North American informal
A feeble or effeminate person.
- He has devised the word ‘Guardianistas’, for the pantywaists (nervous nellies) who read this paper and have an occasional reservation about American foreign policy.
- Imagine my disgust at having to sit in the dark with ascot-wearing pantywaists who call the movies ‘cinema’ and smoke imported cigarettes.
- It's about sushi-gobbling pantywaists in the luxury boxes playing out their fantasies.
Effeminate or feeble.
- Was it not enough that I had to endure 40 hours a week with them in desultory conversations about which books to ‘face out,’ in something defined by that pantywaist word, ‘chat’?
- ‘Did that set him off on one of his tirades about machismo, the Right Stuff, and pantywaist New Men?‘she asked scornfully.
- Her pantywaist father denies her nothing.
1930s: extended use of the term's literal sense, 'child's garment consisting of panties attached to a bodice'.
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