Wearing My Big Girl Pants

In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, which is kind of a big holiday in the UK, I will be posting about yet another mistranslation in English.

In America we call underwear…underwear or panties. We call the things we wear on the lower half of our body like jeans or sweats our “pants”.

That is apparently not universal. Everytime I referred to my pants being dirty or needing to wash them, or shopping, people around seemed awkward and embarrassed. I couldn’t understand why. Nothing strange to discussing the need to shop or do laundry.

Then someone finally explained that in the UK to say “pants” meant underwear and if I wanted to refer to the jeans I was wearing, I needed to call them trousers.

So every time I said “My pants are dirty now!” the English heard “My underwear are dirty”

I felt like such an idiot and slightly creepy. And it is still not a switch in language I have mastered.

So USA=pants=the jeans, sweats, dress bottoms or anything we wear on our legs
 UK=pants=underwear

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