Definition of knickers in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnɪkəz/

plural noun

1British A woman’s or girl’s undergarment, covering the body from the waist or hips to the top of the thighs and having two holes for the legs.
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.
1.1 [as exclamation] informal Expressing contempt or annoyance: oh, knickers to the lot of them!
Image of knickers
2North American Knickerbockers.
Example sentences
  • The woodcutting on the page showed a young boy in knickers and a waistcoat standing on a hill.
  • Norton was wearing hobnail leather boots, a tweed jacket, wool knickers, and a felt hat.
  • In a white shirt with a dark tie, light gray linen knickers, dark gray socks and brown-and-white golf shoes, he stepped to the side to watch Homans putt from 18 feet for a birdie.


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.





Example sentences
  • On the cover of this month's GQ, Kylie Minogue is pulling up the skirt of her tennis dress, recreating the famous knickerless Athena player who used to adorn so many bedsit walls.
  • I have no shame - I go knickerless with dresses all the time, and the breeze is welcome on a hot day.
  • According to advance word, Sharon Stone will again be going knickerless for her role in Basic Instinct 2.


Late 19th century (in the sense 'short trousers'): 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

Line breaks: knick|ers

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