Definition of knickers in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnikərz/

plural noun

Image of knickers
1 (also knickerbockers) North American Loose-fitting trousers gathered at the knee or calf.
Example sentences
  • The RSS has been advised to switch over to trousers, abandoning its trademark khaki knickers.
2British A woman’s or girl’s underpants.
Example sentences
  • I showered, got changed into my black lacy French knickers and a black vest, had 3 glasses of wine and lay on the bed waiting for him to come home.
  • She greeted me at the door wearing only her bra and knickers, and a seductive smile.
  • She smiled at me and performed a pirouette, her skirt rising up to reveal a flash of white knickers.


get one's knickers in a twist

British informal Become upset or angry.
Example sentences
  • The Tories have really got their knickers in a twist over this.
  • It's been accused of rampant misogyny but the men are so pitiful and the show so unfunny that I won't be getting my knickers in a twist about the sexism.
  • Masts can be disguised or even concealed completely so there is nothing unsightly for members of the local planning committee or Civic Society to get their knickers in a twist about.





Late 19th century (sense 1): abbreviation of knickerbockers (see knickerbocker).

  • A writer for the magazine Queen offered some good advice on warm underwear in 1882: ‘I recommend…flannel knickers in preference to flannel petticoat.’ At that time knickers, then with long legs, were becoming part of every woman's wardrobe and part of the vocabulary. The word, originally meaning ‘short trousers’, comes from an abbreviation of knickerbockers (mid 19th century). The use of knickerbockers for loose-fitting breeches arose from the knee breeches worn by Dutch men in Cruikshank's illustrations to Washington Irving's History of New York (1809), which was supposedly by ‘Dietrich Knickerbocker’. By the 1970s somebody who was becoming upset and angry might be warned against getting their knickers in a twist.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: knick·ers

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