eng. Gloss. in MS Cotton Cleopatra A.III (Ph.D. diss., Stanford Univ.) (1951) 84 Camisa, ham, cemes. OE WÆRFER tr. Gregory Dialogues (Corpus Cambr.) I. ix. 68 He cwæ, æt..full oft butan his kemese [L. sine linea] & eac gelomlice butan his tunecan he eft on hire [sc. his meder] huse cyrde.
a1400 (c1300) in J. Small Eng. Metrical Homilies (1862) 124 His moder dremid..Al the mikel water of temis Rin in the bosem of hir kemes.
?a1400 (a1338) R. MANNYNG Chron. (Petyt 511) (1996) II. l. 2989 In e snowe for syght scho [sc. Matilda] ede out in hir smok; ouere e water of Temse at frosen was with iys, withouten kirtelle or kemse, saue kouerchef, alle bare vis.
a1225 (?a1200) MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 163 Hire chemise smal and hwit..and hire smoc hwit.
1706 C. GILDON Post-boy robb'd of his Mail (ed. 2) II. lxxiv. 455 Hearing you lie without a Shirt, I do the same without a Chemise.