Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pants n.

1. [late 19C–1910s; 1990s+] nonsense, rubbish; early use in phr. one’s name is pants [var. on knickers! excl.].

2. [20C+] 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.

3. [1930s–60s] (US black, also pair of pants) a man [meton.].

In phrases

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

[1930s+] to bore completely and totally.

lick the pants off (v.) (also beat the pants off, slug..., take..., thrash...) [lick v.1 (2)/slug v.2 (3)]

[20C+] to beat convincingly, to overwhelm.

scare the pants off (v.) (also scare someone out of their pants, scare the slacks off)

[1930s+] to terrify.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

pants man (n.)

[1960s+] (Aus.) a womanizer.

pants rabbit (n.) (also pants rat)

[1910s+] (US) a body louse.

In phrases

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

[1940s+] to seduce.

get some pants (v.)

[1960s] (US black) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

give someone pants (v.)

[1960s] (US black) of a woman, to allow sexual intercourse.

in short pants (adj.) [i.e. what children wear]

[1960s] (US) impoverished; out of work.

keep one’s feet in one’s pants (v.)

[1960s] (US black) to keep calm, to restrain one’s emotions.

keep one’s pants buttoned (v.)

to restrain one’s sexual appetites.

pull up one’s pants (v.)

[1940s] (US) to stop talking and interfering.

wear the pants (v.) (also pull on the pants) [coined in an era when only men were thought to wear pants (trousers)]

[late 19C+] (orig. US) to be the dominant member of a (usu. heterosexual) partnership.

wet one’s pants (v.) (also spot one’s pants, wet one’s knickers) [the image is of involuntary urination, whether through fear or excitement]

1. [1930s+] to panic, to lose control, to get over-excited.

2. [1960s+] to find extremely exciting or attractive.

In exclamations

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

[1920s+] (orig. US) calm down! don’t lose (emotional) control!