Idiom:  wear the pants

Image of woman with cartoon dog who is wearing with pants: After months of training, I've accepted that my dog wears the pants in our family.


Idiom:  wear the pants (trousers)

  • to be the person who makes all of the decisions or is the dominant partner in a relationship

*Note:  In British English the expression is wear the trousers.

Example sentences

  • My grandma was a tiny little lady but she definitely wore the pants in her marriage.
  • We finally broke up because both of us kept fighting over who would wear the pants in our relationship.
  • Everyone thinks the director's so tough but his secretary wears the pants in their work relationship.
  • I'm looking for a traditional relationship—where a man wears the pants at home.
  • It's hard to tell who wears the pants in that relationship.
  • I honestly hate conflict and arguing so I let my wife wear the pants, unless it's something I really object to.
  • Men traditionally wore the pants in marriages partly because women could not work outside the home, which severely limited their influence. 
  • Our three-month old twins definitely wear the pants in our home!


  • play first fiddle
  • be in the driver's seat
  • call the shots
  • rule the roost

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Your turn to use the idiom "wear the pants"

Practice makes progress.  It's your turn to use this idiom in your own sample sentence. I will provide feedback to make sure you use the idiom correctly.

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