Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately (rather than with cloth stretching across both as in skirts and dresses). The word trousers is used in the UK and Ireland, but some other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States can also refer to such items of clothing as pants. Additional synonyms include slacks, strides, kegs or kex, breeches (sometimes britches pronounced /ˈbrɪtʃɨz/), or breeks. Shorts are similar to trousers, but with legs that come down only to around the area of the knee, higher or lower than the knee depending on the style of the garment.
In most of the Western world, trousers have been worn since ancient times and throughout the Medieval period, becoming the most common form of lower body clothing for males in the modern period, although shorts are also widely worn, and kilts and other garments may be worn in various regions and cultures. Shorts are often preferred in hot weather or for some sports, and also often by children. Since the late 20th century, trousers have become prevalent for females as well. Trousers are worn at the hips or waist, and may be held up by their own fastenings, a belt, or suspenders (braces). Leggings are form-fitting trousers of a clingy material, often knitted cotton and lycra.