The jocular British-English phrase to acquire one’s knickers in a twist way to come to be unduly agitated or angry.
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In british English, knickers (short for knickerbockers) denotes short underpants worn by ladies or girls.
In this phrase, twisted apparel is a metaphor for mental confusion. The English novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans – 1819-80) had already used this image in Romola (London, 1863)—Fra Francesco, a Franciscan preacher, has tested the Dominican preacher Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98) come walk through the fire so as to prove the magnificent origin that his doctrines by coming out unhurt:
“It’s the Frate’s doctrines the he’s to prove by gift burned,” said that big public character Goro <…>.“Nay, Goro,” said a sleek shopkeeper, compassionately, “thou hast acquired thy legs into twisted hose there. The Frate needs to prove his doctrines by no being burned: that is come walk v the fire, and also come out on the various other side sound and whole.”
The earliest occurrence that ns have found of to acquire one’s knickers in a twist is indigenous the comic strip Andy Capp, by the brothers cartoonist Reginald Smyth (1917-98), published in the Daily Mirror (London) that Tuesday 26th January 1971—a rental collector is in ~ Andy’s door:
– Andy (from inside the house): Simmer down, lad – Come inside an’ we’ll talk about what i owe yer over a brandy.– rental collector: Grr! Grrr! Yer can’t afford t’ pay yer debts yet yer can afford t’ drink brandy!!– Andy (appearing on the doorstep v two glasses that brandy): Don’t obtain yer knickers in a twist, friend – i ’aven’t paid for this, either.
The second-earliest instance of the phrase is from the Morning Star (London) the Saturday 26th June 1971:
Britain’s foreign Office mandarins have had their knickers in a twist because that the previous fortnight over publication of the an enig Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war.
In the letter to she eleven-year-old daughter released in the Evening Chronicle (Newcastle ~ above Tyne, Northumberland) that Thursday 17th may 1973, the novelist Lee Langley (born 1932) shown that the expression gained currency in 1971:
Dear Sarah,When you check out this letter I can guess what her reaction will certainly be: eyes actors up to heaven, shoulders lifted in a slow shrug, her verdict will arise in one word: “Pathetic!”Last year’s word was a heavily sarcastic “Charming!” (the stock an answer to anything from “your confront needs washing” come “could you make your bed?”), which to be at least an improvement on the previous year “Okay ducky, don’t get your knickers in a twist”.
Don’t acquire Your Knickers in a Twist is the title of an X-rated film mentioned, because that example, in the cinema programs released in The Observer (London) of Sunday 11th February 1973. John Slim alluded to the film in his pillar Postscript, in The Birmingham Post (Birmingham, Warwickshire) that Wednesday 6th June 1973:
Choice wordsThere’s no organization like present business. Peter Johnson, basic manager of the Jacey Cinemas group, reports receiving a telephone speak to from an irate mrs who had actually been frustrated in every her previous initiatives to ascertain what to be on at a particular cinema.From the minute he answer the telephone, she began to enlarge explosively on her problems, allowing her one-man audience no opportunity to join in. Eventually, however, she asked: “And have the right to you phone call me those on . . . ?Mr. Johnson replied: “Don’t get Your Knickers in a Twist.”It no help.
The Daily Mirror (London) the Wednesday 7th in march 1973 published an advertisement for ‘Y-Front’ by Lyle & Scott, i beg your pardon punned on the phrase:
Don’t get his knickers in a twist.Get that the actual thing
The genuine thing is ‘Y-Front’! and also ‘Y-Front’ have been in the business long sufficient to recognize what a guy needs.A actual ‘Y-Front’ garment superbly achieves that suitable blend the softness and absorbency. All ‘Y-Front’ to the right precisely. And, therefore, comfortably. Lock look good,They last and also last.But make certain it’s real ‘Y-Front’. Look because that the surname on the bag and also the garment.With ‘Y-Front’ there space no hang-ups. Or hang-downs. So following time friend buy his underwear, don’t acquire it wherein you acquire your fish fingers. Or even where you get your own underwear.Go come a masculine shop and also ask for the genuine thing. Say ‘Y-Front’. Firmly. Hell feel much better for it.
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Peter Mortimer elaborated ~ above the expression in a film review released in The Journal (Newcastle top top Tyne, Northumberland) that Friday 8 hours June 1973:
“Trip come Kill” (Classic Two, Newcastle, Sunday), gets its moral knickers in a bit of a twist. That a fast moving razmataz affair about ex-cop Joe Ryan (Tom Stern), who returns from Vietnam after being decorated for his heroic deed in diving on top of a grenade — it no explode.Back in Los Angeles, and also disenchanted, he i do not care a long-haired drop-out, cigarette smoking soft dope. Through a collection of incidents, a mysterious medicine investigator, frank Redford (Telly Savalas) implicates Ryan in a plan to record hard drugs king Henry Neilsen (Robert Vaughn).The finale is a Hitchcock-type setup as Ryan is gone after to deserted amphitheatre to fight the end the gory critical act with the drugs men.There’s no doubt the film moves in ~ a good pace, and it’s imaginative directing indigenous Tom Stern. Yet the film’s dubious principles seems based upon quicksand.