I just saw a sentence:

Men protesting the law were bare from waist up.

I would write it as:

Men protesting the law were bare from above their waist.

How would native speakers say it?

Thank you.

  • 3
    Bare from the waist up, or bare-chested. Sep 12, 2019 at 13:08
  • @MichaelHarvey would you please tell me about "up" here? Is it an adverb meaning "upward"?
    – user100323
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:25
  • 2
    Where did you see the sentence?
    – Lambie
    Sep 12, 2019 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


I think your second sentence is a little confusing, as it is not a standard way to write it so I would assume you are writing it that way in specific, and I would interpret it as more like

Men protesting the law were bare from (some unknown spot) above their waist.

which would leave me a little confused about which part of them is actually bare!

Casually I would use "shirtless" or perhaps "bare-chested". "Bare from the waist up" sounds a little more stiff, like something a reporter would write.

  • 1
    Being "dead from the neck up", and "dead from the waist down" are derogatory things that are said about people, and are not at all "stiff". Sep 12, 2019 at 16:51
  • I actually haven't ever heard those phrases before...that said, I think "bare from the waist up" just sounds stiff to me because I probably would never say that.
    – firedraco
    Sep 12, 2019 at 16:56
  • 1
    "Dead from the neck up" is a way of saying "stupid" or, I suppose, "unimaginative", and "dead from the waist down" means sexually dull. Sep 12, 2019 at 17:34
  • 1
    As a native UK English speaker, I view "Bare from the waist up." as idiomatic. I do agree that for some reason it is rather stilted. Perhaps we need to understand why it is remarkable that men would be partially undressed, and then terms like "shirtless" and "bare-chested" seem to bring more colour. To be shirtless in the dining room? Unthinkable!
    – djna
    Sep 13, 2019 at 3:39
  • I think "Bare from the waist up" makes it clear there is nothing on the top half of the body at all (and seems completely natural as a BrE speaker). 'Bare-chested' could just be a shirt unbuttoned and open at the front. 'Shirtless' could mean they have taken their shirt off, but might still have a vest on (imo)
    – Smock
    Sep 13, 2019 at 11:12

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