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msilverstar

What's wrong with pajamas, or pyjamas for that matter?

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Sep. 1st, 2013 | 06:15 pm

I find the term 'sleep pants' jarring, but lots of fanfic writers seems to love it. Why is this? Granted, there's an American (pajamas) vs. British (pyjamas) spelling thing. But it seems odd.


According to Google's ngram viewer (counts the % of times a word or phrase has been used in the books they've digitized), pajama(s) and pyjamas are far more popular than sleep pants and always have been:

Google ngram pajamas vs sleep pants

Is it a fic thing, I wondered?

Column 1 is results from AO3 search for the words (hhmmm, looks kinda broken)
Column 2 is results from Google with the filter site:archiveofourown.org (results all approximate because Google is not into pinpoint accuracy)

pajama:         42    ~27,300
pajamas:       173    ~81,300
pyjama:         28    ~13,100
pyjamas:        76    ~45,300
"sleep pants":   2    ~13,000



However, 'sleep pants' is coming up since 1994:

Google ngram: the rise of 'sleep pants'


My only conclusion is that there's a generation that thinks pajamas only come in sets. I blame capitalism.

Why yes, I am procrastinating on weekend work that I want to do because it really needs to be done and I faffed around a lot this week.

ETA: [personal profile] telesilla says it comes from Star Wars fandom, which makes sense, 'pajamas' is a 19th century word and even concept.
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Comments {30}

Anonymity as a Refuge

(no subject)

from: mirabile_dictu
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 03:35 am (UTC)
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I've never heard the phrase "sleep pants" before! Now I bet I'll see it everywhere. Fascinating stats; thank you!

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
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It's nearly constant in Merlin fandom, and I just saw it in Inception which pushed me to do the research. Apparently it came from Star Wars fandom, which makes sense, trying to avoid contemporary terminology.

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The Kink That Winked

(no subject)

from: kinkthatwinked
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)
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And this is why I refer to them as "PJ's," but I guess even fewer people would catch that reference.

One could always have their character sleep in their underwear, but then there's the whole thing where "pants" means underwear in the U.K., but means trousers in America.

Maybe we should just have all our characters sleep naked. :)

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:08 am (UTC)
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Google says the term PJs is pretty rare, and I looked at their sources, the early ones are mostly scanning errors.

And it says the use of "underpants" in British English is rising quite a bit since the 1920s.

Interesting!

Edited at 2013-09-02 06:08 am (UTC)

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The Reluctant Sadist

(no subject)

from: splix
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 03:53 am (UTC)
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"Sleep pants" was a huge *thing* in Star Wars/Phantom Menace fandom. Actually it was always "thin sleep pants" - it became a fanon thing that the Jedi wore thin sleep pants. Maybe there's some legacy happening there. :)

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:09 am (UTC)
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that makes perfect sense!

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amusing musing

(no subject)

from: sandelwood
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
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That's weird. But yeah, I feel like marketing has a little to do with it, since thats the only other place I've seen the term (and it sounds really infantile. Like baby or children's clothing).

I've always called 'em pajamas, PJs or jammies. But my chars all tend to sleep in undies or nothing, so...

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:09 am (UTC)
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apparently it's from Star Wars fandom, who knew?

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(Deleted comment)

Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:10 am (UTC)
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Exactly! Apparently it's from Star Wars fandom, which I can see preferring more generic terms.

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The Charcoal Burner

(no subject)

from: semyaza
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
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I call them pyjama bottoms but I can see the logic of sleep pants. If you've only ever worn the bottoms then you might want a separate term for them. Did it start with men's pyjamas?

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
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Apparently it started with Star Wars. Which makes sense, there's a certain British Empire connotation to the term.

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sheldrake

(no subject)

from: sheldrake
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:42 am (UTC)
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Ha, that's really funny because I always just assumed it was something you Americans said all the time! :D

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 06:49 am (UTC)
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Nope, new to me!

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(Deleted comment)

Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
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There's talking but also writing and I'm sure you would use whatever the right word is for the character!

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rubyelf

(no subject)

from: rubyelf
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
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Oddly enough, almost all the guys I know sleep in shorts.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
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The ones I know don't want to bother with dealing with a whole nother set of clothing

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(no subject)

from: tvillingar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
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As someone who wears almost exclusively nightgowns to bed, this is all very strange to me. In Finnish, we have 'pyjama' which refers to 2-piece nightwear, a jacket (?) and long pants. I've tried them a few times but found them uncomfortable and apparently I don't like too much cover on my legs; the whole ensemble just felt too constricting so back to nightgowns it was.

I use flannel pants in the winter as lounge wear as they're warm and comfortable. Some people probably sleep in them when it's cold but again, too constricting for me. I'm not sure if these are sold as 'sleep pants' or just 'flannel pants'? All I know is that they're sold separately.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
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I used to sleep in a t-shirt and underpants, but got night sweats a few years ago which was awful, and wearing pajama pants helped avoid the sticky thighs problem. But I mostly use old knit pants that are too ugly to wear in public.

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Arabia

(no subject)

from: arabia764
date: Sep. 3rd, 2013 09:15 am (UTC)
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I have pink fluffy pyjamas if that helps!

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 6th, 2013 05:53 am (UTC)
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exactly, pyjamas are great!

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Lobelia the adverbial

(no subject)

from: lobelia321
date: Sep. 4th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
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What are you even doing, you insane awesome woman??

Also: sleep pants?? Is that pyjama bottoms without a top? And is that sort of hot?

*runs away*

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Sep. 6th, 2013 05:55 am (UTC)
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what I was doing was avoiding work. This week has been hellishly long :-(

Sleep pants are what Obi-Wan Kenobi and BBC Arthur wear to show they are not from the 20th century

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