Lose one’s shirt

Lose one’s shirt is an idiom that dates to the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the idiom lose one’s shirt, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To lose one’s shirt means to lose one’s savings, income, or financial stake. The expression lose one’s shirt describes someone who has lost a great deal, often it describes someone who has lost everything he owns or has gone broke. The expression lose one’s shirt came into use in the 1930s and is probably a description of what happened to many people during the stock market crash in 1929–they lost everything; metaphorically, they even lost the shirts on their backs. Related phrases are loses one’s shirt, lost one’s shirt, losing one’s shirt.

Examples

“I’m not going to lose my shirt over this… I opened my brick and mortar May 6 (2019). (The Mercer Island Reporter)

“How do I handle this as a good wedding vendor, how do I handle this as a good business person and how do I not lose my shirt trying to be good?” Thompson said she’s been asking herself. (The Roanoke Times)

“I lost my shirt doing discounts, and I’m not doing it anymore,” he said, adding that any constable can provide discounts. (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

I got involved in real estate investing over 10 years ago and lost my shirt. (Forbes Magazine)