1800–10, Americanism; generalized from Diedrich Knickerbocker, fictitious author of Washington Irving's History of New York Unabridged


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
Knickerbocker (ˈnɪkəˌbɒkə)
1.  a descendant of the original Dutch settlers of New York
2.  an inhabitant of New York
[C19: named after Diedrich Knickerbocker, fictitious Dutchman alleged to be the author of Washington Irving's History of New York (1809)]

knickerbockers (ˈnɪkəˌbɒkəz)
pl n
Also called (US): knickers baggy breeches fastened with a band at the knee or above the ankle
[C19: regarded as the traditional dress of the Dutch settlers in America; see Knickerbocker]

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

"descendant of Du. settler of New York," 1831, from Diedrich Knickerbocker, the name under which Washington Irving published his popular "History of New York" (1809). The pen-name was borrowed from Irving's friend Herman Knickerbocker, and lit. means "toy marble-baker."

"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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Example sentences
She smoked cigarettes in public and wore knickerbockers on the golf course when both were considered unladylike.
Nellie made both older boys wear knickerbockers, double-breasted jackets, and high collars.
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