Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pants n.

1. nonsense, rubbish; early use in phr. one’s name is pants [var. on knickers! excl.].

[US]Atchison (KS) Daily Globe 19 Feb. 4: When the Last Day comes he will find that his name is Pants.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 20: His name was pants, then and there.
[US]Van Loan ‘Scrap Iron’ in Taking the Count 216: Anybody can jab him in the face and run away [...] Whenever they wade in and mix it with this dago their name is pants!
[UK]Guardian 14 May 30: So step forward and then sod off Brian Kidd for saying that it was all the players’ fault that Blackburn is pants.
[UK]Guardian G2 11 May 24: It’s pants. On Saturday 13th May you decide who wins the most ridiculous European Outfit Award [advert by msn].
[UK]Indep. Rev. 8 June 11: Presley was pants.
[UK]Observer 23 Jan. 31: Sexism is pants, girls.

2. constr. with the, the essence; usu. with a v. in phr. — the pants off v., to do something to excess, e.g. kid the pants off under kid v.

[[UK]Belfast Morn. News 13 Dec. 3/8: [from US mining camp newspaper] As a singer she can just wallop the hose off anything that ever wagged a jaw on the boards].
Mixer & Server 17 27: If old man Gus Guzzleberger wants to split his rhinoceros skin with red liquor, wabble off home [...] and have his wife beat the pants off of him, let him go.
[US]Van Loan ‘Loosening Up of Hogan’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 133: What I don’t understand is why you did n’t raise the pants off Bush.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 337: Jesus, them turkeys down there would ride the pants off me.
[US]A.I. Bezzerides Long Haul 48: Then maybe you wouldn’t cheat the pants off us truckers.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 31: Come down to Bleeck’s [...] I’ll bet the pants off you in the match game.
[US]E. Hemingway letter 8 July in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 533: This man Algren can write the pants off of Farrell.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 134: The big Dominecker Rooster and the right little Game Cock commence kicking the pants off each other.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 57: She can whip the pants off half the guys in the gang.
[US]K. Vacha Quiet Fire 142: My dad walloped the pants off me.
[Aus]M. Walker How to Kiss a Crocodile 114: ‘They are on their own and remember they bleed like anyone else. Now go and whip the pants off ’em!’.
[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 202: They say he used to con the pants off everybody.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 12 May 62: I’m one of those women who men either fancy the pants off or they don’t get it at all.
[UK]K. Richards Life 10: Mick puts on his suit and charms the pants off him.

3. (US black, also pair of pants) a man [meton.].

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 22 Aug. 7/6: Pants — (boy or man).
[US]R. Giallombardo Gloss. in Study of a Women’s Prison 206: Pants. A male.

In phrases

bore the pants off (v.) (also bore one’s pants off, bore the knickers off)

to bore completely and totally.

C. Packenham Rearguard 62: I don’t want to bore the pants off you, but what’s this thingummyjig for?
[UK]Oakland Trib. (CA) 5 Sept. 8-S/7: ‘Brothers in the West‘, after the first few chapters, bored the pants off this one.
[UK]E. Waugh Handful of Dust 133: She bores my pants off, but she’s a good trier.
N. Dennis Sea Change 154: I love her [...] and I love my son. But if I’m with either of them longer than five minutes, they bore the pants off me.
[Can]Vancouver Sun (BC) 10 Nov. 30/4: [H]e excruciatingly bores the pants off a group of male aristocrats.
Standard-Star (New Rochelle, NY) 7 Oct. 4/1: [A]nything that’s monotonous just bores the pants off us.
[Aus]Dly Teleg. (Sydney) 22 Feb. 38/4: ‘We [i.e. Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis] made, a louse of a film together called Conflict. It bored the pants off both of us’.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 1: They were [...] creeps of the first water and would bore the pants off me.
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 61: It’s simply that the whole shebang bores the pants off me.
[Aus]Canberra Times (ACT) 6 Oct. 2/: [Fine] to watch from a purely political or sociological viewpoint but it bored the pants off the money men.
[Ire]T. Murphy Morning After Optimism in Plays: 3 (1994) Scene v: God, that last place we were in, James, bored the knickers off me!
[UK]J. Sherwood Botanist at Bay 161: Bazzer, must you bore the pants off us about this?
[UK]Eve. Standard (London) 19 Apr. 6/3: ‘The original report would have bored the knickers off most of the governors’.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 17 Sept. 5: This movie is just about [...] breaking up, making up, and boring the pants off us all.
[UK]Theatre Record 20 305: Romeo Castellucci (whose gory Julius Caesar bored the knickers off us).
J. Myles Hot Floor 15: Staple, dull small talk guaranteed to bore the pants off people.
lick the pants off (v.) (also beat the pants off, slug..., take..., thrash...) [lick v.1 (2)/slug v.2 (4)]

to beat convincingly, to overwhelm.

W.C. de Mille Strongheart 41: Sure Tommy. We’ll lick the pants off ’em next half.
B.M. Bower Heritage of the Sioux 130: Dang you, Luck, if you wasn’t such a little runt I’d come up there and jest about lick the pants off you!
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 232: Maybe when the Germans have licked the pants off her England’ll give Ireland her freedom.
[US]S. Kingsley Dead End Act I: Everybody else I hadda beat da pants off a foist.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Good Luck is No Good’ in Federal Agent Nov. 🌐 The little bum licks the pants off me.
[US]E. Hoffman Price ‘Revolt of the Damned’ in Double-Action Gang June 🌐 Suppose the narcotic squad did slug the pants off Keenan’s wounded gunners?
[US]W. Motley Knock on Any Door 167: We’ll lick the pants off them.
[Aus]J. Cleary Sundowners 214: You’re talking as if we have had the pants licked off us.
M. Woodhouse Rock Baby 51: He shook out the morning paper and told me there was an international athletics meeting at White City [...] and that Denmark would undoubtedly thrash the pants off us .
[UK]G. Bromley In Absence of Body 119: Usually they take the pants off us, which is not surprising—they play regularly and it’s our only game [OED].
[US]C. Nelson Milers 246: Delany, who jogged in at 4:10, said, "Sure, I'll thrash the pants off you in Dublin town.
[US]Z. Popkin Time Off for Murder 151: My pa'd lick the pants off of me if he saw it.
J. Eavis Column 25 Jan. on 🌐 Not bad considering I founded the clan just under a year ago with just me, a couple of friends from uni and Mephiston that I met on IRC and who proceeded to thrash the pants off me.
krimpy posting 18 Mar. to ‘Why the world is not enough’ topic at 🌐 And as for Roger Moore, he is NOT a sex symbol. Patrick Stewart would take the pants off him any day (literally I think).
scare the pants off (v.) (also scare someone out of their pants, scare the slacks off)

to terrify.

[US]E. Pound letter 19 Nov. in Paige (1971) 203: I don’t know whether McAlmon is in N.Y.; you can organize a gang of gunmen to scare Roth out of his pants.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 53: I hate to see anyone with the pants scared off them all the time.
H.A. Smith Mr Klein’s Kampf 24: Scare the pants off of me! Shame on you!
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 218: You’ll scare the pants off him.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 111: They would have had their pants scared off.
[UK]Oh Boy! No. 20 9: Ha! Ha! We sure scared the pants off him!
Kossuth Co. Advance (Algona, IA) 9 Aug. 38/1: The Old Goat will never get anywhere trying to scare the slacks of women.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 52: This storm just about scares the bell-bottomed pants clean off all the matelots as well.
Dly Jrnl (Vineland, NJ) 18 Feb. 4/3: Harlem protection service [...] supplies dogs, [...] thes scares the slacks off sneak thieves .
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 35: Nature seems to be saying to itself ‘Now shall I or shall I not scare the pants off these people with a hell of a thunderstorm?’.
[US]R. Coover Public Burning (1979) 205: Uncle Sam is running half the world and scaring the pants off the rest.
[Aus]T. Winton That Eye, The Sky 50: It scares the pants offer me.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 23 July 3: His pride was a pump-action Winchester which he pointed at tourists snooping over his house in helicopters and scared the pants off them.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 27 Aug. 4: Da yoot’ finally have characters [...] for whom they can root until they are hoarse, and scare the slacks off us while they do.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 13 Mar. 7: He kept it to himself because it scared the pants off him.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

pants man (n.)

(Aus.) a womanizer.

[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 117: Dad was always a bit of a pants man.
[Aus]R. Fitzgerald Pushed from the Wings (1989) 70: He’s [...] a pants man. They say he used to fuck his students.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) Oct. 🌐 Harry’s grandad has always been a mad pants man.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] [T]he handsome pants man left behind somewhere.
pants rabbit (n.) (also pants rat)

(US) a body louse.

[US]National Geographic Mag. June 499: They call the things ‘pants rabbits’ and ‘seam squirrels’.
(con. WWI) W.H. Upson Me and Henry and the Artillery 11: Some of the wise crackers in the battery used to call them pants-rabbits, which is not real scientific, as they usually roam around your back and shoulders and seldom hit below the belt.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 202: Those pesky little insects which the boys in the World War called ‘cooties’ were called ‘pants rats’ or ‘seam squirrels’ by the cowboy.
[US]J. Steinbeck Of Mice and Men 20: What the hell kind of bed you giving us, anyway? We don’t want no pants rabbits.
[US] ‘Argot of the Sea’ in AS XV:4 Dec. 451/1: pant rabbits. Any form of body vermin.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
J.N. Tidwell Treas. Amer. Folk Humor 192: ‘Now, boys [...] the first little pants rabbit over the rim is the winner.’ So the bar-tender brought the plate, and the stranger felt of it. ‘No louse,’ says he, ‘would ever set a good pace on this cold plate’.

In phrases

get into someone’s pants (v.) (also get inside someone’s pants, get into someone’s drawers, ...knickers, ...panties)

to seduce.

[US] ‘Joan Crawford in “The Open Road”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 87: I’ve been playing around with you for six months and didn’t get in your pants yet.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 216: I’ve been in more guy’s pants than you could count.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 478: If you spent as much thought on Army matters as you do on the strategy and tactics of getting into the drawers of every whore from here to Melbourne, you’d be a military genius.
[US]J. Baldwin Blues for Mister Charlie 89: I was just another horny white kid trying to get into a black girl’s pants.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 258: I’ve got a few friends in Canberra who’re just itching to get into my pants.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 115: He tried to get into my knickers once.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 271: It’s just his way of trying to get in me pants.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 48: If he wanted to get into her pants he’d have to spend a bit more time on her.
[US]S. King Dolores Claiborne 102: Do you see he was workin as hard to get into her mind as he was into her pants?
[Aus]P. Temple Black Tide (2012) [ebook] Not trying to get into my pants, just checking that everything’s all right.
[UK]M. Dibdin Thanksgiving 15: But I was trying to get into her pants, you see.
[Aus]T. Winton Turning (2005) 136: It wasn’t just that every man within coo-ee wanted to get into her pants.
[US]in J. Miller Getting Played 144: ‘Boys are so, you know, doing petty stuff to us ’cause they want to get in yo’ panties. You should come to them in a better way instead of trying to rape them ’cause you wanna get in they pants or whatever’.
[SA]Topix Local News (Johannesburg) 12 May 🌐 South African and Zimbabwean ladies [...] beware of [...] whatever stories these Nigerians have used to get into your pants.
give someone pants (v.)

(US black) of a woman, to allow sexual intercourse.

[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 119: When one of johnny’s girls [...] gave somebody some pants and didn’t get any money — he sure was hard on them.
keep it one’s pants (v.)

(US) to restrain oneself, usu. in context of male sexual appetites.

Texas Mthly May 224: ‘Yeah, just keep it in your pants a minute, dude. Okay. Bye’.
African Amer. Review 81/1: It’s like your Johnson, if you don’t know what to do with it, then keep it in your pants.
A. Swofford Exit A [ebook] Find the right woman and keep it in your pants.
‘’ in ThugLit Mar. [ebook] He had loved her since they met [...] but always had trouble keeping it in his pants.
keep one’s feet in one’s pants (v.)

(US black) to keep calm, to restrain one’s emotions.

[US] ‘Konky Mohair’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 106: But his thoughts weren’t on the action, / So his feet remained in his pants.
keep one’s pants buttoned (v.)

(US) to restrain one’s sexual appetites.

[US]H.A. Keller Debtor’s Holiday 174: ‘To hell with love — bring on your women!’ ‘Keep your pants buttoned!’.
[US]E.L. Dittler Hippocratic Oath 277: ‘I always told you to keep your pants buttoned.’ ‘Is that a nice thing to say about a lady?’.
[US]P. Marks Full Flood 25: Work your damned head off, starve for five years, and keep your pants buttoned; then you’ll be a doctor.
[US]P.K. Dick (2007) Voices from the Street 147: White beamed and thumped Hadley cynically on the arm. ‘While the cat’s away, eh? Have a good time and remember to keep your pants buttoned.’.
[US]R.D. Pharr Book of Numbers 183: It’s time for you and your black brethren to learn to keep your pants buttoned until you get invited to the picnic.
[US]F.M. Stewart Rage Against Heaven 39: Keep your pants buttoned, Ralph. Mrs. Crandall’s got class. Ever hear of it?
[US]H.J. Riker Silver Star 343: ‘Keep your pants buttoned for a change, okay? Sir?’ ‘But I think she likes me! Did you see her wink at me?’.
[US]C. Jackson Lost Cove 202: Keep your pants buttoned up. There air other ways to relieve yerself of these urges, and it is knowed as masturbation.
pull up one’s pants (v.)

(US) to stop talking and interfering.

[US]A.I. Bezzerides Thieves’ Market 108: ‘Ah, go pull up your pants,’ another trucker said. ‘What do you want us to do, get out and push?’.
wear the pants (v.) (also pull on the pants) [coined in an era when only men were thought to wear pants (trousers)]

(orig. US) to be the dominant member of a (usu. heterosexual) partnership.

[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 11 Oct. n.p.: Mrs P—e,m take off the pants for you have worn them long enough, and give them to your husband.
[UK]R.G. Knowles [perf. ] ‘Adam Missed It’ 🎵 When Adam lived with Eve, I verily believe / The pants she didn't wear - ’cos Adam had none there.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 25 Oct. 2/4: ‘Madam [...] if ever there was a woman that should wear pants you are that woman’.
[UK]Longman’s Mag. 30 453: The trouble at my house is, I’ve got a woman who wants to wear the pants.
[US]F. Dumont Dumont’s Joke Book 29: My mother was a lady – / She never lost a chance / To let the neighbours see that / She wore my daddy’s pants.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 28 Feb. 8/3: Mrs. Rasp is now a fat, florid, heavy weight woman, and wears the pants in the Rasp household all right.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 95: Ef theah ole cow come fooling near me tonight, I’ll show her who’s wearing the pants.
[US]Flash! (Wash., D.C.) 24 Jan. 19/2: [cartoon caption — wife to husband] I’ll show you who wears the pants around here!!
[Aus]H. Drake-Brockman Men Without Wives II i: Yes—letting his missus pull on the pants.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 116: He might wear the pants in this house, but he isn’t going to let my rooms over me head.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Milly and the Porker’ in Amer. Dream Girl (1950) 195: ‘I wear the pants in my house,’ Porky said.
[US]M. Bodenheim My Life and Loves in Greenwich Village (1961) 63: We speak of a domineering wife who ‘wears the pants’.
[UK]R. Hauser Homosexual Society 83: My mother wore the pants at home; my father was not much good, frightened of her.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 115: Easy to see who wears the pants round here.
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 26: She took away my fried foods [...] but I kept my beer. I had to show her who was wearing the pants in our family.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 599: I guess I know who wears the pants in that family.
[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 62: If you can, you wear the pants. Don’t let the man be over you.
[US] N. Flexner Disassembled Man [ebook] It’s important that we be clear on who wears the pants in this here family].
wet one’s pants (v.) (also get wet in the pants, spot one’s pants, wet one’s knickers) [the image is of involuntary urination, whether through fear or excitement]

1. to panic, to lose control, to get over-excited.

[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Merry Clouters’ in Fellow Countrymen (1937) 403: Did you spot your pants?
[US]J. Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath (1951) 15: Sure, I know you’re wettin’ your pants to know what I done.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 85: The old guy must’ve wet his pants, and starts screamin’ blue murder.
[US]E. Aarons Gang Rumble (2021) 7: He didn’t see anything to get wet in the pants about over the [A-]bomb.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 112: It seemed like a sort of lark, but when I really got there, when it really was happening I almost wet my pants.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 13: Now they’re wetting their knickers in case some clever dick’s twigged how to beat their security system.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 41: That’ll make her wet her pants.
[UK](con. 1940s) O. Manning Battle Lost and Won 270: Every gun had fired on the instant. Donaldson giggled: ‘Enough to make you wet your pants. What’ve they got out there, for God’s sake.’.
[US]S. King It (1987) 349: ‘Man, I love werewolf pictures!’ ‘Jeez, Haystack, don’t wet your pants.’.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 113: The Bubble used to nearly wet his pants when he saw me.
[US]P. Cornwell Last Precinct 113: He wet his pants.

2. to find extremely exciting or attractive.

[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 80: I understand the little maidelech wet their pants for him.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 41: I know full well that Howard Hughes wets his pants for Mormons.

In exclamations

keep your pants on! (also hold your pants on! keep your britches on! ...diaper on! ...drawers on! ...knickers on!)

(orig. US) calm down! don’t lose (emotional) control!

H.S. Woodruff Imprisoned Freeman 109: ‘Swallow your cud — hold your potatoes — keep your pants on,’ he soothed.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 197: Keep you’ pants on, all of you and carry on with you’ fun.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 668: All right, girlie. Keep your pants up.
[US]G.T. Fleming-Roberts ‘Snatch Bait’ in Ten Detective Aces Oct. 🌐 Brunt husked his voice [...] ‘Keep yer pants on, Danny.’.
[US]J. Weidman I Can Get It For You Wholesale 47: He was getting excited! ‘Keep your drawers on,’ I said.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 58: All right, ladies [...] Keep yer britches on.
[US]J. Steinbeck Wayward Bus 203: Keep your pants on and watch your language.
[US]L. Hughes Tambourines to Glory Ii i: Keep your diaper on, Junior!
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 49: Look out now, I’m going in here. Keep your pants on.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 6: ‘Where the hell are you taking us?’ [...] ‘Keep your draws on.’ Tommy smiled.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 20: Yeh, yeh, keep-a-fuckin knickers on. Doan worry.
Jo B Life From the Ashes Ch. 20B 🌐 ‘Hold your pants on, Jared, I’m coming,’ he replied, opening the door, he stepped into the hallway.