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Tights

Tights are a kind of cloth garment, most often sheathing the body from the waist to the toe tips with a tight fit, hence the name. They come in absolute opaque, opaque, sheer and fishnet styles or a combination of them, such as the original concept of the American term pantyhose with sheer legs and opaque panty. Wearing of tights has a history going back several centuries, when they were worn by men. Today, they are worn primarily by women and girls. However, some men and boys wear them too. In recent years, they have been sometimes offered as men's fashion. Athletic tights are already considered unisex.

In American English, the difference between pantyhose and tights is determined in the weight of the yarn used and the thickness to which the garment is knitted. Generally, anything up to 40 denier in the leg or overall is known as pantyhose and anything over can be classified as tights, as for example 'running tights' and 'cycling tights'. In the United Kingdom, the word "tights" is used in all cases when referring to pantyhose, and " leggings" for footless tights of heavier, normally opaque material. Tights can be sheer yet solid in colour, whereas leggings are almost or absolute opaque, not sheer. Thus the almost opaque tights are not suited as pants.

There are many sub-classifications of tights or pantyhose that describe the precise construction (such as control top, seamless, support and sheer). Although most tights are mainly nylon or cotton, lycra is normally included in modern blends to improve fit. Athletic tights are absolute opaque and often footless, although they may have a "stirrup" that goes under the foot to hold the cuff down near the ankle.

In both historic and modern times, the wearing of tight hosiery by males has sometimes been associated with an accompanying garment fitted over the groin of the male genitalia. In the 15th century, some men wore an elaborate and decorative cod piece to accentuate their genital endowment, and as a symbol of their virility. In modern times, male ballet dancers generally wear a dance belt beneath their tights both to provide support to the genitalia and to promote a smooth, regular appearance since tights are so skin tight as to be revealing of the contours of the male anatomy.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

tights

noun
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADJECTIVE
black
▪ She wore black tights, and maroon socks that stuck up above her boots.
▪ Aristoc black opaque tights, £1.89.
▪ She looked so dainty sitting there in a black skirt, black tights, and sneaks.
▪ In one she was dressed in a leotard, black tights and high heels - and sat astride a rocking horse.
▪ The tight wool mini just wider than the belt which held it up, ended where the ripped black tights began.
▪ Maggie sails back and forth behind the counter, wearing a mini-dress, black tights, black pumps.
▪ She wore an emerald green silk shirt, a very short black leather skirt and black tights.
■ VERB
wear
▪ Badly fitting shoes will rub even more painfully if you are not wearing tights.
▪ She wore black tights, and maroon socks that stuck up above her boots.
▪ Rainbow says that if she has to wear tights or stockings, we might as well forget the whole damned thing.
▪ Women can wear different colour tights, or a new scarf or shirt.
▪ She was wearing blue tights and sandals and had hitched her dress well up in order to swing her legs.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ A crew-cut woman in dance tights and a big overcoat nodded off in the corner.
▪ A ladder in her tights, her fingernails noticeably chewed down.
▪ And the stretch tights look mighty cool worn with a close-fitting ribbed turtleneck.
▪ I washed out a pair of tights and sewed on a button.
▪ She looked so dainty sitting there in a black skirt, black tights, and sneaks.
▪ Taking off everything, but overlooking the tights, she fell into the tub.
▪ Too short tights or stockings can also harm feet.
Wiktionary

tights

n. 1 A close-fitting, sheer or non-sheer skin-tight garment worn principally by women and girls that covers the body completely from the waist down, usually including the foot. 2 A similar, non-sheer garment worn by dancers of either sex, especially by ballet dancers. 3 In blasting rock, a piece of unbroken rock within the pay limit of a blast.

WordNet

tights

  1. n. skintight knit hose covering the body from the waist to the feet worn by acrobats and dancers and as stockings by women and girls [syn: leotards]

  2. man's garment of the 16th and 17th centuries; worn with a doublet [syn: hose]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

tights

1827, "tight-fitting breeches," from tight. Meaning "skin-tights worn by dancers, acrobats, etc." is attested from 1836.\n

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tights

Tights \Tights\, n. pl. Close-fitting garments, especially for the lower part of the body and the legs.

Usage examples of "tights".

The uniform was as archaistic as tights and a doublet, and much more uncomfortable.