Interested in Language
I'd like to check how particular words for underwear work in British and American English. Can you take a look if this is right:
(under)pants - used for men only?
knickers - women
briefs - men and women
undies - is it common at all in BrE?
underpants - men and women
panties - women
undies - women
Just one thing about briefs then - are they the high-cut ones?
For me, it's a rather old-fashioned word and I think a lot of clothes shops are moving away from the word.
For info, "thongs" in Australian English are "flip flops" in BrE. That one can get very confusing!
I agree that "underpants" is a unisex term and that "undies" is as well. The latter is informal, as in "Get your dirty undies off the floor, I'm not your maid!"
I should have added to the BrE bit that "undies" can also be an all-encompassing word for general underwear (knickers, bras, socks even).
When I write a list of things to pack for a holiday, I usually write "Undies" at the top and that way I remember everything underwear-related.
However, if someone said to me "Hey. Guess what! I'm not wearing any undies!!!" I would assume they meant knickers, not that they weren't wearing knickers or a bra or socks.
Longman wasn't really convincing with its strict division:
1 British English a short piece of underwear worn by men under their trousers
2 American English a short piece of underwear worn under trousers by men or women
Last edited by nyota; 15-Nov-2011 at 21:24.