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Women's undergarments

In the English speaking world, in particular United Kingdom, Ireland, some Commonwealth countries, and increasingly in United States, knickers is a word that is used to describe women's and men's underpants and undergarments, women's lingerie, and for sports pants sportswear. In the United States it is also used as a short form for Knickerbockers, a type of golfing pants, also called Plus fours.

The word carries a naughty or playful connotation, which keeps it in use in the media. The word has entered the English language in many ways. The phrase 'Knickers to you' has evolved into a favourite way of telling someone that one doesn't care about them or their opinion. The phrase 'Don't get your Knickers in a twist' is in common usage, as a way of telling someone to 'calm down' and 'don't get angry'. The phrase 'Fur coat and no knickers' describes a woman who looks rich and glamorous, but is in fact not so classy -- as evidenced by her inability to afford undergarments. 'Oh Knickers' is a favourite expletive, which is used when something has gone wrong. French knickers describe a loose fitting boxer like underpants, which may be made of silk or satin, typically with a lace trim.

In older usage knickers referred to men's garments such as knickerbockers, also known as plus twos or plus fours in British English.[1] The term knickerbockers has become historic in British English but is used in North America.[2][3] The term "knickers" is still used to refer to knickerbockers in American English. However, the adoption of the term "knickers" to denote a women's undergarment in British English has caused the expression, along with "knickerbockers" to become historic.

George Cruikshank, whose illustrations are classic icons for Charles Dickens's works, also did the illustrations for Washington Irving's droll History of New York (published in 1809) when it was published in London. He showed the old-time Knickerbockers, Irving's fictitious Dutch colonial family, in their loose knee-length Dutch breeches. By 1859 relatively short loose ladies' undergarments, a kind of abbreviated version of pantalettes or pantaloons, were known as "knickers" in England, but this is often used as a general term for all women's underwear. There are now many names for women's undergarments that are sometimes called knickers, such as panties, thongs, g-strings, briefs, shorts, tangas and others.

Contents

Other use

Knickers was also an early English term for toy marbles. It is etymologically related to the surname Knickerbocker (marble baker)[4] .

References

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 6th Ed., Oxford University Press, 2007

  • Roetzel, Bernhard: Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion. Könemann; Königswinter, 2004. ISBN 3-8331-1061-9

See also

References

  1. ^ Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 6th Ed., Oxford University Press, 2007
  2. ^ Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 6th Ed., Oxford University Press, 2007
  3. ^ Roetzel, Bernhard: Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion. Könemann; Königswinter, 2004. ISBN 3-8331-1061-9
  4. ^ Origin of the Game of Marbles







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