AskDefine | Define lingerie

Dictionary Definition

lingerie n : women's underwear and nightclothes [syn: intimate apparel]

User Contributed Dictionary



From French lingerie.


  • /ˈlænʒəri/ or /ˌlɑn(d)ʒəˈɹeɪ/


  1. women's underwear or light, revealing nightclothes.


See also



From linge.




lingerie f
  1. linen room
  2. lingerie

Extensive Definition

Lingerie is a term for fashionable and alluring women's undergarments. It derives from the French word linge, "washables"— as in faire le linge, "do the laundry"— and ultimately from lin for washable linen, the fabric from which European undergarments were made before the general introduction of cotton from Egypt and then from India. While the term in the French language applies to all undergarments for either gender, in English it is applied specifically to those women's undergarments designed to be visually appealing or erotic, typically incorporating materials such as Lycra, nylon (nylon tricot), polyester, satin, lace and/or silk and not applied to functional cotton undergarments. It is commonly pronounced in English with a faux French pronunciation (such as LONJ-er-ee in British pronunciation or lonj-er-AY in American pronunciation).
The concept of lingerie being visually appealing was a development of the later nineteenth century. Up through the first half of the 20th century women selected underwear for three major purposes: to alter their shape (first with corsets and later with girdles or bras), for reasons of hygiene, or for modesty. Women's underwear before the invention of the crinoline was often very large and bulky. As the 20th century progressed underwear became smaller and more form fitting. In the 1960s 'controversial' lingerie manufacturers such as Frederick's of Hollywood begin to glamorize lingerie and the idea of lingerie having a sexual appeal slowly developed.
The lingerie industry has expanded in the 21st century with designs that double as outerwear. The French refer to this as 'dessous-dessus' which basically means innerwear as outerwear. The boutique Faire Frou Frou, which is an antiquated phrase meaning "show it off", heralds this philosophy by categorizing lingerie as an accessory with details such as straps and lace trim that should be layered and shown as part of one's outerwear.


Since the mid-1990's women have had more choice in bra sizes; the focus has changed from choosing bras in an average size to wearing bras that actually fit perfectly. In the UK, for example, the media is fueling an awareness campaign about the need for each woman to have a proper bra fitting before every purchase.
Companies such as Bravissimo, created in 1995 by Sarah Tremellan, have filled the gap. Tremellan, having realised that she did not fit the 'standard' size (then reputed to be 34B and now 34DD), wanted choice. She created Bravissimo, which provides a wide range of lingerie and swimwear in D-K cup. Her company allows women in non-standard sizes, such as 30G or 38J to wear attractive as well as functional lingerie.
Other companies have provided made to measure alternatives. The world famous French House of Cadolle, now owned by the fifth generation Cadolle, Poupie Cadolle, makes bras, corsets and other lingerie on a made to measure basis (also known as Demi-mesure for clothes adapted to fit the customers' measurements). The made to measure method is also used by British firm Kate Gibson Lingerie, founded by Kate Mellor and Katy Gibson. Kate Gibson Lingerie, taking the opposite track from Bravissimo, only produces petite lingerie for women who wear AA to 34B cup bras, thereby provided choice for smaller women. Both Cadolle and Kate Gibson Lingerie use couture fabrics and laces to created designer lingerie and petite designer lingerie.
Companies such as The Natori Company, founded in 1977 by Josie Natori have helped expand lingerie beyond bras and underwear into the areas of sleepwear and loungewear, creating clothes that can be "worn either to bed or out on the town."


lingerie in Tosk Albanian: Dessous
lingerie in Danish: Lingeri
lingerie in German: Reizwäsche
lingerie in Spanish: Lencería
lingerie in French: Lingerie
lingerie in Dutch: Lingerie
lingerie in Japanese: ランジェリー
lingerie in Portuguese: Lingerie
lingerie in Russian: Женское нижнее бельё
lingerie in Swedish: Lingerie
lingerie in Chinese: 女內衣
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1