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Which one is the hip pocket?
February 15, 2009 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Is the "hip pocket" the front pocket or the back pocket?

My whole life, I thought the hip pocket was in back. But I just read something that seemed to imply that the hip pocket is in front.

My visual dictionary is no help in this case--it just calls them "front top pocket" and "back pocket".

Is it a regional thing, or is it like how I used to think "mausoleum" rhymed with "linoleum" because I never heard anyone say it?
posted by exceptinsects to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (53 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The front pocket. I think it's more like the mausoleum thing, though less embarrassing. I would have asked Anonymously if I were going to reveal that tidbit...
posted by papayaninja at 4:26 PM on February 15, 2009


is the hip pocket the little one i call a watch pocket?
posted by patnok at 4:26 PM on February 15, 2009



Noun 1. hip pocket - a pocket in rear of trousers
pocket - a small pouch inside a garment for carrying small articles
trouser, pant - (usually in the plural) a garment extending from the waist to the knee or ankle, covering each leg separately; "he had a sharp crease in his trousers"
posted by JayRwv at 4:26 PM on February 15, 2009


Front pocket : Hip pocket :: Back pocket : Butt pocket
posted by phunniemee at 4:28 PM on February 15, 2009


I'm thinking back to when I was a child - Way back to when I was a tot.
When I was an embryo - A tiny speck. Just a dot.
When I was a Hershey bar - In my father's back pocket.
Hey look! Over there! It's Frank Sinatra Sitting in a chair.
And he's blowing Perfect smoke rings Up into the air.
-- Laurie Anderson

So hip pocket == front pocket. I get the feeling it's a regional thing.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:35 PM on February 15, 2009


I've always called the front pocket the hip pocket. It's actually on the hip, after all.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2009


The Oxford English Dictionary says, "hip-pocket, a pocket in a pair of trousers, just behind the hip."

Also, hip-flask, a flask for intoxicating liquor carried in a hip-pocket, and hip-revolver, one carried in the hip-pocket.
posted by grouse at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2009


I've always thought it was the pocket or pockets sewn into the side seams of pants, dress or skirt. Clothing manufacturers seem to refer to it that way.

Based on the above, jeans would not have hip pockets (they have front, back and watch pockets) but a pair of dress slacks would.
posted by jamaro at 4:37 PM on February 15, 2009


Yeah, see! You wouldn't carry a hip-flask in your front pocket, would you?
posted by exceptinsects at 4:40 PM on February 15, 2009


By definition:
hip pocket

noun
a pocket in rear of trousers
posted by JayRwv at 4:41 PM on February 15, 2009


Huh. Guess I've been saying it wrong too. At first I thought the front pocket, but *all* online dictionaries say it's the back pocket.

I'm officially a smidgen less ignorant now. Thanks, AskMe!
posted by miss lynnster at 4:42 PM on February 15, 2009


So hip pocket == front pocket.
I don't understand how you've drawn that conclusion from the song you're quoting. It doesn't contain the word "hip" anywhere in it.

Are you claiming that because it contains the term "back pocket", then "back pocket" must not refer to "hip pocket", because otherwise she would hav said "hip pocket"? If so, that makes little to no sense to me, but it's the best theory I can come up with for your claim.

I get the feeling I'm missing something obvious here.
posted by Flunkie at 4:43 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hip pocket is the back pocket. There's even a hip-pocket syndrome.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:45 PM on February 15, 2009


For what it's worth, the OED says that the hip pocket is "just behind the hip".
posted by Flunkie at 4:45 PM on February 15, 2009


Ooh, this is neat: a custom tailoring site with lots of pictures. Based on their description in the item labeled Double Pleats TURNED IN S-11 TI, (2nd row down, 2nd column) it appears the hip pocket are indeed the ones on the back, as those are the only ones which match the description on their site.
posted by jamaro at 4:50 PM on February 15, 2009


And to add to the confusion, here's a sewing book which pictures the hip pocket the way I always thought it was: opening via the side seam.
posted by jamaro at 4:55 PM on February 15, 2009


The Oxford English Dictionary says, "hip-pocket, a pocket in a pair of trousers, just behind the hip."

It's got to be the pockets at the side seam, because the back pockets are all the way behind the hip, rather than "just behind the hip."
posted by grobstein at 5:09 PM on February 15, 2009


Back pocket. A hip flask fits into that one, curve and all.
posted by rokusan at 5:10 PM on February 15, 2009


I think the foregoing definitions and citations should be sufficient to establish it, but in my world the hip picket has always been the back pocket.
posted by mumkin at 5:17 PM on February 15, 2009


Hip Flask... They are usually contoured to match the curve of the wearer's hip or thigh, for comfort and discreetness. Not buttocks. You'd have to take it out every time you sit down.

I wonder if "just behind the hip" is referring to the bony protrusions known as hipbones. When you "bump hips" you're not standing back to back. My vote goes for the side seam pocket. When you "put your hands on your hips", they are not in your back pocket.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:27 PM on February 15, 2009


The hip pocket is whichever one is large enough to put a Moleskine into.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:48 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's never occurred to me that it was anything other than the, uh, butt pocket. Where the hip flask goes.
posted by chez shoes at 6:00 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The hip pocket is where you put your cool stuff.
posted by orme at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Its the back pocket, definitely. I surprised that it has even inspired this much conversation.
posted by Bango Skank at 6:23 PM on February 15, 2009


I just asked Mrs. Bango this question and now we're arguing so maybe the answer isn't as obvious as I thought it was.
posted by Bango Skank at 6:26 PM on February 15, 2009


The real question is how do you pronounce mausoleum? You're telling me it doesn't rhyme with linoleum?
posted by entropic at 6:55 PM on February 15, 2009


I'm astounded that anyone knows this to be the back pocket. That makes no sense -- my hip pocket is literally where my hip is. And yeah, hip flasks fit in hip pockets (meaning FRONT) if you're wearing trousers, not tight jeans. (If you're wearing tight jeans, your flask doesn't fit in your back pocket either.)
posted by desuetude at 7:13 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The real question is how do you pronounce mausoleum? You're telling me it doesn't rhyme with linoleum?

I think he meant the stressed syllable, which is different. Either sounds pretty funny if you stress it the other way.
posted by rokusan at 7:13 PM on February 15, 2009


maws-uh-LEUM v line-uh-LEUM.

i don't understand the controversy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:27 PM on February 15, 2009


All four paper dictionaries in my house say some version of "the back pocket in a pair of trousers" (one also offers "...or skirt").

But I love this thread regardless!
posted by rokusan at 7:28 PM on February 15, 2009


line-uh-LEUM? That WOULD rhyme with mausoleum. :)

Linn-OH-lee-um.
posted by rokusan at 7:29 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are people whose front pockets are "just behind their hipbones?" That's fuckin' freaky. Hip pocket: back.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:04 PM on February 15, 2009


I am adding the "canofworms" tag and suggest it to all of you for future use.
posted by exceptinsects at 8:07 PM on February 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why would it be called a hip pocket if it's on your butt? The hip pocket is the front pocket - the one nearest your hip bones.

*baffled*
posted by Space Kitty at 8:11 PM on February 15, 2009


Jeans don't have hip pockets.

Hip pockets are on the sides of Jean's hip trousers.
posted by artdrectr at 8:26 PM on February 15, 2009


In terms of musculature, the ends of your hip flexors are roughly where your front pockets would be, whereas the rear pockets are located over (a smallish part of) your gluteus maximuses (glutei maximi?). In lay terms, that would give you hip pockets & butt pockets.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:30 PM on February 15, 2009


5 random dictionaries, plus a thesaurus uniformly attest..."hip pocket" refers to back pocket of trousers, skirt, etc. OP didn't question where a person individually thinks a hip pocket is placed relative to their body...although for me, personally, my hip is where a pocket never is...all my pockets are in front of or behind my actual hip. I think the question is about what "hip pocket" commonly refers to, in written material and spoken. Dictionaries are helpful for this sort of thing, where what's obvious to each of us is...not always obviously the same to each of us.

none of the dictionaries mentioned a regional difference.
posted by mumstheword at 9:14 PM on February 15, 2009


I think the people saying that it's the pockets on the side seam must be right, but I always always thought of it as the pockets on the front just over your hipbones. It wouldn't have ever occurred to me that anyone thought it was the back pockets. AskMe once again delivers a new perspective! Fascinating.
posted by MsMolly at 9:20 PM on February 15, 2009


To follow up, the OED has the following citation:

"1922 S. LEWIS Babbitt xviii. 228 Drinking together from hip-pocket flasks."

So we can look at contemporaneous men's fashion to see where the pockets are. Joe College on the right in this picture is putting his hand in what I think must be the hip pocket, fitting the theory that it's a pocket on the side seam. I guess what we forget is that no one really wore jeans as an item of non-laborer clothing back then, so trying to map the idea of a "hip pocket" to blue jeans is looking at the wrong type of trousers. This guy also has his hand in this hip pocket while he expresses relief that the Talon Trouser Fastener is keeping his fly nice and smooth.
posted by MsMolly at 9:45 PM on February 15, 2009


I asked an international chat group who all confirmed 'front' or 'side' was hip, not 'back'.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:56 PM on February 15, 2009


MsMolly's linked illustrations raise an interesting question in my mind: what if the hip pocket wasn't in the trousers at all, but in the jacket? That is to say, pretty much directly over the hip.

For example, the guy on the left in the first link (the guy on the right, from their perspective) might in fact be reaching for his hip-pocket flask, explaining that happy glow on his face, in comparison with his envious looking friend, who has no such flask, and is forced instead to hide his trembling hand in his front-trouser-pocket.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2009


Everyone here seems to be appealing to the logic of where they think their hips are (even then the hip joint is at the side - the ridges on the front of your pelvis are above and in front of your hip joint). Note that the hips are not just the joint, the term also refers to the circumference of the body at the buttocks, so logically the hip pocket can be anywhere on that circumference.

This is a tailoring term not a medical term and old enough for euphemisms to be required for what some here are now happily referring to as a "butt" pocket. All the dictionaries seem to agree that it's a back pocket; whatever you might think that's the generally accepted meaning. Next you will all start arguing that a brassiere has something to do with the arms because logically that's what it should mean given the etymology.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:19 PM on February 15, 2009


It's totally the front!
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:22 PM on February 15, 2009


Rear.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:53 PM on February 15, 2009


My first thought is : 'Dude, It's the back pocket'. But then I read the thread and I think about it and now have decided, 'That's one that I'm going to ask for further clarification on' ; as in:

"Yeah, while the jury was deliberating, he totally brought out this flask from his hip pocket and offered me a drink!"
"Wait, his front or back pocket?"

But this little exercise did give me the correct name for that little pocket in the front, the one in which you put your grandfather's wind-up watch: the fob pocket
posted by eclectist at 11:01 PM on February 15, 2009


It's the back pocket. People who say different are living a lie.
posted by planetkyoto at 12:39 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always thought it was a side pocket. I've been living a lie.

(though now I want to pronounce mausoleum so it rhymes with linoleum)
posted by dinty_moore at 5:21 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "hip pocket nerve" colloquially refers to a mythical nerve located behind the wallet, which feels pain when money is removed from said wallet.

You expect english to make sense?
posted by onya at 7:00 AM on February 16, 2009


"The American Pocket" NY Times, March 5, 1880 (pdf).

The story doesn't say where exactly the pocket is, but from
as the back of the small rocking-chair was of hard wood, it is not strange that the bottle yielded
we can infer that the hip-pocket isn't the front one.

And remember:
good authorities maintain that the hip-pocket is positively detrimental, and that an earnest and united effort should be made to procure its extirpation.
posted by generalist at 8:17 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, that seems conclusive, generalist! Awesome.

To sum up* so far:

Opinions:
Front 11
Back 10
Side 4
Watch? 1

Sources:
Front 0
Back 14
Side 1
Inconclusive 3

*These statistics are a rough estimate and should not be quoted precisely in arguments
posted by exceptinsects at 9:17 AM on February 16, 2009


I wonder if earlier usage of "hip-pocket" refers to something a little different than a back pocket. It seems the most well-known uses for the hip-pocket were toting whiskey or a revolver, and a back pocket as we know it today wouldn't be very convenient for either.

A 1938 book on shooting shows "the hip pocket draw" from a holster that is "fastened..to the pocket." It looks to me like the pocket is closer to the side seam than it would be on modern pants. So maybe originally somewhere in between ass and side, and as fewer and fewer dudes carried pistols or booze, it crept further back. I'd love to hear from someone who actually knows about this stuff.
posted by generalist at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2009


Next you will all start arguing that a brassiere has something to do with the arms because logically that's what it should mean given the etymology.

Close, but it's shoulders, not arms.

Why else would they be nicknamed "under shoulder boulder holders"?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate to correct you... but I believe it's "over the shoulder boulder holder." At least, that's how my grandma said it.

For secondary confirmation, see 1:35.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:24 PM on February 16, 2009


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