As an underwear blog writer, I write a lot about underwear (...obviously). So I spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to talk about undies. And the question of how to say the plural of underwear comes up often. Is pair of underwear plural? Is underwear plural itself?
With women’s underwear styles, you have the singular panty and plural panties, like hipster panties. But then with some men’s underwear types, like mens boxers, it gets a bit weird because just one pair is still a pair of boxers, not a boxer.
As I’m sure you can see, I’ve spiraled about the plural of underwear many times. If you too have wondered “what is the plural of underwear?”, keep reading because we'll cover all of that and more.
IS UNDERWEAR PLURAL?
Technically underwear is both plural and singular. And with underwear, you don’t put a number or general article in front of the word. (Grammar 101 reminder: general articles are words like a or an.) So you can say “I have a pair of underwear,” but not “I have an underwear.” That’s because underwear is an uncountable noun.
In the English language, uncountable nouns are things that we don’t count with numbers. They’re either too abstract, small, or formless to count. Think of tea, water, or even love. You can’t really count those things. And like underwear, you wouldn’t use a number or general article with these types of nouns. If you say something like “I’ll have a water,” that means you’ll have a cup or bottle of water.
With underwear, you can use the context in the sentence to decipher if it’s more than one pair. So if someone says, “I put on my underwear this morning,” first of all, good for them. But you can pretty much determine that they mean one pair of underwear. On the other hand, if someone says, “I packed my underwear for our month-long trip around Europe,” they mean more than one pair (at least I hope so!).
HOW DO OTHER LANGUAGES SAY THE PLURAL OF UNDERWEAR?
As I mentioned, underwear is an uncountable noun in the English language. But not all languages treat underwear as uncountable. Some have a plural of underwear:
- In Afrikaans, onderbroek is singular and onderbroeke is plural.
- In Tagalog (used in the Philippines), pánti is singular, while mga pánti is plural.
- In French, sous-vêtement is singular and sous-vêtements is plural.
- In Latin American Spanish, calzón is singular and calzones is plural. (anybody else hungry for calzones now??)
However, some languages’ singular and plural of underwear is the same (like it is in English):
- In Danish, undertøj is both the singular and plural of underwear.
- In Dutch, ondergoed is both singular or plural, which is interesting because Afrikaans (which is partially derived from Dutch) has a separate ingular and plural form.
- In Fijian, tarusese is both plural and singular and also means pants or shorts.
OTHER WAYS TO SAY THE PLURAL OF UNDERWEAR
Even within the English language, there are other ways to say the plural of underwear. Like, is pair of underwear plural? Yes! You can also say:
- Granny panties
- But huts
- Grape smugglers
- Junk trunks
- Tighty whities
- Butt huggers
- Shreddies (in New Zealand)
- Underdaks (for all my Aussies out there)
Psst…if you’re looking for more ways to say underwear, check out our article on names for underwear!
SO, WHAT IS THE PLURAL OF UNDERWEAR?
As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, underwear is the plural of underwear! But you can also denote more than one by saying pair of underwear, underpants, undies, or any of the amazingly fun underwear slang terms like butt bags.
What’s your favorite way to say the plural of underwear? Let me know in the comments below!