Word Origin & History
1661, "kind of tights" (originally a Fr. fashion and execrated as such by late 17c. Eng. writers), associated with Pantaloun (1590), silly old man character in It. comedy who wore tight trousers over his skinny legs, from It. Pantalone, originally San Pantaleone, Christian martyr, a popular saint in
Venice (Pantaleone in the comedies represents the Venetian). The name is of Gk. origin and means "all-compassionate." Applied to tight long trousers (replacing knee-breeches) by 1798; pants is a shortened form first recorded 1840.