Definition of pants in US English:

pants

plural noun

  • 1North American Trousers.

    ‘baggy corduroy pants’
    ‘his pant leg’
    • ‘He slipped into a pair of dark blue trousers, but the pants were new and the tail opening was tighter than he was comfortable with.’
    • ‘The shirts tucked into tight, ebony brown rawhide pants, trousers designed to keep the warmth in and the cold out.’
    • ‘We were both wearing quite casual attire - black pants, white shirt, tailored black jackets.’
    • ‘I changed out of my pajama pants and tank top, and into a pair of flared jeans and a blue halter-top, that matched my eyes.’
    • ‘He wore all black by way of a silken shirt, leather pants and combat boots.’
    • ‘The women that Isis had a glimpse of wore either bell-bottomed trousers, denim pants, or blue jeans.’
    • ‘She's in a white undershirt and black jogging pants and flip-flops.’
    • ‘They wore trousers or pants as opposed to the knee-britches of their social superiors.’
    • ‘Wear a nice pair of classy pants, a matching shirt and elegant shoes, to be on the safe side.’
    • ‘Rachel came to the door in a white tank top shirt and casual jean pants.’
    • ‘He laughed and gestured to his white shirt, smart black pants, black tie and white cloth draped over his arm.’
    • ‘Nearly every other day at school, I wore combat boots, cook pants, a white shirt, suspenders, and a bowler.’
    • ‘I cannot make him change this format, so I decided to buy him some new pants and shirts.’
    • ‘Many Nigerien men wear a flowing, sleeveless brocade gown over a matching shirt and drawstring pants.’
    • ‘She is wearing flannel pajama pants and an old tank top.’
    • ‘Lord I am so grateful for drawstring pants and trousers with elastic.’
    • ‘He wore a skin tight black muscle shirt, thick black jean pants, and gauntlets with open fingers.’
    • ‘The stranger was dressed in a dark fur cloak with dark gray pants and an ash vest with a white short sleeve shirt underneath.’
    • ‘He was a short-framed man, dressed in a dark-green vest and combat pants.’
    • ‘First of all, suspenders should only be worn with dressy pants, not with jeans or khakis.’
  • 2British Underpants.

    • ‘They have reliably informed us that Chris does NOT wear his pants outside his trousers.’
    • ‘Many stores now sell bikinis as separates, so you can buy the pants and bra in different sizes to ensure a perfect fit.’
    • ‘She was dressed in green Marks and Spencer jeans, socks, white bra and black pants.’
    • ‘The chaps Tom and I have styled all bought pants or boxers and vests and have all reported back that they are soft, fit really well and that their women think they look much better.’
    • ‘I was standing in my bra and pants (both white) and a pair of black ankle socks.’
    • ‘Department store Marks & Spencer is launching an underwear range for men featuring thongs and glittery pants.’
    • ‘A 50 year old scientist burnt his private parts whilst using his laptop whilst wearing trousers and pants.’
    underpants, briefs, y-fronts, boxer shorts, boxers, long johns, knickers, french knickers, bikini briefs
    View synonyms
  • 3British informal Rubbish; nonsense.

    ‘he thought we were going to be absolute pants’
    • ‘It's not art - it's pants.’
    • ‘I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunatly, I'd not looked at the opinions of others on Ciao..........boy, do I wish I had! It's pants. It really is a poor program.’
    substandard, poor, inferior, second-rate, second-class, unsatisfactory, inadequate, unacceptable, not up to scratch, not up to par, deficient, imperfect, defective, faulty, shoddy, amateurish, careless, negligent
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • catch someone with their pants (or trousers) down

    • informal Catch someone in an embarrassingly unprepared state.

      • ‘In Australia we were caught with our pants down when our nurses began to strike.’
      • ‘Arrogance and complacency has cost them dearly as the market has moved on and they have been caught with their pants down.’
      • ‘I could not believe the irony of the fact that for our one and only sighting of this most secretive of creatures I had been caught with my pants down, both metaphorically and literally speaking.’
      • ‘I mean, I knew the guy was a rotten apple, I knew what he was up to, and he still managed to catch me with my pants down because I simply didn't pay attention at the right time… ah, figuratively speaking, of course.’
  • fly (or drive) by the seat of one's pants

    • informal Rely on instinct rather than logic or knowledge.

      • ‘After finding fame and success you can't just fly by the seat of your pants (when it comes to creativity).’
      • ‘Many students in the WPI sections I've taught seemed to be flying by the seat of their pants all semester.’
      • ‘Sometimes I feel as if I fly by the seat of my pants when I'm trying to write a chapter.’
      • ‘Be prepared and don't fly by the seat of your pants.’
      • ‘Well, ‘something came up’ and they didn't show up, so I was stuck with teaching it, trying to fly by the seat of my pants.’
  • scare (or bore etc.) the pants off someone

    • informal Make someone extremely scared (or bored etc.).

      • ‘There is a class of person who delights in trying to scare the pants off you with appalling tales of child-rearing horror.’
      • ‘It's a fine line between motivating people to stop smoking and scaring the pants off them.’
      • ‘[It has] dialogue to bore the pants off you even if the play were not stretched out beyond endurance.’
      • ‘I promise not to bore the pants off you with my holiday snaps when I come back.’
      • ‘If there is one category of horror movies that scares the pants off me, it's zombies, and this remake certainly got me jumping and twitching in my seat.’
  • wear the pants

    • informal Be the dominant partner in a relationship.

      ‘there's no doubt who'll wear the pants in that house’
      • ‘Does he lose his sense of power if he doesn't wear the pants in the family?’
      • ‘Despite what Caz might say, the fact is that I wear the pants in our little family.’
      • ‘David wondered vaguely why she got to wear the pants.’
      • ‘Life is indeed a downhill ride for Khasi men from the day they are born, shackled as they are to the matriarchal system where the females wear the pants in the family and males are psychologically emasculated.’
      • ‘And she knows to keep her mouth shut if she doesn't want to get belted. I wear the pants in my family.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: abbreviation of pantaloons (see pantaloon).

Pronunciation

pants

/pan(t)s//pæn(t)s/