Is it rude to say "get (one's panties) in a twist?

Mitchell Nakano

Member
Japanese - Japan
Hello teachers,

I noticed many Facebook commentators use the slang "you got your panties in a twist" several times and so looked it up in online slang dictionary.

It says it means "panic or upset"

I guess the meaning can be "to get upset unnecessarily over an unimportant thing". Please correct me if I am wrong.
Is it rude to use this slang in conversation?
 
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Well, it's certainly not polite. It might be appropriate for some conversations (e.g. joking around with your friends), but it involves underwear and has more than a hint of sexism, so it's probably not a terrible idea to avoid the phrase if you're at all uncertain about its reception.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In BE, we say it as "get your knickers in a twist" :)

    It is slang, but it's not considered especially vulgar these days. It's probably a good idea to be careful who you say it to, though. ;)
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    It doesn't matter whether its a man or woman who says it, but it ("don't get your panties in a twist" - knickers might be another matter) would be sexist if used to criticize a man. The implication would then be that his worrying was unmanly, that is, that only people who wear panties (usually women) would be worried about such matters.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It doesn't matter whether its a man or woman who says it, but it ("don't get your panties in a twist" - knickers might be another matter) would be sexist if used to criticize a man. The implication would then be that his worrying was unmanly, that is, that only people who wear panties (usually women) would be worried about such matters.
    Interesting. :) That's not the case in BE, even if only women wear knickers (in theory!:D).
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Really, Keith?:D

    Seriously, I've always taken it to be a bit of a joke (I'm talking about BE, of course). Does anyone remember the 1970s song by Johnny Reggae, "Don't get your knickers in a twist"? I can't remember anybody being offended by that.;)
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    but it ("don't get your panties in a twist" - knickers might be another matter) would be sexist if used to criticize a man.

    Didn't think of it that way. Like Mary Carter in #4, I thought you meant the other way around and that it implies women are more likely to panic over something unimportant.
     

    joanvillafane

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I know I'm part of a dying breed, but I do remember that "intimate apparel" was also known at one time as "unmentionables" and I think there are still social situations in which the allusion to anyone's interior garments - whether they are in a twist or otherwise - is just wrong.
     
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