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30 / 09 / 2009

PANTS vs TROUSERS-1: meaning and examples

Good morning.

Today and tomorrow we look at another question that we received before summer, but didn't have time to answer until now. This time the question is from Francesca Facchini:

Please can you send something about the difference between pants and trousers (pantalones de mujer y de hombre)? Si en castellano digo "un par de pantalones",  quiero decir dos pantalones. Si quiero uno solo, diré "un pantalon". Is it the same in English? Thanks
-Francesca Facchini

Today we answer the first part of the question: the difference between pants and trousers. The difference is really dialectical. Study the following definitions, marked as standard US and/or standard UK English.

Trousers (UK/US): a piece of clothing that covers the body from the waist down and is divided into two parts to cover each leg separately (pantalones).

Pants (UK): a piece of men's underwear worn under their trousers; also underpants (calzoncillos). The female version would be knickers or panties (bragas).

Pants (US): another word for trousers.

So you see, Pants and Trousers are synonyms, depending on the dialect. And of course, the English-speaking world is very diverse, so you can find exceptions to the tendencies listed above.

Remember too that we have other synonyms like jeans (a type of pants/trousers made out of cotton denim) or slacks (in US English slacks are elegant pants/trousers that are not part of a suit), etc.

Example 1:
I've decided not to wear a suit for the wedding. I bought a nice shirt and some slacks, as well as some new shoes. I don't think the celebration will be too formal, so I think it will be okay to dress more casually.

Example 2:
David. Will you please put on a different pair of trousers! Those ones are so old!

Tomorrow we will finish answering Francesca's question.

I hope everyone has a good day.