View Full Version : Men's undies in the US

06-10-2010, 05:08 PM

In Australia, young boys wear underpants or briefs, and they look much like girls' except that they have thicker elastic edges and they're more boyish, obviously.

As they get older, there is another kind of underpants which has what we call a 'y-front'. It has an opening to make going to the bathroom easier.

Does this kind of underwear have a specific name? My American friend says just call them briefs, but in Australia girls wear 'briefs' too, and the Y is what really differentiates between male and female undies.

I have a female character who wears y-fronts to a medical checkup as a protest. Any ideas about what Americans call these undies would be very helpful!


06-10-2010, 05:10 PM
Tighty whiteys. :D

Smiling Ted
06-10-2010, 05:11 PM
We call them "underpants" or sometimes "tighty-whiteys." Technically, the term "briefs" is correct, but the only times I've heard it used, it's been to distinguish them from boxer underwear or occasionally by clothes salesmen.

06-10-2010, 05:13 PM
I call it underwear. :)

We generally have three types: Boxers. Briefs. Then a combo of the two, called boxer briefs.

06-10-2010, 05:29 PM
Thanks all. I just looked up an underwear catalogue online and it called the y at the front - you know, the bit that opens - a fly. Is that common? We normally only say fly for jeans or long pants.

Do you call it a fly on briefs?

I never thought I'd be researching men's undies.


06-10-2010, 07:13 PM
I don't know about common, but yeah, I've heard it referred to as that. I just don't bother calling underwear anything but underwear, whether it's for boys or girls.

If I were you? I'd just say men's underwear and be done with it. :)

06-10-2010, 07:20 PM
I've never heard fly on briefs. Tighty whiteys will get the point across.

Women's are usually called panties.

But men's briefs are super comfy, I must admit.

Chris P
06-10-2010, 07:25 PM
"Briefs" is technically correct for "tighty-whitey" y-fronts, versus the other popular style, "boxers" or "boxer shorts" which are, oddly enough, like the shorts boxers wear. Once a boy has outgrown diapers ("nappies" in UK, dunno about Aus), he can either wear white y-fronts or Spiderman briefs, which might or might not have y-fronts. Some younger boys wear boxers (my step son did from the time he was seven or so), and for adults there are male bikini briefs and thongs.

Speaking of the step son and underwear, one day he came to me said out of the blue "Did you know they make rubber underwear and stuff?" He lost internet privileges for a time.

06-10-2010, 07:27 PM
TIghty whiteys is perjorative though, isn't it?

And yes, it's a fly. Though most people don't get so detailed talking about their underwear.

06-10-2010, 07:28 PM
It does create a handy little pocket though ...

Chris P
06-10-2010, 07:30 PM
TIghty whiteys is perjorative though, isn't it?

Mildly. "Oh, look at your cute tighty whiteys!" is not what I want to hear a woman say the first time we're intimate. Not sexy a-tall! Sort of like "Granny panties" for women.

06-10-2010, 07:32 PM
Just don't go looking for any small change on the bus.

It does create a handy little pocket though ...

Wayne K
06-10-2010, 07:40 PM
We used to call them Fruit of the Loom's no matter what the brand was.

06-10-2010, 07:42 PM
Yes, I've heard them referred to by their brand, "Hanes," also. Just so long as they don't call them "Depends."

06-10-2010, 07:56 PM
The general term is underwear. If you buy, Haynes, or Fruit of the Loom, or Hugo Boss, or Ralph Lauren et al, you will get the choice of briefs (Y front) or boxers. These are the standard types and are identified which is which on the packaging. There are more exotic kinds, however.
BTW in the US all boys/mens briefs and boxers come with a fly front.

06-10-2010, 09:10 PM
Check this:

Remember this is how to distinguish them when you are buying them. I don't know what guys call them when they're in casual conversation except 'underwear.'

06-10-2010, 09:13 PM
I call it underwear. :)

We generally have three types: Boxers. Briefs. Then a combo of the two, called boxer briefs.


06-10-2010, 09:29 PM
I've been living in the U.S.A. for decades, and I have worn briefs as long as I remember and called them briefs. They all had flies, but I have never heard of "tighty whities" before. Then there are jockey shorts that are tighter and do not have a fly.

06-11-2010, 04:15 AM
Wow - thanks for all of that! I think that I will stick with 'men's briefs'. This has been a very educational thread for me.

I can now use 'tighty whiteys', 'Hanes', 'boxers' (I already knew that one), 'Fruit of the Loom', 'Depends' (knew that one too) and 'bikini briefs' with confidence. I know not to use borrowed change on the bus from any man who reaches into his 'front pocket'.


06-11-2010, 04:31 AM
There are sport briefs too...

Jersey Chick
06-11-2010, 04:34 AM
I've never heard "tightey-whities" and "cute" uttered in the same sentence. :D

Boxers or briefs (am I the only one who remembers - and cringes - when Bill Clinton answered this question on TV?)

I just say underwear.

06-11-2010, 04:36 AM
Anyone notice the add at the top of the page?

06-11-2010, 05:04 AM
The truth of the matter is if men weren't so freakin' terrified of zippers we wouldn't wear any kind of underwear.

06-11-2010, 05:10 AM
Ah! A 22 post thread on underwear. AW is awesome.

06-11-2010, 05:16 AM
"My boys need a house!" - Kramer

Is jockey shorts a common enough term for male briefs? I've heard it used as well.

06-11-2010, 05:37 AM
Jockey is a brand. It was the original brand of open fly men's briefs. I know that from a plaque in the Women's Club of Kenosha, Wisconsin. (the plaque is there because the founder of Jockey used to live in the house when it was a private residence.)

ETA: And here it is in Wikipedia:

Oops, got part wrong. One of the owners of the house was the inventor of closed crotch underwear when he worked for Cooper's Kenosha Klosed Krotch Underwear Company, which was renamed Jockey after they invented open crotch underwear in 1935. So what did men wear before closed or open crotches?

06-11-2010, 06:11 AM
So what did men wear before closed or open crotches?

Codpieces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codpiece)were in fashion for some time.

06-11-2010, 06:25 AM
Jockey is a brand name that has come into use as an item descriptor--Jockeys or Jockey shorts,
Think Xerox used as a verb.


"My boys need a house!" - Kramer

Is jockey shorts a common enough term for male briefs? I've heard it used as well.

Kathie Freeman
06-11-2010, 07:29 PM
The men in my family always called them jockey shorts.