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1. Loosely fitting hose or breeches worn in the 1500s and 1600s.
2. Loose trousers.
3. Chiefly British Leggings.

[Perhaps alteration (influenced by galley Gascon) of French garguesques, variant of greguesques, from Spanish gregüescos, from griego, Greek, from Latin Graecus; see Greek.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˌɡælɪˈɡæskɪnz) or


pl n
1. (Clothing & Fashion) loose wide breeches or hose, esp as worn by men in the 17th century
2. (Clothing & Fashion) leather leggings, as worn in the 19th century
[C16: from obsolete French garguesques, from Italian grechesco Greek, from Latin Graecus]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌgæl ɪˈgæs kɪnz)

n. (used with a pl. v.)
1. loose hose or breeches worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.
2. any loose breeches.
3. leggings or gaiters, usu. of leather.
[1570–80; orig. uncertain]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He had somehow picked up a troop of droll children, little hatless boys with their galligaskins much worn and scant shirting to hang out, little girls who tossed their hair out of their eyes to look at him, and guardian brothers at the mature age of seven.
The company was completed by a peasant in a rude dress of undyed sheepskin, with the old-fashioned galligaskins about his legs, and a gayly dressed young man with striped cloak jagged at the edges and parti-colored hosen, who looked about him with high disdain upon his face, and held a blue smelling-flask to his nose with one hand, while he brandished a busy spoon with the other.
It appears, therefore, that 'Gally-foyst' has been introduced as a jocular and alliterative substitution for an item of clothing: presumably Galligaskins, Gally-Gascoynes, Gallyslops, Gally Hose, or Gally Breeches, all of which were wide knee-breeches.