noun (used with a plural verb)

  1. trousers(def 1).
  2. underpants, especially for women and children; panties.
  3. British. men’s underpants, especially long drawers.


  1. wear the pants, to have the dominant role; be in charge: I guess we know who wears the pants in that family.

verb (used without object)

  1. to breathe hard and quickly, as after exertion.
  2. to gasp, as for air.
  3. to long with breathless or intense eagerness; yearn: to pant for revenge.
  4. to throb or heave violently or rapidly; palpitate.
  5. to emit steam or the like in loud puffs.
  6. Nautical. (of the bow or stern of a ship) to work with the shock of contact with a succession of waves.Compare work(def 24).

verb (used with object)

  1. to breathe or utter gaspingly.


  1. the act of panting.
  2. a short, quick, labored effort at breathing; gasp.
  3. a puff, as of an engine.
  4. a throb or heave, as of the breast.


  1. of or relating to pants: pant cuffs.


  1. pant leg.
  2. pants(defs 1, 2).

pl n

  1. British an undergarment reaching from the waist to the thighs or knees
  2. Also called: trousers a garment shaped to cover the body from the waist to the ankles or knees with separate tube-shaped sections for both legs
  3. bore the pants off informal to bore extremely
  4. scare the pants off informal to scare extremely


  1. British slang inferior


  1. to breathe with noisy deep gasps, as when out of breath from exertion or excitement
  2. to say (something) while breathing thus
  3. (intr often foll by for) to have a frantic desire (for); yearn
  4. (intr) to pulsate; throb rapidly


  1. the act or an instance of panting
  2. a short deep gasping noise; puff

n.trousers, 1840, see pantaloons. Colloquial singular pant is attested from 1893. To wear the pants “be the dominant member of a household” is first attested 1931. To do something by the seat of (one’s) pants “by human instinct” is from 1942, originally of pilots, perhaps with some notion of being able to sense the condition and situation of the plane by engine vibrations, etc. To be caught with (one’s) pants down “discovered in an embarrassing condition” is from 1932. v.mid-15c., perhaps a shortening of Old French pantaisier “gasp, puff, pant, be out of breath, be in distress” (12c.), probably from Vulgar Latin *pantasiare “be oppressed with a nightmare, struggle for breathing during a nightmare,” literally “to have visions,” from Greek phantasioun “have or form images, subject to hallucinations,” from phantasia “appearance, image, fantasy” (see phantasm). Related: Panted; panting. n.“a gasping breath,” c.1500, from pant (v.). v.

  1. To breathe rapidly and shallowly.

In addition to the idiom beginning with pants

  • pants off, the
  • also see:

  • ants in one’s pants
  • beat the pants off
  • caught with one’s pants down
  • get the lead out of (one’s pants)
  • kick in the pants
  • seat of the pants
  • talk someone’s arm (pants) off
  • wear the pants
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