The word Pants comes from the name of a stock figure in the commedia dell’arte, Pantalone. He was wearing red tight-fitting breeches and stockings which in later representations of the character, were replaced by long trousers. When trousers of a similar style became popular, they became known as pantaloons. The word used to refer to various types of trousers. Americans clipped the term to pants in the early 19th century, and that shorter word became a standard term for the garment. However in British English, pants is used most often to refer to underpants.