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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Waistcoat \Waist"coat\, n. (a) A short, sleeveless coat or garment for men, worn under the coat, extending no lower than the hips, and covering the waist; a vest. (b) A garment occasionally worn by women as a part of fashionable costume. [1913 Webster] Note: The waistcoat was a part of female attire as well as male . . . It was only when the waistcoat was worn without a gown or upper dress that it was considered the mark of a mad or profligate woman. --Nares. [1913 Webster] Syn: See Vest. [1913 Webster]