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to get one’s knickers in a twist


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to be happy

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b) to be fearful

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c) to be very upset

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

If someone’s knickers are in a twist, they are very upset about something, usually something that is not important.

French translation

être dans tous ses états

How NOT to translate : *se tordre la culotte

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Examples in context

‘France’s knickers industry : In a twist and losing jobs.

Think French underwear, think French knickers.

No, think again.

At the start of the 1980s more than a million people were employed in France’s textile industry - today only a tenth of that number remain.

Tangled in high taxes and wedged by rigid labour codes, France’s knickers are in a twist.

Last year the leading luxury underwear firm Lejaby prompted national fury when it relocated to Tunisia in a bid to bring down production and labour costs.

When a French business pays a worker, it must pay almost the same amount again in social charges, national insurance and so on.

Unable to compete with cheaper products coming from European neighbours and from Asia, many smaller textile firms have simply folded.’

BBC News, 26th July 2013

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’Panty riot : Eurasian women draw a visible line against lingerie law Outcry in Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus as Putin-led trade bloc moves to ban lacy underwear.

A trade ban on lacy lingerie has Russian consumers and their neighbours with their knickers in a twist.

The ban will outlaw any underwear containing less than 6% cotton from being imported, made, or sold in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And it has struck a chord in societies where La Perla and Victoria’s Secret are panty paradises compared to Soviet-era cotton underwear, which was often about as flattering and shapely as drapery.’

The Guardian, 19th February 2014

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Everyday usage

Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me explain the situation.

Sally don’t get your knickers in a twist over that spilt milk on the floor, silly Sally !


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