Welcome to the new instalment on Comedy Ireland, Lexicolarty.

We felt it was time to get some educational yet still funny comedy on the site.


What Is the Origin of Denim?

Photo by DJ Keino


Noun & adjective. Originally serge denim. Late 17th century.

[serge denim from French serge de Nimes serge of Nimes (a city in southern France).]

noun. Originally a kind of serge.

Now, a twilled hard-wearing cotton fabric (frequently blue) used for overalls, jeans, etc.

In plural, overalls or jeans made of denim. L17

adj. Made of denim. E18

Those dastardly Americans! Always claiming they’re the best and they’re the origin of this, that and everything! Well I’m sick of it, and if you are too, you’ll be interested to know that the material denim is not as American as apple pie. In fact, it’s French, and is actually a type of serge from Nimes (pronounced neem), and is therefore a serge de Nimes, ergo denim, ergo French, ergo the Yanks are nicking it and claiming it as their own, just like they do with French fries. Still, I don’t feel too much sympathy for the French, as they pilfered French fries from Belgium and even claim that champagne is of their own making (when everyone clearly knows it’s actually of English origin). Hmm. Come to think of it, the earliest references to apple pie are English too, which means that that isn’t American, which means that denim is as American as apple pie (as in, not American at all). Really, America! Other than The Simpsons and dodgy spelling, what have you given us?

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