Twanglish Lesson: Drawers

Today’s Twanglish Lesson is so common in Southern speech that, if you’ve never lived outside the South, you forget that it’s not just common English. No, it’s not about the slide-out compartments in one’s bedroom dresser. It’s about the unmentionables one keeps inside them.

Drawersnoun’s underwear; panties; an undergarment worn below the waist with an opening for each leg

Baby, does these drawers smell clean to you?

A quick search of “the Googles” reveals that this usage of “drawers” dates back to 16th century England. We at RSM are constantly fascinated by English terms and traditions that took hold in the South but were largely abandoned in the rest of the US. They are so named because they are pulled or drawn on. In fact, one result suggested that this meaning of the word actually predates the more common usage applying to furniture or cabinets.

The real fun of “drawers” is in the pronunciation. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they say it. If a woman makes a whispered reference to her “draw-ahs,” you can bet that hers cost more than the chest of drawers in which you keep your own. (If she uses this pronunciation, but speaks it loudly, you can guarantee they’re red and tiny … or possibly non-existent.)

A man who says “draws” probably alternately refers to them as “long handles” and considers those, his work boots and a hat as perfectly acceptable attire for a midnight run outside to the bathroom. If he says “drores,” however, you can bet that his unmentionables come in one variety: tight and white.

6 Responses to “Twanglish Lesson: Drawers”

  1. My “real southern” Bigmama (how’s that for a southern name?) called them “step-ins.”

  2. My Mamaw had a chesterdrawers not chest of drawers. 🙂

  3. Sometimes my grammaw “warshed” her drawers out in the sink. And when they were dry she put them in the chesterdrawers.

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