One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Breeches, trousers, or gaiters.
- ‘Even the low-minded costermonger, to whom ‘wellingtons’ are objects of contempt and derision, and who laughs to scorn galligaskins and knickerbockers, evinces the national tendency for leather by stipulating for ‘anklejacks’ with ‘tongues’ ample enough to overlap the lacings by at least three inches.’
- ‘This definition for ‘hose’ on this site says that ‘men [wore] hose in two parts… The upper hose have a number of fashionable variations including French ‘round’ hose, trunk hose, slops, venetians, canions, and galligaskins.’’
- ‘The galligaskins are made of leather, and worn under the irons to preserve the skin’
- ‘On the ivory shelves you see some soft orchid linen galligaskins, some buttercup yellow doeskin galligaskins, some pale celadon silk galligaskins, some deep crimson satin galligaskins, some olive green wool galligaskins, some onyx black velvet galligaskins, some dark umber leather galligaskins and some bright cyan twill galligaskins.’
- ‘With this imagination he came to Sancho; having first taken Rozinante's reins, and so fitted them that he might lash him with them, he began to untruss his points: the opinion is, that he had but one before, which held up his galligaskins.’
Late 16th century: perhaps an alteration (influenced by galley and Gascon) of obsolete French gargesque, from Italian grechesca, feminine of grechesco ‘Greek’.
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