Thursday, March 2, 2017

Language of Confusion: Pants

We’re looking at pant, and also pants, because seriously what the hell is up with that? Am I the only one that wonders why the word for the thing you wear on your legs is related to a word for heavy breathing? I am? Oh well, it’s my blog.

Pant showed up in the mid fifteenth century, believed to be from the Old French pantaisier, which basically means pant. It’s believed to come from the Vulgar Latin pantasiare, to struggle with a nightmare. Uh, you breathe heavily during a bad dream I guess? And that word just happens to be from the Greek phantasioun, imaginary, the origin word for phantasm.

Yes, you read right. Pant and phantasm are related. Man, this post couldn’t get any weirder.

Pants showed up in 1840. That’s about it, because it comes from the ridiculous word pantaloons, which actually does have a history. It showed up in the mid seventeenth century where it just meant a kind of tights. Apparently it’s related to a sixteenth century character in an Italian comedy called Pantaloun who wore tight trousers and whose name actually comes from San Pantaleone, a Christian martyr.

Okay, I spoke too soon earlier because seriously. What. The. Hell.



  1. I wondered how we got from pant to pants. Not that those definitions help much.

  2. I want to know why we don't have more clothes named after people.

    Also, I have known people who panted from putting on their pants.
    Which is completely a product of trying to wear pants that were too tight.

  3. I think I need a drink to sort out this one.

  4. Perhaps we should just call them trousers.

  5. And now too tight pants are all people wear. Especially those who have no business being in them.

  6. Well, it doesn't really help with why they are essentially the same word, but I guess that's how it goes sometimes...


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