American Dictionary of the English Language

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BREECHES, noun plural brich'es. [Low Latin braccoe.]

A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs. It is now a close garment; but the word formerly was used for a loose garment, now called trowsers, laxoe braccoe.

To wear the breeches is, in the wife, to usurp the authority of the husband.