It's all pants! The American and British definition of every day words

Because "pants" is such an everyday word, with an everyday meaning for both British and American people - I thought this would be a good comparison to kick off a fun, short series of different words, and how my American friends and I define some particular words differently.

I gathered a few writers from ChicagoNow to provide me their own personal definitions of each word that I gave them. The words I chose were ones which I knew held different meanings for us, and - with us all being writers - there were some amusing answers, and I was given a real insight into how some of my new found friends minds work:

The American definition of pants

Of my nine comrades who took part, all described pants as an item of clothing. The general consensus was: a covering for your legs - most amusing was Jennifer of Life as I see it, with "cankle camouflage".

Meanwhile, Jayme of Life one post at a time, went one step further, and described the verb as: loud breathing. Basically; in America, what we Brits call trousers, are called pants. Simple!


Image courtesy of foto76 /

The British definition of pants

Oh, this causes much confusion. I was overheard at the park last week telling Mini Madam that it wasn't appropriate to flash her pants. The lady didn't say anything but she was giving me a pretty peculiar look. Okay that tends to happen as soon as I open my mouth these days. Probably because they're not expecting me to sound like I do when my mouth opens, and the speech begins to emerge.

On this day, though, I could see the cogs turning, as this other mom processed that I was telling my daughter it's not okay to show off her pants - when she was wearing a dress.

Pants. Knickers. Panties. These are all words I use to discuss Mini Madam's undergarments with her - but mostly we settle on the word pants.

I'm pretty sure we should probably start explaining to her that trousers are called pants here. Otherwise it could cause some confusion (and potentional embarrassment) when she has gym class at school, and the teacher tells her to take her pants off...


Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti /

NB! Those pants in the picture aren't Mini Madam's (or mine for that matter) - we have a preference for a little more coverage! I'd like that figure though, so if anybody can provide any useful tips - it would be appreciated!


Coming soon on EPM... we carry on our journey discussing words and meanings. This time we will discuss: Jelly! Feel free to leave a comment with your own definition of 'jelly' for a chance to be featured!



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