Definition of pantywaist in English:



North American
  • A feeble or effeminate person.

    • ‘He has devised the word ‘Guardianistas’, for the pantywaists (nervous nellies) who read this paper and have an occasional reservation about American foreign policy.’
    • ‘Then again, it turns out that, as a nation, Sweden could drink any steak-eating New Yorker pantywaist under the table. 46 litres of spirits a year?’
    • ‘Ultimately the little roughneck escapes, and she bonds with the town's nerdy little pantywaist.’
    • ‘Imagine my disgust at having to sit in the dark with ascot-wearing pantywaists who call the movies ‘cinema’ and smoke imported cigarettes.’
    • ‘It's about sushi-gobbling pantywaists in the luxury boxes playing out their fantasies.’


North American
  • [attributive] Effeminate or feeble.

    • ‘Was it not enough that I had to endure 40 hours a week with them in desultory conversations about which books to ‘face out,’ in something defined by that pantywaist word, ‘chat’?’
    • ‘Her pantywaist father denies her nothing.’
    • ‘Just because I like to look at animals doesn't mean I'm some damn pantywaist tree-hugger.’
    • ‘As for violence, though there is tripping in soccer, it is a pantywaist affair when compared to the ruffians of ice hockey or the fearful hitting of pro football.’
    • ‘‘Did that set him off on one of his tirades about machismo, the Right Stuff, and pantywaist New Men?‘she asked scornfully.’


1930s: extended use of the term's literal sense, child's garment consisting of panties attached to a bodice.