Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Derogatory Fashion Terms for Ill-Fitting Pants

When I was growing up one of the most embarrassing comments a person could receive about their pants was "nice floods." We used the term floods to refer to another person's pants when that person was starting to outgrow the pants and they were an inch or so shy of reaching below that person's ankles - as they should have to be considered fashionable. We called these pants floods because a person wearing them would be the last to get wet in a flood.



I just came across another derogatory term for ill-fitting pants in a book I am currently reading. The book is "Dark Objects" by Gillian Flynn and following is a direct quote from the book:




"Nice highwaters was the first thing Trey ever said to him. Ben was wearing jeans that were maybe, possibly, half an inch too short. Maybe an inch."




A brief Wikipedia entry classifies both floods and highwaters in the same category as three quarter pants, pedal pushers, shants, shpants, clam diggers and jams and defines the terms as "expressions to mean pants that are longer than shorts but are not as long as pants."





Urban Dictionary, on the other hand, defines floods as "pants that are unintentionally too short in the hem, so named because you can walk in a flood with them and they won't get wet. aka high waters."




I think the Wikipedia entry needs to be amended as the terms floods and highwaters are both clearly derogatory in their usage.

5 comments:

Erin Davis said...

One of my favorites is "mom jeans," referring to high-wasted, baggy-bottomes, tapered-legged jeans.

Grammarian said...

Hello Wordacious,
I just found your site; I like your blog's name. There's lots of fun and interesting info. here!

Carlos said...

I grew up with highwaters. "Nice highwaters, geek." "Waiting for a flood?" ;-)

Licia said...

In Italian we call them acqua alta in casa ("high water in the house") or acqua alta a Venezia ("high water in Venice"). It would be interesting to find out if other languages also use similar metaphors.

Wordacious said...

Grammarian - Thank you. I like your blog too.

Licia - Great idea. I would love to hear about similar metaphors in other languages.

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