Posted by: Jack Henry | July 26, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Pants

Funny things happen with Editor’s Corner. I never know what kind of response a topic will generate, for example, the term skinny-dipping a couple of weeks ago brought up a discussion of pants. What kind of pants? All kinds of pants! Who knew we had so many terms for underwear and pants styles?

I started out with the undergarments, but I realized I was getting into dangerous territory with the definitions and pictures, so I’m just going to give you the list, minus some of the naughtier terms:

  • bloomers
  • boxers
  • briefs
  • drawers
  • knickers
  • pantaloons
  • skivvies
  • underpants

Now for trousers! You will notice that there are some words we use interchangeably (trousers, pants, and slacks) and their definitions only vary slightly, as do the pictures I found.

breeches:short trousers for covering the hips and thighs that fit snugly around the waist at the top and at the lower edges at or just below the knee (also called knee breeches).

Capris: close-fitting pants that have tapered legs often with a slit on the outside of the leg bottom, extend almost to the ankle, and are used usually for informal wear especially by women.

clamdiggers: pants that reach below the knee or mid-calf [KC – Similar to Capris, but usually a little shorter.].

culottes: a divided skirt also : a garment having a divided skirt [KC – And the first definition?
Hair on the thighs of an animal (as a Pomeranian dog).]

gauchos: wide, calf-length trousers for men or women modeled after the trousers worn by South American gauchos (cowboys).

jeans: hard-wearing trousers made of denim or other cotton fabric, for informal wear.

jodhpur breeches:pants for horseback riding cut full through the hips, close-fitting from knee to ankle, and usually having a strap under the foot.

pants: an outer garment covering each leg separately and usually extending from the waist to the ankle.

short pants: trousers that end at or above the knee.

shorts: knee-length or less than knee-length trousers made in various styles for informal wear or sportswear.

slacks: long pants for casual wear often of a looser cut than suit trousers and with pleats at the waist.

trousers: an outer garment extending from the waist to the ankle or sometimes only to or just below the knee, covering each leg separately, and made close-fitting or loose-fitting in accord with the fashion of different periods; baggy pantaloons worn by both sexes in the Near East.

One other interesting thing about pants, trousers, jodhpurs, breeches, etc. is that these terms are also pluralia tantum, which you will find out more about in my next Editor’s Corner.

Until then, have a great Tuesday!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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