Bluejeans: Where Did the Word “jeans” Come From?

We love our bluejeans. The French have given us many words and two of them are denim and jeans. It all starts when Levi Strauss began making trousers for Goldminers during the 1800’s. The sturdy trousers were made from hemp that Strauss obtained from Nimes, France. The French called their cloth, “Serge de Nimes” which eventually became de Nimes which evolved to denims. This same hemp fabric, when it came from Genoa, Italy came to be called “genes” because the French called Genoa “Genes.” So today, we call our “denim” pants “jeans.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the satirical novel Gone North. Available here:

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