Word Nerd Wednesday – What Do You Call It?


I have a Britallachian-themed edition of Word Nerd Wednesday today. And no, Britallachian isn’t the word we’re discussing. Britallachian is the term coined by author Pepper Basham to describe the British-meets-Appalachian nature of her upcoming release Just The Way You Are. It’s a great read, particularly if you’re into swoony British heroes, and it releases on 6 April—which is TOMORROW!!! Here’s a little bit about it:

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.

PS – Don’t forget to pre-order here.

But now to today’s Word Nerd post. As you probably know, there are differences between British and American English, and a few of those crop up in this novel. One of those is the word pants. In American English, pants means this:


In British English, pants means this:


The British use the word trousers to refer to the item of clothing that covers both legs separately from the waist to the ankle.

As usual, I got curious. And then I got information overload!! It turns out pants/trousers are a very interesting subject. If you want to read for yourself, you can read the article A History of Trousers and Pants in Western Culture. But for the purposes of this post, here are a few quick points:

  • The word pants comes from the word pantaloons, the longer form of pants that developed in the first half of the 1800s. The word pantaloons had been around for much longer, but it wasn’t until the specific development of the 1800s that the word pants was first recorded (1840). You can read about the development of this style of pantaloons on the blog Jane Austen’s World.
  • The word trousers comes from old English roots—trews or truis, a traditional form of tartan trousers worn in Scotland (imagine wearing a kilt in the winter and you’ll understand why!)
  • There is a strong historical correlation between the evolution of pants and horse-riding. Military men who rode horses tended to wear pants (robes were a little impractical!) and nations who were threatened by warriors who fought on horseback were often forced to adopt pants so that they could defend themselves on horseback.

There are plenty of other words used for pants/trousers too. Slacks is the most obvious one, although there is debate over whether this refers to a particular type of pants/trousers, or whether this is just a synonym.

But there are also slang terms. Here in Australia, a popular form of very casual pants are the good ol’ trackie daks. Any non-Aussies out there know what type of pants these are?

What about you? Do you use the word pants? Trousers? Is there a less formal word you use?


About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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17 Responses to Word Nerd Wednesday – What Do You Call It?

  1. lynetteb2015 says:

    You just made me realise I don’t actually own any trackie daks at the moment. Might have to remedy that…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hopeperch says:

    Pants…although my little southern belle 4 year old said “I need to put my britches on,” a couple of days ago. So someone around my house has been saying britches 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pepperbasham says:

    LOL!!! Okay, I just love this, Katie! And am laughing hysterically

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth Erin says:

    We say pants or britches for general reference of long bottoms. Specifically, we’ll say jeans or khakis but when talking to the kids it’s usually comfy pants (soft fabric usually elastic waisted) or church pants (nice jeans or khakis)…
    I didn’t realize this was an issue. Gives new emphasis to the saying “keep your pants on” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Weekend Book Buzz – 8/9 April 2017 | Fiction Aficionado

  6. escrim says:

    My whole life saying ‘trousers’ and since moving to the states, I have been converted. Much to the amusement of my British family and friends at home.

    Liked by 1 person

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