clothing worn next to the skin under outer clothes.

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. 2019

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



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