Definition of trousers in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtraʊzəz/
(also a pair of trousers)

plural noun

An outer garment covering the body from the waist to the ankles, with a separate part for each leg.
Example sentences
  • But weeks later, a package arrived direct from the designer containing two pairs of trousers, two shirts, dress shoes, trainers and a belt.
  • The ordinary clothing of Afghani men is a rather baggy pair of trousers with a draw-string at the waist, and a loose, long-sleeved shirt reaching about to the knees.
  • Many men had suits made to measure with two pairs of trousers as the coats and waistcoats usually outlasted one pair of trousers.
North American  pants
British informal trews, strides, kecks
Australian informal daks
Australian & South African informal rammies
dated reach-me-downs, unmentionables



catch someone with their trousers down


wear the trousers

informal Be the dominant partner in a relationship: there’s no doubt who’ll wear the trousers in that house
More example sentences
  • IT'S astonishing how many men like to pretend we wear the trousers in our relationships when, deep down, we know we don't.
  • I wear the trousers in this relationship and I always will.
  • Mia liked to wear the trousers in their relationship.



Example sentences
  • As one would expect from his earlier dramatic studies of Berlin and New York, his bumper book of Shanghai is neither the work of a ragged trousered philanthropist, nor easy reading for the rabid metropolitan booster.
  • Robson indicates a trousered leg: ‘I've got terrific knees, ankles and hips - no arthritis.’
  • He moved back close to me and started stroking my trousered thigh up and down, up and down, gently, absent-mindedly.


Early 17th century: from archaic trouse (singular) from Irish triús and Scottish Gaelic triubhas (see trews), on the pattern of drawers.

  • Scottish Highlanders and Irishmen once wore a trouse or trouses, a kind of knee-length shorts whose name came from Irish triús or Scottish Gaelic triubhas. The same words gave us trews (mid 16th century), once similar to the trouse but now close-fitting tartan trousers as worn by some Scottish regiments. In the early 17th century people started calling the trouse trousers, on the analogy of drawers (probably from their being things that you pull or draw on). Until the end of the 18th century men in Europe wore tight breeches—looser trousers were adopted by the working classes during the French Revolution, and the style imported to Britain by dandies like Beau Brummell. The dominant member of a married couple wears the trousers now, and has done since the 1930s, but long before that the phrase was wear the breeches, recorded from the 16th century. See also pants, tweezers

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: trou|sers

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