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"Pair of underwear"

Posted by Bob on January 11, 2004

In Reply to: "Pair of underwear" posted by James Briggs on January 11, 2004

: : : Why do we say "pair of underware" when there is only one? Anyone know where this originated?

: : To say "a pair of underwear" is not quite as illogical as it sounds, although I don't know how often it is used, as opposed to, say, a pair of briefs, a pair of panties, a pair of shorts and the like. Underwear in the plural for a garment that is singular is, I hope, confined to those garments through which you can put your legs. Although many items of underwear have bilateral symmetry, only those that have holes for the legs are spoken of in the plural when only one is in question. SS

: In German, at least, these words are singular - a trouser: a spectacle etc. Is there another language where the words are pleural?

I looked in M-W on line, and that dictionary at least recognizes trouser, and says "often used in the plural." Come to think of it, one does hear "trouser material" and "trouser length."
They recognize "scissor," too.