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Origin of underwear

First recorded in 1870–75; under- + wear
Also called underclothes, underclothing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for underwear

Contemporary Examples of underwear

Historical Examples of underwear

  • The underwear might have been of red gold instead of red flannel.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • She also wore a dark blue skirt and a union suit of underwear.

  • He grimly stripped to underwear and put on the heat-suit from his bag.

    Sand Doom

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • Fur garments and underwear were hanging to the branches of trees.

  • What had she to do with smocked dresses, children's underwear, capes?


    Edna Ferber

British Dictionary definitions for underwear


  1. clothing worn under the outer garments, usually next to the skinAlso called: underclothes
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 underwear

1872, from under + wear (n.). So called because it is worn under one's clothing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper