1) Someone who beats his wife is a "wifebeater" but this isn't the main definition of the word when used to define an article of clothing.

2) The main definition for Slang Urban purposes A type of sleeveless undershirt, of the kind that used to be worn by almost all men in the 50's. If you watch the HBO Drama The Sopranos, you'll see Tony (the lead character) wearning this type of undershirt.

Also has associations with slovenly, unkempt, sloppy, etc. Someone who just woke up and hasn't combed their hair or washed up and appears at the door in a wifebeater shirt, scratching themselves, is a stereotypical picture that comes to mind.

This sleeveless undershirt with a deep round neck and deep arm openings has acquired the connotation of an article of clothing worn by someone who beats his wife -- perhaps because of the unkempt, slovenly nature of the garment when worn alone on a middle aged man with a gut, sitting in an easy chair, scatching at himself and demanding to be waited upon lest he smack around the person waiting on him.

3) The same shirt, worn as daywear or nightwear by slender young women as a kind of fashion statement. Meg Ryan has worn them in movies, as have other stars/starlets -- not typically worn by a well-endowed woman, it is considered cool for a woman (who can get away with it and looks good) to wear this type of undergarment as an outergarment.

Note: It wouldn't be called a wifebeater when worn by a woman, for obvious reasons. It would just be another instance of a woman wearing typically male clothing and looking better in it than the guy does. ;)
There goes Anthony answering the door in his wifebeater; you'd think with the gut on him that he'd realize it doesn't look good.

"Take that off right now! You look awful; like a wifebeater/gangster or an unkempt homeless person in that greying old sleeveless undershirt!"

She's slender and in good shape; that slightly snug sleeveless undershirt (wifebeater) she's wearing looks great on her.
by WSafirewannabe April 20, 2004
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Top Definition
form fitting white ribbed tank top worn by men; looks good on well-built fellas, pathetic on skinny fellas, and disgusting on fat beer bellied fellas
Brad Pitt looks damn good in a wife beater.
by youri August 02, 2003
A white sleaveles t-shirt also referred to as a muscle shirt or singlet.
Virgil's got his wifebeater on, looks like Helen's gonna get taught a lesson tonight!
by Jason August 14, 2002
A men's sleeveless undershirt.

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.
Jed was a wearing a wifebeater to show off his new tattoos.
by Char August 21, 2004
a very tight, white tank top that is ribbed in texture. this style of shirt is usually found on overweight white guys hailing from the trailer courts. unmistakeable markings of bbq sauce or chew spit on the front and smelling of old style beer and excessive perspiration. the wearer can be found at any type of festival which involves his toothless relatives working the carnival rides.
dude, let's go to the state fair and check out all the trash wearing wife beaters.
by Anonymous July 31, 2003
An a-shirt or tanktop or muscle shirt, sleeveless
I need to wash my wife beater.
by Anonymous April 03, 2003
Colloquial name for Stella Artois lager in England
Coming down the pub for a couple of wife beaters mate?
by markp July 25, 2004
An A formed white, tight, T-Shirt normally produced for men but also worn by women, intended for wear under shirts. Its reputation comes from those wearing the shirts while engaged in domestic violence.
His father was wearing a wifebeater under his favorie shirt.
by Theodore Butler September 27, 2005

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