Men mostly composed the throng that alighted––big, weather-stained fellows in rough jeans and denims.
1690s, from French serge de Nîmes "serge from Nîmes," town in southern France. Application to "coarse cotton cloth" is first recorded 1850 in American English. Denims "pants made of denim" recorded from 1868. The place name is Roman Nemausus, said to be ultimately from Gaulish nemo "sanctuary."