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Put a sock in it
Posted: 11 January 2010 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I’ve noticed that Britons still use ‘stocking’ for what Santa deposits his gifts in. For most adults here a stocking is a sexy item of lingerie held up by suspenders attached to a suspender belt whereas stockings and suspenders in the States are for holding up men’s socks/stockings I believe (though this could be obsolete?). I think the sexy equivalent in America is garters and garter belts. Garters here are frilly elasticated bands round the tops of stockings which serve an aesthetic but no practical purpose. Original women’s suspenders/garters, say in the 1940s?, were to keep the stockings taut and prevent wrinkling before the days of tights/pantyhose which allowed no access and were warmer. Is hose still used in the States? Shakespeare wore them and there is hosiery too.
The mean trick played on Malvolio in Twelfth Night:
“She did commend my yellow stockings of late, she did praise my
leg being cross-gartered”
suggests these terms have diverged pondwise.

Britons also have:
girdle - for restraining female fat. Truss for men. Very practical.
corset - same as above?
basque - sexy connotations now, but (dictionary.com)

“3.  (lowercase) a close-fitting bodice, sometimes having an extension that covers the hips.
4.  (lowercase) the extension of this bodice or of a doublet.”

I can’t find anything relating it to the Basques of independent language fame. OED? I think the corset sense of basque reached us from the French language. Pity we can’t post photos of these various usages! I think modern productions of Malvolio’s gear are guesswork.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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No, here in the states stockings are exclusively a female item of clothing (and the word is also used for the Xmas gift depository). Men wear socks. Hose and hosiery are in use, but my impression is that they are industry terms and found in ads and catalogs, but not everyday speech--with the exception of the compound pantyhose, which is in everyday use.

You’re right about US usage of garter and garter belt, but suspenders are used to hold up men’s trousers, in lieu of a belt.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Your US usage is off.

We also hang stockings by the chimney with care at Christmas.  They could only be worn by oddly-built ogres or trolls who are into fur and glitter.

Women’s sheer stockings or hose come in varieties that hold themselves up or are held up with garters or a garter belt. If both legs are one with an undergarment that covers the pelvis, they are pantyhose, but might still be called informally stockings or simply hose.  You will find them in the Women’s Hosiery department at the store. If they’re not sheer, they may go by other names - leggings, tights, etc.

Very old men’s socks could be held up with garters.  Men’s garters are usually more like a garter belt for the calf that holds the sock up by 1 or 2 straps.  Men’s socks might be found in the Men’s Hosiery department but they’re not usually called hose or stockings although there are support hose if you have circulation problems.

Suspenders hold up men’s pants.  Pants are trousers!

Girdles cover the middle.  Panty/Pantie girdles obviously include UK pants.  Corsets support the stomach and usually the bust, but are not generally “pantied”.  American football players wear a girdle to keep various pads in place but they don’t like to talk about it.  Men’s girdles would go by some marketing euphemism such as a “control brief”.

Trusses hold in your hernia.

I haven’t heard basque in use.

[ Edited: 11 January 2010 10:08 AM by Myridon ]
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Posted: 11 January 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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In my schooldays, I wore garters, which were pieces of elastic that went around the leg above the calf and kept your long socks up.  They could also be removed and, at the risk of losing them, flicked into the back of the neck of someone you disliked or used as anti-aircraft weapons against flying insects.  The little belts with dangly bits that were used to hold up short socks was, AFAIR, called sock-suspenders.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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AmE suspenders = BrE braces, hence the BrE expression “a belt-and-braces solution” for something with extra safety built in. What footballers (= soccer players) wear on their lower legs used to be called “stockings” but I doubt that they’ve been called anything other than “football socks” for the past four decades, at least.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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No, here in the states stockings are exclusively a female item of clothing (and the word is also used for the Xmas gift depository). Men wear socks.

This accurately sums up US usage, except that the stock expression “stocking feet” is sometimes applied to men, e.g. “He stands six-foot-three in his stocking feet.” One might say “in his socks” but “in his sock feet” or “...socked feet” would be abnormal.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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In my youth in the UK of the 50s the two terms were differentiated, Stockings covered the leg as well as foot, socks only the foot and ankle. OED confirms the usage, as well as the shift of stocking to become gender-specific.

sock, n.1

2. a. A short stocking covering the foot and usually reaching to the calf of the leg; half-hose; also, = ankle sock.

stocking, n.

1. a. A close-fitting garment covering the foot, the leg, and often the knee, usually made of knitted or woven wool, silk, or cotton; now spec. as a woman’s usu. diaphanous leg-covering (esp. of silk or nylon) reaching to the thigh. Chiefly pl.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Among this delightful shower of assorted undergarments, nobody has yet mentioned the oldest and most distinguished Garter of them all, as in “Garter, Order of the”. The garters worn by English ladies in the14th century, were of leather, and fastened with a buckle—the armorial garter is always so depicted. I doubt if most ladies nowadays would care to wear such things in public, though there might still be a place for them in a certain kind of boudoir (Note to self: send a suggestion to Lady Sonia. Honi soit qui mal y pense)

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Posted: 11 January 2010 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Dr. Techie - 11 January 2010 11:39 AM

… except that the stock expression “stocking feet” is sometimes applied to men, e.g. “He stands six-foot-three in his stocking feet.” One might say “in his socks” but “in his sock feet” or “...socked feet” would be abnormal.

*blush* I always thought the expression was “in his stockinged feet”, and so did James Joyce in Ulysses, among others, but it appears we are both guilty of what the American Dialect Society called in 1940 a “malformation of the sparrowgrass type”, or what we would now call an eggcorn.

[ Edited: 11 January 2010 02:17 PM by Zythophile ]
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Posted: 11 January 2010 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I’d just call it hypercorrection. “Stockinged feet” seems more logical, but established idiom omits the “-ed”.

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Posted: 11 January 2010 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Dr. Techie - 11 January 2010 03:02 PM

I’d just call it hypercorrection.

Indeed. OED confirms the well-established usage stocking-feet.

stocking-foot

c. (in, on) one’s stocking feet: with only one’s stockings on one’s feet, without one’s shoes.

1802 R. ANDERSON Cumbld. Ball. (1808) 13 Wully..in his clogs top teyme did beat; But Tamer, in her stockin feet, She bang’d him out and out. 1809 W. IRVING Knickerb. III. iii. (1820) 178 Leaving their shoes at the door, and entering devoutly on their stocking feet. 1854 THACKERAY Newcomes viii, Binnie found the Colonel..arrayed in what are called in Scotland his stocking-feet. 1858 TROLLOPE Dr. Thorne xii, In his stocking-feet..he was five feet five. 1901 THEODORA W. WILSON T’ Bacca Queen xxvii. 247 Her husband was seated in stocking feet in the rocking-chair.

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Posted: 13 January 2010 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Thanks for the corrections. I should have remembered braces/suspenders a la Larry King. I too thought it was stockinged feet. Nor did I know trusses were for hernias.
Google imaging ‘corset’ with the filter off gets more sexy stuff than ‘basque’ (reflecting modern usage in many cases ie hits) both of which are explained in wikipedia with (B)basque including apparel, people, language.  Wikipedia on the basque:

“The term, of French origin, refers to a type of bodice or jacket, and in modern usage a long corset, characterized by a close, contoured fit and extending past the waistline over the hips. So-called because the fashion was adopted from Basque traditional dress, initially by the French and then throughout Western fashion.”

The Basques don’t use these terms, of course, in their language. Euskaldunak are the speakers and the people, apparently.

Malvolio stockinged and cross garter’d: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cordelia/28121709/
as imagined today.

I am reminded of American pantywaist:

pant·y·waist
n.
1. A child’s undergarment consisting of a shirt and pants buttoned together at the waist.
2. Slang A boy or man who is considered weak or effeminate. (AHD)

I had imagined this as a woman’s girdle and was completely wrong. For the second definition Brits might say nancy boy which is archaic but you occasionally here it. Captain Mainwaring in the BBC comedy show Dad’s Army reprimanded Sgt Wilson, standing with his hand on his hip, for looking like one (set during WW2, filmed in 1970s). Now it is used for humorous effect or by very old people if serious.

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Posted: 13 January 2010 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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bayard and aldi’s comments have reminded me that I too used the term ankle socks but I only ever wore elasticated garters (with nifty green chevron things) as a cub and boy scout. (Do American scouts use ‘woggles’ round neckerchiefs?). All these sock devices seem superfluous unless there was a time before elastic when men’s garters were necessary. Did soccer players ever use the boy scout version? - I have vague memories of these from avoiding team sports as a schoolkid. How do their socks stay up now?

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Posted: 13 January 2010 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Do American scouts use ‘woggles’ round neckerchiefs?

No. (At least it’s not a common term.) They use boondoggles.

This talk about garters reminds me of another, similar device used in the army, the blousing rubber. It’s a short cord of elastic thread with hooks at both ends. You fasten it around your leg, over your pants which are tucked into your boot, just above your boot top, and drape ("blouse") an inch or so of your pants material over the cord. It’s not strictly necessary, one can blouse your boots by tucking them into the boot and then using the boot top to drape the material, but a blousing rubber will give a crisper look that lasts longer.

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Posted: 13 January 2010 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Dave Wilton - 13 January 2010 07:20 AM

Do American scouts use ‘woggles’ round neckerchiefs?

No. (At least it’s not a common term.) They use boondoggles.

This talk about garters reminds me of another, similar device used in the army, the blousing rubber. It’s a short cord of elastic thread with hooks at both ends. You fasten it around your leg, over your pants which are tucked into your boot, just above your boot top, and drape ("blouse") an inch or so of your pants material over the cord. It’s not strictly necessary, one can blouse your boots by tucking them into the boot and then using the boot top to drape the material, but a blousing rubber will give a crisper look that lasts longer.

Would this be the equivalent to the gaiter of the British Army? I recall blancoing the damn things each night when I served in the 60s, along with other pieces of webbing like belt, ammo packs, etc. When the MoD finally issued new webbing which needed no upkeep the joy was general and unalloyed in the ranks, although a profound gloom must have been at that same moment settling over the head offices of the manufacterers of Blanco.

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