Fly (clothing): Wikis


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Closed fly on a pair of jeans

A fly on clothing is a covering over an opening join concealing the mechanism, such as a zip, velcro or buttons used to join the opening. The term is most frequently applied to a short opening in trousers, shorts and other garments covering the groin, and to allow garments to be taken on and off with greater ease, and for convenience at urinals. The term is also used of overcoats, where a design of the same shape is used to hide a row of buttons. This style is common on a wide range of coats, from single-breasted Chesterfields to covert coats.

A fly-fronted paletot coat (1903)

An open fly refers to the unintentional leaving of one's fly unzipped or unbuttoned. It is often considered humorous if a person is caught with his or her fly down. However, the situation is not always seen as embarrassing. Winston Churchill, while at a public function, was handed a note reading "your fly is unbuttoned." Churchill scrawled on the note returning it as "dead birds do not drop out of nests."[1]

Trousers have varied historically in whether or not they have flies. Originally, hose did not cover between the legs, which was hidden by a codpiece, and when breeches were worn, for example in the Regency period, they were fall-fronted (or broad fall). After trousers (pantaloons) were later invented later the fly-front (split fall) emerged. Later[2] the panelled front returned as a sporting option, such as in riding breeches, but is now hardly used, flies being by far the most common fastening. Most flies now use a zip, though enthusiasts continue to wear button flies.



An open fly on a pair of blue jeans.

Warning a man that his flies are undone may be considered socially delicate. Therefore, a number of euphemistic ways of alerting someone to an open fly are used. In English-speaking countries, often a subtle "your fly is open" or "your zipper is down" suffices, however there are many euphemisms in different countries indicating a local cultural suitability.


  • "The flies are bad around here".


  • "Your Shih-Men Reservoir is not closed".


In Danish, common phrases are:

  • "Watch out for the birds" (referring to birds eating worms).
  • "Tivoli/The circus tent is open"
  • "You forgot to lock up the livestock"


It is common in Flanders to use the expression "Watch out that your bird doesn't fly off".


In Finnish someone would say "Hevoset karkaa", which translates to "Your horses are running away". This is commonly used. If Finnish people tend to be outspoken they prefer to just state that "Sulla on sepalus auki" ("Your fly is open.")


In France, the phrases "Seems like today is open day" and "It's pay day" are commonly used.


In Egypt, the phrase "The Ahly Bank is open." Ahly Bank being the largest bank in Egypt.

Germany / Switzerland

In German, some would say "Dein/Ihr Hosenstall ist offen", roughly translating to: "Your trousers-stable / trousers-stall door is ajar"


Commonly used in Greece is the phrase, "Markets are wide open today".


In India people say "your post office is open".


In Ireland people use the phrase "taking the old twig an berrys for a stroll aye".


In Hebrew you would say "Your beer store is open" or "Your market is open".


In Korea, the phrase "South Gate (Nam Dae Moon)" is commonly used.
The phrase refers to the southern most gate in the wall that encircled the old capital.


In Mexico some people use to say: "Tienes la cantina abierta" (your bar is opened) or "Se te sale el pajarito" (your little bird is getting out). In some regions, kids learn in school a few word games for letting people know that their fly is open. One of them involves using rhyming key words for the word zipper (bragueta). A kid/person would ask a question using a key word, like galleta (cookie) or zeta, if the other person understands the hint then he/she just zips up, if not then a straight-out phrase indicating the openness of the fly follows. The most common example of this is: ¿Quieres galleta?.... abrochate la bragueta (Would you like a cookie? Do up your fly).


"I see the market is also open on Sundays..." is a commonly used phrase in Myanmar and Vietnam.[citation needed]


"Butikken er åpen" means "the shop is open"


In Poland, "Winda Ci zjechała", which literally means "Your elevator went down", is a commonly used phrase.


Like in other countries, the "Your shop is open" line is often used, and sometimes "What are you selling?".


In Russia, boys start counting "one, two, three..." until the one with his fly open realizes what's going on.[citation needed]


In Slovenia it's common to say "Your shop is open".

South America

In Argentina, common phrases are:

  • "¿Dejaste la carpa abierta?" (Did you leave the tent open?)
  • "¿Está abierta la farmacia?" (Is the pharmacy open?)

In Peru, a common phrase is, "Tu botica está abierta".

In Brazil, a common phrase is, "Seu passarinho vai fugir". (Your bird is going to fly away.)

In Venezuela, a common phrase is, "Jaula abierta pajaro manso". (Open cage, tame bird - this is a play on words; "pajaro" is slang for penis.)


In Spanish, whoever points it out would use euphemisms like:

  • "¡Una avioneta! ¡Una avioneta!" (A little plane! A little plane!)
  • "Llevas la farmacia abierta" (You're wearing an open pharmacy)
  • "Que se te escapa el pajarito" (Your little bird is going to escape)
  • The typical "¡Arriba España!".[citation needed]


In Sweden it's common to ask "Have you been to a girlparty?".


In Lebanon and Turkey, a phrase meaning, "Your market is open" is commonly used.

United Kingdom

  • "You're flying low" - this is also used in New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
  • "The office door's open" / "Your barracks door is open".
  • "You're flying without a licence"

United States

  • The abbreviation XYZ is also used to subtly remind the wearer to "eXamine Your Zipper." A longer variant is XYZABC ("eXamine Your Zipper, And Be Careful!"). Yet another is XYZPDQ. (eXamine Your Zipper Pretty Darn Quick!)
  • "Are you afraid of heights? 'Cause your fly is..."
  • "Your barn door is open"
  • "Your cow is getting out of the barn"
  • "Isn't it a little cold in here for air conditioning?"


  1. ^ Churchill
  2. ^ Croonborg, Frederick: The Blue Book of Men's Tailoring. Croonborg Sartorial Co. New York and Chicago, 1907. p. 123

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