Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knickers n.

[abbr. SE knickerbockers; spec. the knickbocker suits once worn by convicts]

(UK prison) by meton., a prison sentence.

[UK]Illus. Police News 13 July 3/3: He first denied the charge, but on the three witnesses identifying him said, ‘I suppose this means the “knickers” (slang for convict’s breeches) for me’.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 10: I tink I will be wearing de ‘lag knickers’ for tree years.

In compounds

knickers and stockings (n.)

by meton., a term of imprisonment.

[UK]S. Wood Shades of the Prison House n.p.: They had prophesied that I should get knickers and stockings, by which they meant a lagging [DU].
knickers bandit (n.)

one who steals from washing lines; by ext. a small-time petty criminal.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 172: Bandit A term sometimes used ironically in conjunction with other words, e.g., [...] ‘knickers bandit’ – clothes line thief.

In phrases

get the knickers (v.)

(UK prison) to get penal servitude.

[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 255: Getting the knickers. Penal servitude, so called because convicts once wore knickerbocker suits.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

act as if one’s knickers were on fire (v.)

to panic, to behave hysterically.

S. Cooper ‘First Impressions’ on Casualty FanFic 🌐 Some lunatic nurse dashing through the department as though her knickers were on fire!
come home with your knickers torn and say you found the money (v.)

a phr. used to indicate the speaker’s inability to believe an extremely unlikely story.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 242/2: C.20.
[US]Maledicta IX 195: This article and series devoted to sexual slang would be incomplete without some notice of catch phrases, both British and American: […] you come home with your drawers torn and expect me to believe you found the money.
get one’s knickers in a twist (v.) (also get one’s knickers in a knot, ...twisted, get one’s frillies in a twist, ...Tampax..., ...turban..., ...underwear..., ...panties in a bunch, a twist, a wad, ...up one’s crack)

1. to become excessively agitated over a problem or situation, to worry to extremes; thus don’t get your knickers in a twist, stop getting so worried; knicker-twisting, agonizingly worrying; thus used with other garments (e.g. cit. 1995) (cf. get one’s tits in a twist under tit n.2 ).

[UK]Chartered Mechanical Engineer 9 15/2: British management are already reluctant enough not to take too many risks without Mr Hutchins ‘daring’ them to DIY-QC: at least if they get their 'Knickers in a twist' the exercise will not break them.
[UK]Pigeon Racing News 25 6: Wasn’t trying to steal your glory. mates, just got me knickers in a twist after the New Year celebrations.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 122: Don’t get your knickers in a twist darling.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 65: ’I’ve come over all of a flutter.’ ‘Don’t get your knickers in a twist,’ I said.
[UK]J. McClure Snake 35: Ach, come on Kip – what’s got your Tampax in a twist?
[UK]A. Payne ‘Senior Citizen Caine’ in Minder [TV script] 54: Don’t get your knickers in a twist.
[UK]J. Sherwood Botanist at Bay 38: Now don’t get your underwear in a twist, princess.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 247: Don’t get your turban in a twist, pal.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 232: Always the same, never expected any rubbish and never got it. No need to get your knickers twisted.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 24 Aug. 2: Poor John does get his knickers in a twist!
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 25 Aug. 🌐 If you’re wondering why I’m swearing so much at the good referee, I’m hoping he’ll get his knickers in a knot and give me the big ten.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 26 Feb. 3: Bill Clinton, who got his frillies in a real twist recently.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 97: We’re fine, so what the fuck? You got your panties up your crack over nothing!
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 9: I didn’t want her making a scene. [Ibid.] ‘Don’t get yer panties in a bunch,’ I said.
[US]C. King Sunday Wife 76: Don’t get your panties in a wad.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 94: No point in getting our underwear in an uproar. Like the man said, it’s still provisional.
[US]K. Horsley ‘Jungle Boogie’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] Let’s not get our panties in a bunch about tomorrow.
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 25: Too fucking thingio, the tart — always getting her knickers in a twist over this, that and the other.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘Before you get your panties all twisted, maybe he was talking bout the broad who gave you the clap’.
[SA]Mail & Guardian Online (Johannesburg) 12 Feb. 🌐 Swaziland’s chief legal adviser has his knickers in a knot over a ‘threat’ posed to the patriarchal kingdom.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘The editorial board have got their knickers in a knot’.
[Aus]G. Disher Kill Shot [ebook] [W]ould you have got your panties in a twist about a temporary correction? No. You’re too experienced for that.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] ‘Don’t get your panties in a wad [...] No one’s asking you to get anyone killed’.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 92: ‘No need to get ya panties in a bunch’.

2. to make a mistake, to be under a misapprehension, to ‘get the wrong end of the stick’.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 652/2: since late 1960s.
I’d eat my chips out of her knickers

see under eat v.

shut one’s knickers (v.)

to be quiet, to stop talking, esp. as imper.

[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 19: ‘Shut your knickers,’ he said.

In exclamations