panty » pansy

Chiefly in:   pansy-waist, pansy-waste

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • So he’s saying Bush was a pansy waist? (link)
  • [A:] Throughout the anglosphere the word “liberal” has been used scornfully for the past few decades …We all know that it’s used as a proxy term for socialist, panty-waist, etc. in the U.S. [B:] Not to nitpick, but isn’t the term “pansy-waist”? [C:] FWIW, I’ve seen “panty-waist” numerous times. Your comment is the first time I’ve ever seen “pansy-waist” in 40-something years of reading. (link)
  • Ha ha, what a little pansy waste. Little suck up. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Dave Wilton (On ADS-L 5/26/12)

Panty-waist, originally a North American term for “a garment, usually for children, consisting of panties attached to a waist or bodice” [OED3 March 2005, cites from 1910 on] took on a derogatory sense, “a weak or cowardly person, esp. a young boy; a weakling, a sissy” [cites from 1938 on]. As the original sense became rare, many speakers assimilated the garment term panty to the derogatory term pansy used of male homosexuals.

In a further development, the moderately common spelling confusion waste for waist was incorporated into the expression. Pansy-waist is very frequent, pansy-waste much less so.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2012/05/26 |

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