Knickerbocker is a Dutch family name that evolved from the occupation of a knicker baker, a man who baked slabs of clay for building bricks known as knickers. The surname knickerbaker in time was adjusted to knickerbocker. But knickers as a short breeches garment can be credited to Washington Irving—not that he was a clothing stylist, but because his two-volume guide was illustrated with these breeches. Irving wrote a humorous but pompous story of the early life of New York, as told byone of the early settlers. He chose the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker. The book, titled A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, was published in 1809. Although this delightful work became better known by its shorter title, Knickerbocker's History of New York, the short breeches, fitting loosely and gathered at the knee, developed a fashion hold after illustrations by the great comic artist George Cruikshank appeared in a later edition in the 1850s. These breeches were first called knickerbockers, but the name was later shortened to knickers. They became popular as knee pants for young boys, for cyclists, and for outdoor men who play golf, and even for silk bloomers for women. And so knickers were born.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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