it can be used as an insult ' shut up, you, are a wife beater'
it can be a vest, commonly worn amongst wife beaters, which is were the name originated from.
or it can mean an actually wife beater, sleezy characters, slaptheir wife's about.
giz a wife beater
hey shit face, hey wife beater
hey, nice wife beater
I think the TV show "COPS" had a lot do with the creation of this word. Every time they showed a guy getting arrested for beating his wife he was wearing one of those sleeveless undershirts.