Where does the word “Knickerbockers” originate and What does Knickerbockers mean?

We are so accustomed to the term “Knickerbockers” that we can scarcely realize it is barely a hundred years old.

It seems that it must date back to the days of Peter Stuyvesant, when the Dutchmen on Manhattan Island all wore flaring breeches now called knickerbockers.

But, though the name of this garment is often credited to Washington Irving, and some credit is certainly due him, we really owe it to the British caricaturist George Cruikshank, who, in the 1850’s, illustrated an English edition of the satire A History of New York, written by Irving in 1809 under the pseudonym “Diedrich Knickerbocker.”

The garments of the alleged author, in these illustrations, and of his fellow Dutch burghers led to the adoption of knickerbockers for knee breeches of any kind.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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