"I like fiery passion, actually." - Olympus
Question #25885 posted on 06/20/2006 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

what is the origin of pajamas? have we always worn them? and why is the most common idea of pajamas the red-striped gown with a long cap? was this the first....brand?
- sleep deprived

A: Dear Deprived,

The word pajama comes from a Hindi word that means "leg clothing". Pajamas were introduced around 1880 from India for men to wear for sleeping instead of nightshirts. You can listen to a podcast about the origin of the word pajamas at this site http://podictionary.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=46953. Nightshirts were like a long man's shirt, that came down to the knee or midcalf. Pajamas are different because they cover the legs, whether it be a shirt and pants, or the one-piece footie pjs. You can still buy the footed pajamas, they sell them in adult sizes at this site http://www.jumpinjammerz.com/default.asp. As for the red-striped gown with a long cap, I didn't find any official source saying this is the most common idea of pajamas. I know I didn't picture this when I first thought of pajamas. I think of some flannel plaid shirt and pants. Plus, a gown technically isn't pajamas, since it doesn't involve trousers (look at any definition of pajamas, such as at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pajamas). I think that would fall in the category of a nightshirt.

-Wilhelmina Wafflewitz