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British word for underwear

Britains have quite the number of slang words for underwear, with the most popular being knickers for women, or pants for men.

British words for underwear is knickers for women or pants for men. To say knickers, or knicks for short - it could mean any type of women's panties, including thongs or boy shorts. To refer to underwear as pants, you would be referencing male underwear such as y-fronts or boxers.

Here's my British slang words for underwear guide, it outlines up to nine terms used in the UK to describe underwear for men or women.

Its only acceptable today to use the broad term knickers or undies to refer to panties in the bikini, hipster, midi, thong or cheeky style for women.

Knicks can be used for short but only where it makes sense, and so to big pants if politely referring to big old granny panties.

To say big pants can refer to any type of women's full coverage knickers; big pants can specifically refer to boy shorts.

Generally, the term underwear can be said as undies for short in any conversation.

Less so used words, or terms used by the older generation is drawers, underpants or smalls - for youngsters to say it would be in a joking manner.

Men refer to their underwear as pants growing up as boys, and moreso as an adult when referencing bikini, midi or hipster style male underwear.

British word for underwear table

British Slang: Universal Meaning: Referred By:
Big pants Granny Panties Female
Boy pants Boyshorts Female
Drawers Underwear Both
Knickers Panties Female
Knicks Panties Female
Pants Underwear Male
Smalls Underwear Female
Underpants Underwear Male
Undies Underwear Both
British Slang word column as said by most Britains; second column is meaning of term said globally - while Referred By column lists gender underwear likely to be worn by.

Comparison table outlines the British slang word used in the UK, along with the general use of the term said elsewhere in the world.

Its not common to hear guys refer to underwear as underpants, small or drawers, unless its a joke or in a light hearted quip.

Notice in the third column the terms are mostly used by females only; that is simply due to there being more terms to describe women's underwear, or what is more commonly known as, knickers.

Big pants

To say big pants a women would be referring to her or a pair of large, often enormous panties - with a coverage similar to granny panties.

So it could be briefs in hipster, midi or bikini underwear style; though while they are not always big pants - its only a way to refer to panties that are not skimpy.

Big pants is a more endearing term used by women to describe women's panties only.

Its unlikely for a guy to refer to underwear as big pants, because that's what is generally said by female counterparts - plus boys' underpants can be refer to as just that, pants.

Boy pants

Referring to women's underwear in Britain as boy pants is to describe panties that are also known as boy shorts or boy leg cut panties.

While male underwear simply uses the term pants, boy pants helps to distinguish the male to female difference.

To say boy pants, the panties in question would appear to have a boy fit or design, often in a y-front crotch but it can be without it.

What else a boy pant can be is a type of a shorty panty with short length leg coverage.


To use the term drawers (plural only so not without the s) the word can be used for both men and women, but is primarily used more by women.

Similarly to underwear, to say drawers can mean any type of women's knickers in the brief to skimpier kind.

Its a term used moreso by the elderly or older generation, so less so said by young people as it would seem to be untrendy.

Drawers in most people's eyes are big granny panties, but can mean knickers in all styles or sizes.


Classic British slang word to describe women's panties in the UK is knickers; so to is the word used in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, for example.

Knickers is a broad term to describe every type of popular women's underwear in the full or moderate coverage.

To say knickers (plural only) a women could mean briefs, cheekies or even thongs; but its more common to hear young people say the style of knickers for what they are.

Its more polite to say knickers in a general conversation as it can appear to be a little to personal calling knickers for what style they are, such as thongs.


Not a word often used, but to say knicks - which is short for knickers - you could see the term used more in text speak.

Its not a term used by those in the older generation, but its more an urban slang word that is more polite to say, but in a fun way to describe knickers.

Not to be mistaken for the American baseball team, knickers in Britain is simply a shorten slang word for women's knickers.


Growing up in Britain, you will come to know the slang word for boys underwear as pants.

Not to be confused what Americans referred to as yoga pants, leggings or an item of clothing that covers the legs.

Pants are simply any type of underwear a young boy would wear; likewise an adult male would also wear pants, even if they might be boxers.

Less used of the term is for women, but it can be a polite, yet rare term to describe little girls knickers.


Polite yet playful term to mostly to describe women's underwear, though it can be said by male counterparts, but less so.

The term smalls is to refer to small initiates, namely panties of a skimpier nature, but briefs in larger styles is an exception.

To say where's my smalls for example, a women is only referring to the panty kind, not bras, tights or a slip, for example.


Britains might come to know the term underpants as a word used moreso in the United States - as pants alone refers to clothing only.

But for Britains to refer to underwear as underpants, its used a little less than anything else.

Underpants can refer to more as male, or little boys underwear; never so would you hear the term used to describe women's or little girls underwear.

To say underpants in Britains would be to say in a more comical way.


Shorten slang word for underwear, undies can save time and effort in text speak, while it can save you time saying the longer term underwear out loud, when saying undies is quicker.

Anyone is Britain will refer to underwear as undies, both male or female.

Its a common term to this day and can be more appropriate in certain conversation to say undies, over underwear.

Underwear can mean panties or bras, but in Britain when one refers to undies, its mostly in reference to panties of any kind.

To summarise

Most common slang words for underwear in Britain today is knickers - or knicks for short - or big pants, as one would be referring to women's underwear.

Likewise, to refer to pants or underpants it could mean adult male or little boys underwear.

But like the most common term of the word, underwear, or undies in Britain can refer to all types of men and women's underwear - less so bras or similar intimates.

Most popular British word for underwear is knickers to describe all women's panties, or pants for men's underwear.

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