get their knickers in twist


noun (used with a plural verb)
Also, knickerbockers [nik-er-bok-erz] . loose-fitting short trousers gathered in at the knees.
Chiefly British.
a bloomerslike undergarment worn by women.
British Informal. a woman's or girl's short-legged underpants.
to get one's knickers in a twist, British Slang. to get flustered or agitated: Don't get your knickers in a twist every time the telephone rings.

1880–85; shortened form of knickerbockers, plural of knickerbocker, special use of Knickerbocker Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
knickers (ˈnɪkəz)
pl n
1.  an undergarment for women covering the lower trunk and sometimes the thighs and having separate legs or leg-holes
2.  a US variant of knickerbockers
3.  slang get one's knickers in a twist to become agitated, flustered, or upset
[C19: contraction of knickerbockers]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"short, loose-fitting undergarment," now usually for women, 1881, shortening of knickerbockers (1859), said to be so called for their resemblance to those of Dutchmen in Cruikshank's illustrations from Washington Irving's "History of New York" (see knickerbocker).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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