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Panties in different colors

Panties (in American English; also called underpants, undies, or knickers in British English) are a form of underwear worn traditionally by women. Panties can be form-fitting or loose. Typical components include an elastic waistband, a crotch panel to cover the genitalia (usually lined with absorbent material such as cotton), and a pair of leg openings that, like the waistband, are often made of elastomer. Various materials are used, but are usually chosen to be breathable.

Panties are made of a variety of materials, including cotton, lace, latex, leather, lycra, mesh, nylon, PVC, polyester, rawhide, satin, and silk. Construction typically consists of two pieces (front and rear) that are joined by seams at the crotch and sides; an additional gusset is often in the crotch, with the waistband and leg-openings made from elastomer.


The earliest known use of underwear that resembles modern panties dates back to 4,400 B.C. during the Badari period in Egypt.[1][page needed]


In the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and occasionally in other Commonwealth countries such as Australia[2][3] and New Zealand, panties may be referred to as "undies", "knickers", or simply underwear. The last of which is a gender neutral term and can be used for either male or female underwear bottoms, the American English equivalent being underpants. "Knickers" can also refer to male underwear, while the word panties generally refers only to female underwear. In Australia, male underpants are often referred to as "undies",[4] although the word can also refer to panties.


Various styles of panties (thong and G-string: back view).
Various styles of panties (thong and G-string: back view).

Panties are classified into various styles based on criteria such as the amount of rear coverage, width at the sides and height at which they are worn. These categories are not necessarily distinct and usage may vary somewhat among brands:[5]

See also


  1. ^ Brunton, Guy; Caton-Thompson, Gertrude (1928). The Badarian Civilisation and Predynastic Remains Near Badari (PDF). British School of archaeology in Egypt, University College, and B. Quaritch. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ Burgdorf, Katherine (12 November 2013). "Say 'NO' to dodgy knickers". The Hoopla. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Hole Proof - No Knickers". Bonds underwear, Australia. 1985. Archived from the original on 3 June 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Translations of Australian English words into American English - Fiona Lake". Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  5. ^ Parkinson, Ann (9 September 2011). "Women's Panties - LoveToKnow Lingerie". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Boy shorts" Archived 19 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine,, 2015.
  7. ^ "Boyshorts and Girltrunks 102: Your Queer Underwear Guide" Archived 1 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine,, 05-03-2013.
  8. ^ Jennifer Carroll; Kathy Schultz (1 October 2009), Underneath It All, Harlequin, p. 41, ISBN 978-1-4268-4072-2, retrieved 14 September 2013