SECOND EDITION 1989

pyjamas, pajamas, n. pl.

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(p{schwa}{sm}d{zh}{fata}{lm}m{schwa}z, formerly pa{shti}{sm}d{zh}{fata}{lm}m{schwa}z Also 9 peijammahs, pie-, pyjamahs[a. Pers. and Urd{umac} p{amac}ë (p{amac}˙) j{amac}mah, f. Pers. p{amac}ë, p{amac}˙ foot, leg + j{amac}mah clothing, garment. In Persian, a n. singular; in Eng. made plural with -s, after breeches, drawers, trousers, etc. pyjamas is now standard in the U.K., pajamas in the U.S.] 

     a. Loose drawers or trousers, usually of silk or cotton, tied round the waist, worn by both sexes in Turkey, Iran, India, etc., and adopted by Europeans in those countries, especially for night wear; hence applied outside Asia (orig. in trade use) to a sleeping suit of loose trousers and jacket. In extended use, applied to a similar day-time or evening garment worn by women (see also beach-pyjamas s.v. BEACH n. 4, palazzo pyjamas s.v. PALAZZO 3). Also (occas.) sing., as pyjama.

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   1800 Misc. Tracts in Asiat. Ann. Reg. 342/2 Memorandum relative to Tippoo Sultaun's wardrobe... 3d, pai jamahs, or drawers. Ibid. , Pai Jamahs. 1834 MEDWIN Angler in Wales I. 188 In a pair of ‘pigammahs’ and a shirt. 1839 THACKERAY Major Gahagan iii, I stripped him of his..peijammahs. 1840 E. E. NAPIER Scenes & Sports For. Lands II. v. 156 Equipped in our broad straw hats, shirts, light silk or muslin ‘piejamahs’. 1845 STOCQUELER Handbk. Brit. India (1854) 108 He usually undresses, puts on his pajamas (the loose Turkish trouser). 1859 LANG Wand. India 360 Pyjamahs of red silk trimmed with gold lace. 1878 E. S. BRIDGES Diary 6 Sept. in Round World in Six Months (1879) iii. 37, I relinquished my English chemise de nuit and took to pyjamas{em}bedclothes are not used at this time of year [in Japan]. 1886 Girl's Own Paper 23 Oct. 59/1 The pattern for this month..is a combination nightgown, or lady's ‘pyjama’. 1893 EARL DUNMORE Pamirs I. 277 They wore the usual short blue silk cloak and loose white pyjamas. 1897 [see sleeping-suit s.v. SLEEPING vbl. n. 2b]. 1903 Smart Set IX. 122/1 I'd as lief be seen in my pajamas. 1932 Barker's Spring Catal. This ideal pyjama is made of a very soft washing cotton. 1932 Boston Even. Transcript 6 Aug. 1 Clad in pajamas and admitting to police that she was returning home from a party, Mary Callahan, twenty four..was arrested at seven o'clock this morning. 1936 A. CHRISTIE ABC Murders xvi. 120 Girls passed him..in summery frocks and pyjamas and shorts. 1968 J. IRONSIDE Fashion Alphabet 62 Pyjamas, blouse or shirt and wide-legged trousers worn for lounging or for beach wear{em}introduced by Chanel in the late 1920s. 1976 Washington Post 19 Apr. A 12/4 (Advt.), Pre-school boys' pajamas reduced. 1978 Neiman-Marcus Christmas Bk. 32 The ambient glow of soft panne velvet for party pajamas.
 

    b. attrib. and Comb. (in sing. form), as pyjama-clothes, coat, cord, dress, jacket, leg, pants, suit, top, trousers; pyjama-clad, -legged, -like adjs.; pyjama bottom, the bottom half of a suit of pyjamas, pyjama trousers; usu. pl.; pyjama case, a bag or other container in which pyjamas can be kept when not being worn; pyjama party, a party at which those present are dressed in pyjamas; also pyjama-and-bottle-party.
 
   1928 Sunday Dispatch 5 Aug. 15/2 Mention was made of the splendid work of Mrs. X{emem} Y{emem} for her *pyjama-and-bottle party. 1959 R. CONDON Manchurian Candidate (1960) i. 10 The..movie actor..had opened the door of the hotel suite wearing only *pyjama bottoms. 1972 J. WAINWRIGHT Requiem for Loser iii. 48 He..stepped out of his pyjama bottoms and began dressing himself. 1973 Black World Oct. 55/1 None of the kids had on a complete outfit of clothes: some were in a pajama top{em}or a bottom.


1925 ‘R. CROMPTON Still{em}William ix. 164 Thrusting his..paper fleet into his *pyjama case. 1976 W. J. BURLEY Wycliffe & Schoolgirls viii. 151 Lying on it [sc. the bed] was a pyjama case in the shape of a dog with ‘Jane’ embroidered across it.
1904 Daily Chron. 27 Apr. 6/4 The spectacle presented by the learned counsel..and the officials of the court, arranged in front of the *pyjama-clad judge. 1921 R. MACAULAY Dangerous Ages i. 2 Her slight, straight, pyjama-clad body. 1976 ‘L. BLACK Healthy Way to Die iv. 38 The pyjama-clad legs dangling inside the silken dressing-gown.
1939 AUDEN & ISHERWOOD Journey to War 43 The Cantonese, in their light *pyjama-clothes.
1916 M. DIVER Desmond's Daughter II. v. 71 A Punjab Cavalryman in a turban and silk *pyjama coat. 1978 C. STORR Winter's End v. 68 She wore a blue and white striped pyjama coat.
1917 E. FENWICK Diary 18 Feb. in Elsie Fenwick in Flanders (1981) 143 He tried to hang himself with his *pyjama cord. 1972 Times 28 July 10/1 Top coats with pyjama cord belts.
1967 Guardian 2 Nov. 7/6 For luscious evening attire..a *pyjama dress in hot pink and orange.
1891 E. DOWSON Let. 1 July (1967) 206, I am more elaborately vested, in a *Pyjama jacket. 1976 C. DEXTER Last seen Wearing xxxviii. 261 The top button of the pyjama jacket already undone.
1933 A. THIRKELL High Rising ii. 48 Tony, by now in what he called his *pyjama-legs, executed a dance of joy. 1977 Transatlantic Rev. LX. 145 The water isn't as cold as I figured, but when the bottom of my pajama-leg gets wet, I get a little nauseous.
1960 *Pyjama-legged [see CULOTTE 2].
1960 KOESTLER Lotus & Robot I. i. 41 Another table in the Mascot's dining-room was occupied by an Egyptian gentleman in a *pyjama-like attire.
1956 ‘E. MCBAIN Cop Hater (1958) iv. 38 He was wearing *pajama pants and nothing else. 1980 G. LORD Fortress i. 7 She pulled down her pyjama pants.
1910 Westm. Gaz. 13 Apr. 5/3 A *pyjama party held a couple of days ago at the residence of Mrs. Edwin Avon, a well-known member of Chicago society. 1928 A. WAUGH Nor Many Waters ii. 36 They'd thought of making a dressing-gown and pyjama party of it, so you can guess what it'll be like from that. 1933 DYLAN THOMAS Let. (1966) 67 It sounds as though you'd invited me to a pyjama party. 1978 S. SHELDON Bloodline xii. 157 They had often invited Elizabeth to their pajama parties.
1883 C. BELL tr. Haeckel's Visit to Ceylon xx. 329 The rest of our attire consisted of that particularly light and airy white flannel garment, known throughout India as a *pajama suit. 1897 HUGHES Medit. Fever v. 188 It has the disadvantage over the pyjama suit of being more difficult to change. 1973 ‘G. BLACK Bitter Tea iii. 41 She was..wearing the kind of pyjama suit some women go shopping in [in Malaysia].
1949 N. MITFORD Love in Cold Climate I. vi. 66 Lady Montdore..in bed..wearing what appeared to be a man's striped *pyjama top under a feathered wrap. 1976 C. DEXTER Last seen Wearing xxxiii. 225 She..fastened all but the top button of her pyjama top.
1900 G. SWIFT Somerley 42 To make your *pyjama-trousers look like trunk-hose. 1932 D. C. MINTER Mod. Needlecraft 146/2 For pyjama trousers cut straight down. 1975 W. J. BURLEY Wycliffe & Pea-Green Boat I. I. 10 A tall, skinny young man in pyjama trousers.

 

    Hence py{sm}jamaed a., clad in pyjamas. Also pyjama'd.

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   1883 World 28 Nov. 18/2 Ten pyjamahed and betowelled unfortunates are standing..outside. 1890 Westm. Gaz. 6 Sept. 2/3 A stranger who strolled into (say) the Lord Chief Justice's Court, pyjama-ed and not ashamed. 1922 F. HAMILTON P. J. the Secret Service Boy i. 47 Mr. Davenant sleepily extended a pyjama'd arm. 1929 D. HAMMETT Dain Curse (1930) xvi. 182, I..let in Jack Santos, pajamaed, bathrobed, and slippered. 1959 D. CAMPBELL Evening under Lamplight 47 Pyjama'd figures were clambering..into the shadowy bedroom. 1959 P. MCCUTCHAN Storm South ix. 124 Her pyjama-ed legs. 1974 ‘D. MEIRING President Plan xvii. 158 She knew where he slept... A light went on and..he was there, pyjamaed.
 

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