AskDefine | Define panties

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  1. Plural of panty
  2. Short underpants for women or girls.



short underpants for women or girls

Extensive Definition

Panties (in the USA and Canada) or knickers (in the UK and Commonwealth) are a form of underwear, usually light and snug-fitting, designed to be worn by women or girls in the area directly below the waist. Typical components include a waistband (often elastic), a crotch to cover the genital area (usually lined with absorbent material such as cotton), and a pair of leg openings (also often elastic). They have either no legs or in some cases very short ones. The term is usually used in the plural -- a single unit is a "pair of panties" -- though "panty" is used in such derivatives as "panty liner".

Types of panties

Panties are divided into various types based on such criteria as amount of rear coverage, width at the sides, and height at which they are worn. These categories are not necessarily distinct and usage may vary somewhat among brands.
Briefs rise to the waist or just below the navel and have full coverage in the rear. In the classic (or full) brief, the sides extend below the hip. In the high-cut (French cut) brief, they are somewhat narrower. Boyleg briefs (or boyshorts) are styled after men's briefs and may have short legs extending below the crotch. Control panties (or control briefs) are a special type of briefs designed to offer support and give a slimmer appearance; these usually contain a stretch material such as spandex and may extend above the waist.
Hipsters are similar to briefs, but are worn lower with the waistband around the hips.
Bikinis are also worn at the hips, but the fabric at the sides is narrower. In the string bikini, it disappears altogether to leave the waistband as a "string". The rear coverage of the bikini is not as full as with the brief.
Tangas have somewhat full rear coverage, but the waistband is reduced to a narrow strip at the sides.
Thongs have a waistband similar to tangas, but the rear coverage is not as full. The crotch is extended to the back with a narrow strip of fabric fitting between the buttocks, which becomes wider toward the top.
The G-string is a thong with virtually no rear coverage, the narrow strip in the back extending from the crotch all the way to the waistband. It may also have a minimal front panel that barely covers the pubic region.
Panties are made of a variety of materials and fabrics including satin, silk, pvc, cotton, nylon, mesh, lace, rawhide, leather, latex, lycra, and/or polyester. Construction is typically of two pieces (front and rear) joined by seams at the crotch and sides, often with an additional gusset in the crotch, and elastic at the waistband and leg openings.
In British English, and in places such as the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and India, panties are often referred to as knickers. The term knickers is not generally used in the USA and Canada, where the term "panties" is usually favored.


Before recent times, women's underwear were made with the primary function of body contortion. In the 1940s, Frederick's of Hollywood opened shop in Hollywood and began selling corsets and lingerie with a much more fashionable appeal to them. These new styles of women's undergarments possessed a greater sexual feel, made even more glamorized by models such as Bettie Page.
Colorful, bright, sexy, and flashier fashions of women's lingerie were becoming available. More fabrics such as satin, lace and silk began to be incorporated into the makeup of women's lingerie, making them more desired by females and more sensual to males. This is perhaps the great turning point when panties became more than simple hygiene products and developed into an icon of pleasure and sexuality worldwide.
Since then, women in flattering and provocative panties and lingerie have become a staple of several functions of male and lesbian popular culture. Several men's magazines such as Maxim and FHM often use images of attractive females in sensual lingerie to capture mainstream appeal.

Cultural impact

During the 1960s, there was a stir about the old, traditional views of women's undergarments, which some people wanted to look more like females anatomies. Female anatomy was largely misunderstood due to censorship of the subject. Some feminist women were complaining that traditional women's undergarments were created to impose control and distort the appearance of women's figures. This movement caused many females to have a new outlook on their undergarments. The underpants began to be made more like women's anatomy.
Not long after, in the 1970s, a new chapter in women's taste opened. Women's undergarments became even more sexualized due to the ongoing sexual revolution. The underpants got smaller and skinnier and began to be sexualized more frankly.
In today's society, panties have become an item of great interest in themselves. Considered by some to be risqué, panties have caused the lingerie industry to take advantage of their erotic associations. Lingerie chains such as Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood hold annual modeling shows to showcase new varieties of panties and other assorted lingerie.
A number of non-nude pornography websites survive through selling photo sets of women posing in panties and other lingerie.
In most modern cultures, panties have become a bit of a cultural icon associated with sexual mischief and a fun way of life, especially for teenage girls and women in their early twenties, who are more likely to enjoy them than women who grew up wearing granny panties. In Japan, panties (hadagi or pantei) are commonly depicted as adding a highly flirtatious, naughty element to a female's persona.


panties in Danish: Trusser
panties in German: Retropants
panties in Spanish: Bragas
panties in French: Shorty (lingerie)
panties in Korean: 팬티
panties in Italian: Mutanda
panties in Japanese: ショーツ
panties in Portuguese: Calcinha
panties in Russian: Трусы
panties in Chinese: 内裤
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