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Where does the expression "keep your pants on" come from?
Career / 5:07 PM - Thursday March 03, 2011

Where does the expression "keep your pants on" come from?

I just told someone that works for me to keep her pants on when she asked me for the second time to do something for her. We have this IM feature on our email. She needed me to authorize something for her. Anyway when she asked the 2nd time I told her this.

Anyone know where it came from? I just realized I don't know and wonder if I said a "no no".

- Asked by newnumbersguy32, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Financial / Banking

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NNG it's been used through the generations in each their own way. Ever had someone tell you to take a chill pill? Same idea :). It's not a no no because these days folks know it means hold your horses and cool your jets not, take your pants off literally.

- Response by lioness21, A Player, Female, 29-35, Consulting

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Keep your pants on

Meaning: Calm down, be patient.

Example: I will be off the telephone in a minute, so keep your pants on.

Origin: Appears to suggest that one should calm down because romance is not imminent. This phrase is actually a derivation of "keep your shirt on". It is an interesting example of how phrases can adapt to obscure the origin.

Keep your shirt on

Meaning: Calm down, be patient.

Example: Just keep your shirt on, dinner is almost ready.

Origin: Before modern manufacturing techniques, shirts, and all clothes for that matter, required a lot of labor to make. They were more expensive than they are today. Someone thinking of starting a fight might take off his shirt to prevent damage. Telling someone to "keep his shirt on" was equivalent to telling him "I don't want to fight".

This phrase has been twisted into the equivalent "Keep your pants on".

Alternative: In addition to fights, a man would often remove his shirt in preparation for a laborious task.

hmmm, sounds to me like you told that person that you don't want to fight them and that you would get it done as quickly as you could to keep them happy.

- Response by nightshift, A Mr. Married Guy, Male, 36-45, Edmonton, Civil Service

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No clue its just like the saying hold your horses WTF

- Response by melodyalise, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Salt Lake City, Managerial

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That came from my "EX"... I hated when she'd say that...

- Response by mikegeeboyd, A Life of the Party, Male, 56-65, Artist / Musician / Writer

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Keep your pants on and I will find out for you.


- Response by sportsnut7875, A Life of the Party, Male, 36-45, Technical

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I think I started that phrase in high school...Damn boys =)

- Response by sweetnovember, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Executive

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Just like saying, "hold your horses" LOL too funny -- brings back some memories (thanks).

- Response by lilkat316, A Cool Mom, Female, 56-65

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