Skivvies

Meaning

What does Skivvies mean?

Skivvies may be used for a range of things – or people – depending on the region and context it is applied in.

In the United States, “Skivvies” is mostly used to refer to men’s undergarments, while in Great Britain, the same word is used to describe someone as a servant both in the sexual and employment senses.

Origin

What's the origin of Skivvies?

Although the origin of the term “Skivvies” is unknown in its entirety, it first started to appear in London slang, used for a female domestic servant, with the earliest mention of the word published in print dating back to 1902.

It first emerged in America, especially the Navy, used for undergarments – specifically a shirt and shorts – in the 1930’s, with the first mention in print appearing in 1932.

Spread & Usage

How did Skivvies spread?

“Skivvies” spread in the 1900’s, especially during World War 2, due to the nautical origin of the term’s American use.

Despite this, its use wasn’t viral even in the 1980’s, when it finally started to get a wider recognition, thanks to the power of the internet.

“Skivvies” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on January 26th, 2000, with several other entries following in the subsequent years

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