AskDefine | Define jeans

User Contributed Dictionary



From Gênes.


  • , /dʒiːnz/, /dZi:nz/
    Rhymes: -iːnz



  1. Plural of jean
  2. A pair of trousers made from denim cotton, normally dyed dark blue.

Derived terms



See also

Extensive Definition

Jeans are trousers made from denim. Originally intended for work, they became popular among teenagers starting in the 1950s. Historic brands include Levi's, Jordache, and Wrangler. Today jeans are a very popular form of casual dress around the world and come in many styles and colors, with the "blue jeans" particularly identified with the American culture, especially the American Old West.


The earliest known precursor to jeans is the Indian export of a thick cotton cloth, in the 16th century, known as dungaree. Dyed in indigo, it was sold near the Dongarii Fort near Bombay. Sailors cut it to suit them.
Jeans fabric was made in Chieri, a town near Turin (Italy), as early as the 1600s. It was sold through the harbour of Genoa, that was the capital of an independent republic, and a naval power. The first were made for the Genoese Navy because it required all-purpose pants for its sailors that could be worn wet or dry, and whose legs could easily be rolled up to wear while swabbing the deck. These jeans would be laundered by dragging them in large mesh nets behind the ship, and the sea water would bleach them white. According to many people the jeans name comes from bleu de Genes, i.e., blue of Genoa. The raw material used to come from the city of Nîmes (France) de Nîmes i.e. denim.

Riveted jeans

In the 1850s Levi Strauss, a German dry goods merchant living in San Francisco, was selling blue jeans under the "Levi's" name to the mining communities of California. One of Strauss's customers was Jacob Davis, a tailor who frequently purchased bolts of cloth from the Levi Strauss & Co wholesale house. After one of Davis's customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at tof the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they both go into business together. After Strauss accepted Davis's offer, on May 20, 1873, the two men received patent #139,921, a patent for an "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings," from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Jeans in popular culture

Blue jeans

Initially, blue jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by workers, especially in the factories during World War II. During this period, men's jeans had the zipper down the front, whereas women's jeans had the zipper down the right side. By the 1960s, both men's and women's jeans had the zipper down the front. In the United States during the 1950s, wearing of blue jeans by teenagers and young adults became symbolic of mild protest against conformity. This was considered by some older adults as disruptive; for example, some movie theaters and restaurants refused to admit patrons who wore blue jeans. During the 1960s the wearing of blue jeans became more acceptable and by the 1970s had become general fashion in the United States, at least for informal wear. Notably, in the mid-1950s the denim and textiles industry was revolutionized by the introduction of the stone-washing technique by GWG (Great Western Garment Co.). Entrepreneur, importer and noted eccentric, Donald Freeland of Edmonton, Alberta, pioneered the method which helped to bring denim to a larger and more versatile market. Denim suddenly became an attractive product for all age groups and Freeland became one of the most important innovators in the history of denim and denim products. It should be noted, also, that Freeland contributed to a variety of other denim textile developments throughout his career with Great Western Garments (GWG) Acceptance of jeans continued through the 1980s and 1990s to the point where jeans are now a wardrobe staple, with the average North American owning seven pairs.
Being imported American products, especially in the case of the Soviet Union which restricted hard currency imports, jeans were somewhat expensive. In Spain they are known as vaqueros or "cowboys," in Danish cowboybukser meaning "cowboy pants" and in Chinese niuzaiku (SC: 牛仔裤), literally, "cowboy pants" (trousers), indicating their association with the American West, cowboy culture, and outdoors work.
Jeans can be worn very loose in a manner that completely conceals the shape of the wearer's lower body, or they can be snugly fitting and accentuate the body. Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of bib overalls without the bib. Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss denominated its flagship product "waist overalls" rather than "jeans".

Blue jean insulation

Recycled blue jean is becoming a popular insulation material (sometimes called Cotton Batt insulation) used in the construction of houses. Due to its low relative synthetic chemical composition and because it is made of recycled materials, it is gaining prominence in green building circles. Like conventional insulation, it moderates heat transfer and reduces sound transfer between floors or rooms. Blue Jean insulation has an excellent R-Value of 3.7, making it a preferable insulator to typical fiberglass batts even without taking into account the environmental considerations.


Fits of jeans are determined by current styles, sex, and by the manufacturer. Here are some of the fits produced for jeans:
Rises in jeans (the distance from the crotch to the waistband) range from high-waisted to superlow-rise (Low rise can be called Low Riders). Jeans for men usually have a longer rise and zipper, whereas women have a shorter rise and zipper, although exceptions do exist and this is largely a function of current trends. In decades past, when high-waisted jeans were popular, it was often the women's that featured a longer rise.

External links

jeans in Arabic: جينز
jeans in Bosnian: Jeans
jeans in Bulgarian: Джинси
jeans in Catalan: Texans
jeans in Czech: Džíny
jeans in Welsh: Jîns
jeans in Danish: Cowboybukser
jeans in German: Jeans
jeans in Estonian: Teksad
jeans in Spanish: Jeans
jeans in Esperanto: Ĝinzo
jeans in French: Blue-jeans
jeans in Hindi: जीन्स
jeans in Korean: 청바지
jeans in Croatian: Jeans
jeans in Indonesian: Jins
jeans in Italian: Blue-jeans
jeans in Hebrew: ג'ינס
jeans in Kazakh: Джинс шалбары
jeans in Dutch: Spijkerbroek
jeans in Japanese: ジーンズ
jeans in Norwegian: Dongeribukse
jeans in Polish: Dżinsy
jeans in Portuguese: Jeans
jeans in Russian: Джинсы
jeans in Simple English: Jeans
jeans in Serbian: Фармерице
jeans in Serbo-Croatian: Jeans
jeans in Finnish: Farmarihousut
jeans in Swedish: Jeans
jeans in Thai: ยีนส์
jeans in Vietnamese: Jeans
jeans in Ukrainian: Джинси
jeans in Chinese: 牛仔裤
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