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[nik-er-bok-er] /ˈnɪk ərˌbɒk ər/
a descendant of the Dutch settlers of New York.
any New Yorker.
Origin of Knickerbocker
1800-10, Americanism; generalized from Diedrich Knickerbocker, fictitious author of Washington Irving's History of New York


[nik-erz] /ˈnɪk ərz/
noun, (used with a plural verb)
Also, knickerbockers
[nik-er-bok-erz] /ˈnɪk ərˌbɒk ərz/ (Show IPA)
. loose-fitting short trousers gathered in at the knees.
Chiefly British.
  1. a bloomerslike undergarment worn by women.
  2. panties.
British Informal. a woman's or girl's short-legged underpants.
to get one's knickers in a twist, British Slang. to get flustered or agitated:
Don't get your knickers in a twist every time the telephone rings.
1880-85; shortened form of knickerbockers, plural of knickerbocker, special use of Knickerbocker Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for knickerbockers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Time to go," said Philip, still in his tall silk hat and his knickerbockers.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • "Most unpleasant for the Englishman," growls the man in knickerbockers.

  • "What a beastly mess," rubbing the cobwebs off his hands on to his knickerbockers.

    Hunter's Marjory Margaret Bruce Clarke
  • In a grey Norfolk suit, with knickerbockers, and a soft felt hat.

    The Shrieking Pit Arthur J. Rees
  • Stockings, knickerbockers, and blouse were drawn on with unwonted rapidity.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely
  • Such families are to those cities what the knickerbockers are to New York.

    The Land We Live In

    Henry Mann
  • Bacon is the fellow in knickerbockers; just wish you could see what stout legs he's got!

    Jack and Jill Louisa May Alcott
  • She does not say that the skirt and knickerbockers were made of the same kind of stuff.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
  • What she does say is that the skirt and knickerbockers were made of the same stuff.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
British Dictionary definitions for knickerbockers


plural noun
baggy breeches fastened with a band at the knee or above the ankle Also called (US) knickers
Word Origin
C19: regarded as the traditional dress of the Dutch settlers in America; see Knickerbocker


noun (US)
a descendant of the original Dutch settlers of New York
an inhabitant of New York
Word Origin
C19: named after Diedrich Knickerbocker, fictitious Dutchman alleged to be the author of Washington Irving's History of New York (1809)


plural noun
an undergarment for women covering the lower trunk and sometimes the thighs and having separate legs or leg-holes
a US variant of knickerbockers
(slang) get one's knickers in a twist, to become agitated, flustered, or upset
Word Origin
C19: contraction of knickerbockers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for knickerbockers


"descendant of Dutch settlers of New York," 1831, from Diedrich Knickerbocker, the name under which Washington Irving published his popular "History of New York" (1809). The pen-name was borrowed from Irving's friend Herman Knickerbocker, and literally means "toy marble-baker."



"short, loose-fitting undergarment," now usually for women but not originally so, 1866, shortening of knickerbockers (1859), said to be so called for their resemblance to the trousers of old-time Dutchmen in Cruikshank's illustrations for Washington Irving's "History of New York" (see knickerbocker).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for knickerbockers


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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