Wear the trousers and wear the pants are similar phrases that most probably originated in the United States during the 1800s. They are idioms, which is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will look at the meaning of the phrases wear the trousers and wear the pants, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.
To wear the trousers or wear the pants in a relationship means to be the person who is in charge, to be the dominant member of the relationship. The reason that the person in charge of a relationship would be portrayed as wearing trousers or pants is that during the 1800s, society was quite patriarchal. Men were considered to be the heads of their households, and only men word trousers or pants at that time. Even though many households are today headed by women, and trousers and pants may be worn either by men or women, the idioms wear the trousers and wear the pants have survived to describe the dominant person in a relationship.
It was a sexist diktat that made me certain that in life, men would always wear the trousers. (The Scottish Daily Record)
MIAMI, United States — When 74-year-old Leonor Perez cast her vote for Hillary Clinton under a cloudless Florida sky, there was not a shadow of doubt in her mind: “It’s time for a woman to wear the pants in this country.” (The Inquirer)
As the nation decides who gets to wear the pants in the White House for the next four years, members of the Pantsuit Nation gathered near the Green on Tuesday morning to march and declare their support for Democratic candidate and pant-suit fashion icon Hillary Clinton. (The Daily Record)