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From under- +‎ -wear. Compare Dutch ondergoed, German Unterwäsche, Swedish underkläder.



underwear (uncountable)

  1. Clothes worn next to the skin, underneath outer clothing.
    • 1998, Banjo-Kazooie, Rareware:
      Don't scratch and bite, my little bear, you'll soon need bigger underwear.
    • 2016 June 30, Stefan Hertmans, War and Turpentine[1], Random House, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 202:
      As a couple of soldiers sing a dirty song, he loses sight of the edge of the stage and falls off in the middle of his dance like a seasoned slapstick artist, his white legs in the air and his filthy underwear visible to all.
  2. (colloquial) Underpants (boxers, briefs, panties, etc) and often bras.
    • 2006, Toni L. Meilleur, Tournament of Fire:
      “A thong,” she answered him breathlessly. Now completely turned on by the fact that his man was sniffing her underwear and grinning like a tiger that took down its prey. That is if tigers could smile and still look sexy.


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