AskDefine | Define shorts

Dictionary Definition



1 trousers that end at or above the knee [syn: short pants, trunks]
2 (usually in the plural) underpants worn by men [syn: drawers, underdrawers, boxers, boxershorts]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Plural of short
  2. Pants worn primarily in the summer that does not go lower than the knees.
    Jessica hated covering her legs, so she rarely wore anything but shorts.


Plural of short
Pants worn primarily in the summer that does not go lower than the knees



  1. Plural of short
    Est-ce qu'il vous reste des shorts comme celui-ci en stock?



  1. trousers with short legs, no longer than to the knees.



shorts (pl)
  1. trousers with short legs. Does generally not reach to the knees.

Extensive Definition

"Hot Pants" redirects here. For the James Brown song see Hot Pants (song)
Shorts are a garment worn by both men and women over their pelvic area, circling the waist, and covering the upper part of the upper legs or more, sometimes extending as far as mid-calf, but not covering the entire length of the leg, either as outer or undergarment. They are called "shorts" because they are a shortened version of pants which cover the entire leg.


Within the United States, historically, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, shorts were only worn by young boys until they reached a certain height or maturity. When they got older, they would receive their first pair of long trousers. This produced the perception that shorts were only for young boys. Because of this, men would not wear shorts to avoid looking immature. Since about World War II, when soldiers often served in tropical locations, adult men have worn shorts more often, but the perception of shorts only being for young boys took several decades to change and to some extent still exists.
Today, shorts are worn by either sex in the United States, from birth through old age without any stigma attached. But in many countries there are few formal settings where wearing shorts would be acceptable, as they are considered casual wear. In many American offices, where there is an official casual dress standard, shorts are often specifically forbidden. Since the 1990s casual office dress has grown in many businesses to include dress shorts. Gym and jean shorts are often seen as too casual for office attire.
In Africa and the Middle East, the wearing of shorts by adults is less common. While it is common for boys to wear shorts, women and young girls almost universally do not. These customs are often due in part to moral and social taboos regarding the perceived sexually suggestive nature of exposing the female legs.


There are many styles of shorts:
  • Baggies: Loose fitting shorts which reach the knees. These were the standard shorts worn by English football teams before * Cycling shorts: Skin-tight shorts originally worn by cyclists to reduce chafing while cycling, but which have since been adopted as street wear and active wear by girls and younger women. Also commonly known as "bike shorts".
  • Dolphin shorts: An athletic style of shorts, notable for visible binding of an often contrasting color. The name may refer to a side-view of the binding of each leg's lower hem, resembling the shape of a dolphin tail. Like gym shorts, they often feature a cord to be tied around the waist at the front. These were a popular trend in the 1980s gym scene.
  • Gym shorts: Cotton, spandex, polyester(which can be divided into even more subsections such as dazzle [a ribbed shiny effect], shimmer [like dazzle but not ribbed], or other things), or other synthetic fiber. Usually has a cord sewn in that can be tied at the front, can be tied on the inside or outside, depending on the short. Gym shorts are often worn in gym class or for participation in sports, hence the name, but they are worn as casual wear almost as much, especially in adolescents. They are usually not form fitting when worn by men or female athletes, but are often form fitting when worn by women as casual dress. Length is usually from just above the knee to just below the knee. In the 1970s and 1980s in the US gym shorts were often form fitting and only slightly longer than boxer shorts.
  • Hot pants: Commonly known as "short shorts." These are short, tight shorts, usually made of cotton, nylon, or some other common material. They are meant to emphasize the buttocks and the legs. Hot pants are sometimes worn with dark tights and knee-length boots to create an edgy, sexy look. Hot pants were very popular in the early 1970s, but declined in popularity during the late 1970s. This fashion revived in the 1990s.
  • Jorts: Jean shorts. In the mid 1980s, before the term "jorts" had entered widespread usage, some fashion gurus had already begun to insult jorts wearers in an attempt to minimize the impact of jorts upon the fashion world. These transparent attempts to defame jorts and other such garments were later dubbed "sharts." Jorts are extremely popular amongst male students at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Lederhosen: Traditional German leather shorts.
  • Plaid shorts: fabricated woven of differently colored yarns in a crossbarred pattern. Popularized by "skater" stores, but now becoming more "preppy"
  • Running shorts: Reach only the upper thigh; intended to provide maximum freedom of movement in sports activities. These are often made from Nylon, which has the advantage of being very hardwearing. After Adidas sponsored the 1980 Olympic Games, Adidas nylon track shorts were a fashion item for some years.
  • Skorts: Have a piece of fabric in front, creating the illusion of being a skirt from the front. The term is a portmanteau of "skirt" and "shorts".
  • Short shorts: By the mid-1950s, post-WWII Americans were beginning to relax and enjoy both their new economic and baby booms as their offspring which were just entering their teens. Television and rock'n'roll captured taste and fashion, including the new "short shorts" fad, since Bermuda shorts were considered old, dull, and "fuddy-duddy" although, as author of History of Costume and FIT Professor Rachel Kemper noted, "Short shorts left a girl's ass hanging out." The Royal Teens wrote and sang the Short Shorts song (1957) (in which "short shorts" is mentioned 18 times). The Short Shorts song itself was referred to in Sheb Wooley's Purple People Eater song (1958).
    • Short shorts also refers to the older style of tight basketball shorts which went to mid-thigh worn by players until the 1990s, when looser shorts that went down to the knee became preferred by players.
  • Three quarter pants: A name used to refer to other types of shorts such as Shants or Shankles.
  • Zip-off shorts: A pair of long pants that zip off at the knee, allowing the wearer to change from pants to shorts as the weather changes.


shorts in German: Shorts
shorts in Spanish: Shorts
shorts in French: short
shorts in Dutch: Hotpants
shorts in Japanese: ショーツ
shorts in Norwegian: Shorts
shorts in Portuguese: Short
shorts in Russian: Шорты
shorts in Simple English: Shorts
shorts in Swedish: Kortbyxor
shorts in Chinese: 短裤
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