I had our administrative assistant at work metaphorically rolling around on the ground laughing last week.  I made the mistake of saying that I needed to wear “pants with pockets” for a work task requiring a microphone with a battery pack; of course in her English way “pants” is underwear and the idea of them having pockets was apparently quite funny.   I just cannot seem to remember to say “trousers.”  I don’t get into trouble with “knickers” since I would be unlikely to use that word in conversation to mean anything but underwear (and I seem to associate the word with a certain Bridget Jones).

My favorite British word for underwear, however, is “smalls.”  As far as I can tell it is used most frequently in the context of laundry–you can buy a “smalls dryer” which is just a hanger with twenty some hooks for grasping individual small items for air-drying.  And unlike “pants” the word has no ambiguity about it; if I told an American I needed to wash my “smalls” they would be completely confounded.


One response to “Underthings

  1. Pingback: Non-British words of the day « Not From Around Here

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