[ pants ]
/ pænts /
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noun (used with a plural verb)
underpants, especially for women and children; panties.
British. men's underpants, especially long drawers.
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Idioms about pants

    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. 2023


What is a basic definition of pants?

Pants are an article of clothing that extends from the waist to around the ankles and fits around each leg.

Also known as trousers, pants are worn by people of all genders and ages. As opposed to a dress or a skirt, pants are divided down the middle and have openings for each leg. The fabric of pants wrap around each leg and usually extends to the ankles or at least past the knees.

A single item of this clothing is called “a pair of pants” and multiple items are called “pairs of pants.” This article of clothing is never referred to as a “pant.”

Pants is a general term for this type of clothing and is further divided into other specific kinds of pants, depending on fabric and cut. Jeans are pants made out of denim or corduroy, while leggings are close-fitting pants, often made out of a stretchy material like spandex.

An article of clothing that is identical to pants but stops at or before the knee is referred to as a pair of shorts.

  • Used in a sentence: She bought three new pairs of pants to wear with her new sweater. 

Among British English speakers, trousers is used to describe this article of clothing. Pants is used specifically to refer to undergarments, especially long drawers worn by men.

Where does pants come from?

The first records of pants come from the 1830s. It is a shortening of the older word pantaloons, which refers to a men’s close-fitting garment worn around the legs, especially popular in the 19th century.

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What are some synonyms for pants?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pants

What are some words that often get used in discussing pants?

How is pants used in real life?

Pants is an extremely common word to refer to a very common article of clothing.

Try using pants!

True or False?

The fabric of pants stops above the knee.

How to use pants in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pants

/ (pænts) /

pl n
British an undergarment reaching from the waist to the thighs or knees
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
bore the pants off informal to bore extremely
scare the pants off informal to scare extremely
British slang inferior

Word Origin for pants

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pants


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