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Don't get your knickers in a snit

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 16, 2008 at 05:35

In Reply to: Don't get your knickers in a snit posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 15, 2008 at 22:18:

: : Anyone heard of the phrase "Don't get your knickers in a snit"? My mother used to say that.

: No, but "Don't get your knickers in a twist" (meaning, "Don't get flustered / annnoyed") is a standard English saying. By the way, what's a "snit"?
: (VSD)

The standard American equivalent is "Don't get your panties in a bunch." It can be said to either sex. Americans don't say knickers except for the garment for boys and men called knickerbockers. In Britain, underpants for women became knickers when they hung down to the knees or thereabouts, like American bloomers. They were loose, but were gathered at the low end, like boys' knickers. They inevitably became shortened to the present dimension, but the name "knickers" stuck. Tell me if I'm wrong, but what American women call pantyhose, British ladies call tights.

What American women call tights are usually woven, often opaque, garments that come down to the ankles, as in a leotard. They can either start down from the waist, or from the shoulders (covering the torso and limbs). They are usually dance garments, not underwear, although a type of brightly colored (and sometimes thick and warm) pantyhose for girls was (is?) called tights.

A lot of fun is had when men wear tights, as in male dancers. A spoof of the Robin Hood story was entitled "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (movie, 1993). And there are all those superheroes in tights, like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the whole bunch.

Snit: a state of agitation. Sometimes a tantrum, sometimes the sulks. It's more often used in North America than in Britain. The expression "have a cow," is much like "go into a snit" or "have a snit." Snit is a useful expression, in my opinion, partly because it connotes the proper disdain for those having the snit.