What is a Birthday Suit?

Birthday Suit Meaning

Definition: Naked, not wearing any clothing.

When babies are born, of course, they don’t come out wearing any clothing. They are totally naked. Therefore, because people are born without any clothes, nakedness is referred to as a birthday suit.

This is an intentionally silly and ironic phrase. Obviously, someone who is wearing a birthday suit really has no type of suit–or any other clothing–on his or her body.

Origin of Birthday Suit

define birthday suitThe first recorded use of this phrase is in the mid-1700s.

It seems most likely that the phrase came originally from the style of dress that English kings would present themselves in on their birthdays. Royal fashion statements would be made and noticed on birthdays. Reporters would call these birthday suits.

Somewhere in the mid-1700s, however, people began to use the phrases birthday suit, birthday gear, and birthday attire to describe nakedness.

It is possible, though unconfirmed, that the use of these phrases came from the story The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which an emperor is tricked into appearing naked in front on his subjects.

It may also have a relation to the phrase naked as the day you were born, which describes complete nudity.

Examples of Birthday Suit

what does birthday suit meanIf someone were to wear poorly-fitting clothes that were so loose that they fell off, someone may comment, “Her clothes fell off, and she was left standing there in only her birthday suit!”

Adam and Eve realized they were in their birthday suits after eating an apple in the Garden of Eden. People may tell stories like this where they use the phrase birthday suit as a euphemism for nudity.

You may even look at your own birthday suit in the mirror after you work out in order to see your muscles.

More Examples

  • A Long Island man hopped up on drugs crashed his car into a home — and then fled the scene in his birthday suit, police said.New York Post
  • She separated the combatants; the guy in his birthday suit, she would report later, was “reeking of alcohol and unsteady on his feet.” Boston Globe

Summary

Wearing a birthday suit means you are naked.