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pants

[pants]
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noun (used with a plural verb)
  1. trousers(def 1).
  2. underpants, especially for women and children; panties.
  3. British. men's underpants, especially long drawers.
Idioms
  1. wear the pants, to have the dominant role; be in charge: I guess we know who wears the pants in that family.

Origin of pants

1830–40; short for pantaloons
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for wear the pants

pants

pl n
  1. British an undergarment reaching from the waist to the thighs or knees
  2. Also called: trousers a garment shaped to cover the body from the waist to the ankles or knees with separate tube-shaped sections for both legs
  3. bore the pants off informal to bore extremely
  4. scare the pants off informal to scare extremely
adjective
  1. British slang inferior

Word Origin

C19: shortened from pantaloons; see pantaloon
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

Word Origin and History for wear the pants

pants

n.

trousers, 1840, see pantaloons. Colloquial singular pant is attested from 1893. To wear the pants "be the dominant member of a household" is first attested 1931. To do something by the seat of (one's) pants "by human instinct" is from 1942, originally of pilots, perhaps with some notion of being able to sense the condition and situation of the plane by engine vibrations, etc. To be caught with (one's) pants down "discovered in an embarrassing condition" is from 1932.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wear the pants

wear the pants

Exercise controlling authority in a household, as in Grandma wears the pants at our house. This idiom, generally applied to women and dating from the mid-1500s, a time when they wore only skirts, equates pants with an authoritative and properly masculine role. Originally put as wear the breeches, it remains in use despite current fashions.

In addition to the idiom beginning with pants

, also see

.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.