Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kicks n.1

[ety. unknown; ? link to UK dial. kecks, the (dried) hollowed-out stem of an umbelliferous plant, e.g. a teazle; such stalks were used as candlesticks, water-pipes etc, and the link to trousers, themselves ‘hollow stalks’, seems feasible]

(also kicksters) breeches, thus trousers.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Kicks, c. Breeches. A high Kick, the top of the Fashion; also singularity therein. Tip us your Kicks, we’ll have them as well as your Loure, c. pull off your Breeches, for we must have them as well as your Money.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 207: Kicks, breeches. Tip us your kicks, we’ll have them as well as your lowr, i.e., Pull off your breeches, for we must have them as well as your money.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) Nap his Tuggs and Kixes take his Cloaths and Breeches.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 13: Has there any thing equall’d the fal-lals and tricks / That bedizen’d old GEORGY’S bang-up tog and kicks!
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK] ‘Sam Weller’s Adventures!’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 277: A cove vearing Vellington kicks.
[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 163/2: Kicksters – a pair of breeches.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 57: schikster: And how about the lushy cove? gonniff: Oh, Sall planted him in the dunniken, pinched his kicksters and his shaker.
[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 316/2: Kicks, pantaloons.
[US]G. Thompson Jack Harold 60: I got a pair of flash kicks, a tog and cady too.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 7 Sept. 10/7: Kicks–Pants.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 July 17/4: [He][ would often ‘bash up to a bug,’ assisted by one or two other ‘guns,’ turn him over and take the money ‘out of his kicks.
[US]Emporia Dly Repub. (KS) 28 Apr. 3/2: Trousers are ‘kicks,’ shoes are ‘squills’ or ‘stamps,’ and boots are ‘churns’.
[US]J. London Road 193: I took my pick of the underwear, socks, cast-off clothes shirts, ‘kicks,’ and ‘sky-pieces.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Dec. 38/4: Whenever a bloke passed out a thin un, Wibs’d give him threepence change an’ pass on. [...] Nine times outer 10, th’ blokes’d put the traybit in their kicks an’ says nothin’.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 16 Sept. [synd. col.] I left ten bucks in my Sunday kicks.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 241: In Grafton Street Master Dignam saw a red flower in a toff’s mouth and a swell pair of kicks on him.
[UK]L. Duncan Over the Wall 346: I’ll sort out the necessary duds [...] What size kicks do you wear?