The plural form of the word was first used in 1843 in the United States. Levi Strauss designed a pair of durable work trousers for laborers, complete with copper rivets that reinforced wear-and-tear seams. Eventually, average Janes and Joes adopted jeans, and they became the preferred casual pants for many Americans.
Denim, “a heavy, Z-twist, twill cotton for jeans, overalls, and other work and leisure garments,” derives from the French serge de Nîmes, serge being another twill fabric, “from Nimes,” a town in Southern France.
Pantaloons were associated with Pantaloun, a “silly old man character in Italian comedy who wore tight trousers over his skinny legs.” The character was originally San Panteleone, a Christian martyr and a popular saint in Venice.
The next time someone tells you to do something by the seat of your pants, impress them with the following bit of trivia.
Supposedly, the expression that means “by human instinct” was originally used to refer to pilots who were able to sense the condition of the plane by the engine vibrations they felt through the seat of their pants.
We’re taking suggestions for other articles of clothing you would like to learn about. For example, why does a brassiere (the women’s undergarment), sound so much like a brazier (a metal receptacle for holding live coals or other fuel, as for heating a room)? Let us know what you would like to know.
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