Red Shirt

There are a number of different meanings for "RedShirt":

The Star Trek RedShirt

A RedShirt is a StarTrek fans' term for the anonymous member of the party beamed down along with Kirk, Spock etc. His (or her) only role is to get killed off quickly, possibly without uttering a word.

(voice from off-stage) Captain, I found something. AAAUUUGGH! (One dead red-shirted crewmen found shortly after)

Didn't you know that the Enterprise security officer's uniform has a bull's-eye on the back?

One of the more frequent RedShirts was a stuntman/actor named Eddie Paskey who was roughly the same shape and size as WilliamShatner. When he wasn't getting killed repeatedly, he would stand-in for Shatner and do most of the stunts.

Classic email sig: "You with the red shirt, go see what that noise is."

AKA: Ensign Ricky: The Name given to any "Nobody" on StarTrek. Originated from the TV Show FamilyGuy?.

Captain Kirk: "Alright, men. This is a dangerous mission, and it's likely one of us will be killed. The landing party will consist of myself, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Ensign Rickey." Ensign Rickey: "Awww crap!"

Ricky as in DesiLu?

Also Known As: Crewman Newman. Good for exactly one episode, during which he dies a horrid death that could have been <gasp!> Bones, Spock, or Kirk. Never seen in any other episode before this one. Obviously, never seen again.


One of the amusing things about StarTrekTheNextGeneration is that it was the command staff (Captain Picard, Cmdr. Riker, etc.) who wore the red uniforms. The unlucky color in TNG was the yellow uniforms that the security staff wore.

See also GalaxyQuest


The American School Sports RedShirt

Also used in college or high school sports when a player sits out for a while. Athletes normally have four years of eligibility to participate in sports; however a player can participate (practice, etc., but not play) for a fifth year--a player who does that is considered to be redshirting. (Such players used to wear red uniforms in practice, apparently). Sometimes done when a player is injured early in the year; or for incoming freshmen who need (in the coaches view) a year of experience before being ready to play competitively. See AmericanCollegeAthletics

The story I always heard is that the term comes specifically from American collegiate football. Originally, only the "medical redshirt" (which still exists) was legal: if a collegiate football player was hurt before the nth game of a season, that athlete was allowed to sit out the season without losing a year of eligibility. When the player healed enough to practice again, he could, but could not compete in any games. The injured player would typically wear a red jersey during practice to remind the other players they couldn't make full-contact hits on him due to his injury; hence the 'red shirt' player. The voluntary redshirt came around a bit later.

The U.S. Navy RedShirt

On the deck of a US aircraft carrier (such as the USS Enterprise), flight deck crews wear uniforms color-coded to their job function. Those who handle ordnance wear red, so Redshirts on the Enterprise are the guys who are carrying 2,000-lb bombs verry carrefully. Keep in mind that all deck crew jobs (not just Redshirts) are considered some of the most dangerous in the Navy, certainly more dangerous than actually flying the planes.

I'm more impressed that they can carry 2,000lb at all. What are they feeding those guys?

They say the Navy has the best food in the armed forces. Seriously though, they've got special equipment for this.

What, like really immense frying-pans?

"Maybe they have Don Prudhomme?" "No Paul Prudhomme with the nitro-burning prawns"

Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus

Members of this secret order are known as 'redshirts'

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