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In Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, "Blue jeans britches" is translated as "pantalones vaqueros azules"

In the US, I believe it was first miners who wore blue jeans most often; was it cowboy attire in Spanish-speaking countries?

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    I don't know very well what you mean by your question, but absolutely no Spanish people or people from any South American country wear blue jeans in their traditional clothing.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:09
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    I thought US cowboys wore chaps not jeans.
    – mdewey
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:12
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    I have only heard jeans called vaqueros in Spain, where cowboys never existed.
    – nopaltepec
    Dec 20, 2021 at 13:36
  • The translation is good.
    – Lambie
    Dec 20, 2021 at 17:45
  • Comentario aparte. Por décadas en Chile a los jeans se les conocía exclusivamente como pecosbiles. Los abuelitos de 80 años o más todavía les dicen así.
    – Rodrigo
    Dec 21, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1

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It seems there is a chain of associations at work here. First, the cowboy tradition of the American West was actually derived from the tradition of the Mexican vaqueros, in turn brought from Spain. These vaqueros and their counterparts the American cowboys wore woolen pants with tight waists. Wool was later replaced by canvas, and rivets were added to the pockets to prevent tearing. Later still, canvas was replaced by denim, the material chosen by Strauss and Davids for their “blue jeans”. During all this time and through these changes, evidently, cowboys and their pants were closely linked in the popular mind, so that the pants were called vaqueros in Spanish. The popularization of Westerns cemented this link.

I have no idea what britches meant in Twain's time or in that particular book, but I don't think Twain was thinking of cowboy attire, and therefore pantalones vaqueros would not be a good translation, since the expression evokes the image of (modern) blue jeans or the kind of thing a cowboy in a Western would wear.

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    Que yo sepa, britches son ropa interior.
    – nopaltepec
    Dec 20, 2021 at 13:38
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    @nopaltepec I think they are regular trousers, especially ones which end at or above the knee. There is also the concept of riding breeches (britches is a variant spelling). Of course what Twain thought they were is anybody's guess.
    – mdewey
    Dec 20, 2021 at 13:54
  • We always just used "britches" as a synonym for pants (I grew up in rural California in the 50s and 60s) Dec 20, 2021 at 16:04
  • bing.com/images/… Dec 20, 2021 at 16:08
  • britches is an old-fashioned word for pants or trousers.
    – Lambie
    Dec 20, 2021 at 17:45

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