"Live in jegging"

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Reader JL sent this picture, with some questions:

First of all, there's the word "jegging." A quick search tells me that it's a cross between "jeans" and "leggings." I might have been able to figure that out myself if they had gone with "jeggings"–but "jegging"? That sounds like some novel form of crime. ("I totally got jegged last night!")

But then there's also the "live in" part. Presumably this is an exhortation to wear your jegging all day and thus "live in" it. But when I first saw this I read it more in the "live in Tokyo" sense.

Or maybe the "live-in housekeeper" sense?  Amazingly enough, "live in jegging" isn't yet indexed by Google or Bing, so you lucky readers get first shot at figuring out what this means.



45 Comments

  1. HW said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    My brain wants to read it as a spoonerism. Jive in legging.

  2. Mark said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    I agree with JL that it would seem to need to be pluralized. "Jeans" + "Leggings" = Jeggings, at least the way I create portmanteaux.

  3. Daniel said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    I first read it as a concert advertisement, as if a band called AE Jeans was performing live in the city of Jegging.

    I think this is a word that belongs in the same category as moist, bulbous, pulp, slurp, etc.

  4. A said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    My first thought was "live" is an adjective. The Who were live at Leeds; these models are live in their jegging(s).

  5. Tom said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    Like Daniel I read it as 'live in' as in 'playing live'. Also, I've always heard this garment called 'jeggings' with an s on the end.

  6. jan wohlgemuth said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

    First of all it means that the person(s) who made up the word succeeded in making people think about it — and the advertizing connected with it.

  7. Chris Buckey said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

    Maybe "jegging" is a state of mind that the advertisement is implying is either a place to live, or somewhere you can appear live.

    Also, allow me to coin a horrible construction: Gettin' jeggy with it.

  8. Chris Buckey said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    Also I'd be %100 more likely to buy that product if they used the old fashioned a-e ligature. Æ JEANS would be a good logo, I think.

  9. J. W. Brewer said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    I also took Jegging as a place name. Maybe somewhere in Yorkshire?

  10. Betty M said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    Jegging is a classic use of the "Fashion singular" – the best description of which is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/21/ask-hadley-fashion-singular

  11. Josh said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    From a bit of googling, it seems that jegging is often used as an adjective as well. You could imagine a similar campaign that said, "Live in denim" with the implication they are referring to pants made of denim. So I read this as live in pants made of jegging, which is a woven fabric that either contains denim or is printed to look like denim.

    I see plenty of references to the standard noun usage that one would expect though. There were a number of references to a pair of jeggings, etc.

  12. EC said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    I think "jegging" is used without an -s in the same way clothing catalogs may talk about "this pant" or "this trouser" instead of "these pants" or "these trousers." Googling "this legging" also turns up results on sites for clothing retailers. Perhaps the ad is symptomatic of a mild case of nerdview?

  13. Mark Sirota said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    I read "live" with a long i as well, but the rest had me stumped. I suspect, as is often the case in advertising, they're trying to get us talking about it — and they seem to have succeeded. If they succeed in creating a Seinfeldism then that's just a bonus.

  14. Clare said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    I think Josh is probably on the money, but when I read "'the live in Tokyo' sense" I jumped straight to the thought that they might have intentionally written the ad in poor English 'in the Tokyo sense', i.e. in faux Jenglish. … It's a stretch.

  15. Claire said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

    Perhaps I read too many fashion blogs/magazines, but I immediately recognized this as the copywriter trying to convey the idea that these jeggings are so comfy you could live in them as "live in" seems to be a pretty common descriptor of clothing in magazines/catalogs that I come across. Why it's not pluralized is beyond me though.

  16. MattF said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    I'd be cautious about drawing any specific conclusions from the ad– the picture to keep in mind is a conference room in which an advertising agency is giving a presentation to a clothing manufacturer. The overriding motivation of the people in the room is to find the combination of words and pictures that will make teenagers want to buy the product.

  17. Henning Makholm said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    My immediate assumption (barring a concert apperance in Jegging, Yorkshire) was that a "live-in jegging" must be for people who need a jegging so large that other people would call it a tent…

  18. Kat said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

    If you go to their website, you'll notice they use jeans in the singular a lot too – "buy any jean and…". Look further and they label all the jeggings on the site as jegging singular. So I do agree that it's fashion singular. It's *a* live-in jegging, I think.

    http://www.ae.com/web/browse/category_full_fashion_guide.jsp?catId=cat90120

  19. Ben Zimmer said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

    Appears to be part of American Eagle's "Live In, Wear Out" campaign, selling "the clothing you're most comfortable in" as outerwear.

  20. mollymooly said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    Did this term originate in the anglosphere? French has long had "le jogging".

  21. mollymooly said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    "tregging" [trousers + leggings] appears to antedate "jegging", but doesn't work in American English; "pegging" [pants + leggings] is not an available alternative…is it?

  22. Melissa Fox said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    a) UGH.

    b) I think it is the "live-in housekeeper" sense of "live in", and I'm seeing "jegging" (ugh, ugh, UGH) as that weird sort of counting-a-mass (or at least a pair or plural) thing that happens when someone says something like "This is a pant you can wear to the office or to the theatre". American Eagle has apparently produced a jegging it feels the youth of today can live in, and wants to tell them so.

    I have to go scrub my brain now.

  23. Ellie said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    This fits in with what seems to me to be a recent trend of melding stuff and creating hybrid titles. Bennifer is the first pop-culture reference I can remember (though I'll add the caveat that maybe folks have been doing this forever and that was the first time I noticed it?). Just over a year ago,when the skinny jeans of 3 and 4 years ago were no longer skinny enough (or comfortable, at all), I remember seeing "jegging" first appear, somewhat jokingly, in fashion magazines.

    It is a ridiculous hybrid, but catchy enough that it doesn't seem to be going away. And not nearly as bad as "pajean." (http://www.zimbio.com/member/fashionbyhe/articles/FDgUv2roXek/Pajama+Jeans+Pajeans).

    But in my opinion, the ad clearly refers to "Live In" as one adjective. Interesting to note that the singular "Jegging" is what I attribute this to; had it been "Live In Jeggings" I would have read it more as an advertisement to buy just "some Jeggings." However, because this reads "Live In Jegging," it means to me that this particular Jegging is A – or The – Jegging To Be Lived In (and it stems therefrom that this liveable jegging is only available at American Eagle)

    It would of course be grammatically more correct to say "Live-in," but artistic license and congruity with their aforementioned "Live In. Wear Out." campaign allow and demand that the hyphen be left out. (I'll ad that upon this closer inspection, it's a clever ad campaign…clothes comfortable enough to lounge around on your sofa in, and masquerading as hip, stylish, trendsetting clothing. I appreciate when ads, in a small number of words, are able to convey layers upon layers of meaning.)

  24. Kyle Gorman said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

    On the east coast we just call these "Jeggings". I have never heard anyone use it in the singular that I am aware of. "Jegging", for me, gets the same star as *scissor.

  25. JimG said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    @Chris Buckey
    You wrote:
    > Also I'd be %100 more likely to buy that product
    > if they used the old fashioned a-e ligature.
    > Æ JEANS would be a good logo, I think.

    Is that recency speaking? If their trademarks were good enough to attract my generation to buy their jeans in the 1960s, it's probably adequate to sell http://www.denimology.com/2009/07/the_jegging.php or whatever-it-is now.

  26. John Williamson said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    Live in jegging means "You should constantly be wearing a type of legging made of denim."

  27. JMS said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    The person who wrote the copy for this ad has combined two peculiarities of usage common to the fashion advertising industry:

    a) singular, rather than plural, usage for bifurcated garments (others have already mentioned AE's referring to "a jean" and "a trouser");

    b) unusual hortatories.

    Unpacking it, it seems clear that the intended meaning is "Hey, you! Person reading this poster! Live in these jeggings!"

  28. Nassira Nicola said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    @Josh – in fact, "Live in Denim" is the name of both a Buckle.com (an online fashion retailer) sweepstakes from 2009 and a Target ad campain from 2007.

    While this is the same sense as "Live in Denim," I initially read the line as parallel to "Live in Linen," a slogan one sees in nearly every J. Jill catalog, and which also *appears* to have been used to promote a collection of Banana Republic men's linen pants this year. And I have always interpreted that as an exhortation, not a description.

    As for the blend "jeggings" itself, those of us who read fashion blogs in addition to linguistics blogs are all too familiar with it. (See, for example, http://daddylikey.blogspot.com/2009/10/conversation-about-jeggings.html – which does define the term, meaning that as of last October, fashion-blog readers could not be uniformly expected to have seen it before.) I'm not a fan of either the word or the garment, incidentally, but I can deal with it. *Jegging, however? Just… no.

    [(myl) But see the pointer to an explanation in Betty M's comment above: The "fashion singular".]

  29. Nassira Nicola said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    Yes, but this is not "live in a jegging." It sounds to me like a mass, not a singular.

  30. Doreen said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    I instantly read jegging as a 'fashion singular' (and spontaneously recalled the same Guardian article cited by Betty M above), but would prefer to see a hyphen in live-in, i.e. these jeggings are so comfortable and versatile that you can practically live in them.

  31. un malpaso said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    Throwing eggs at joggers?
    (A sport I, for one, would enjoy)

  32. groki said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    (1) +1 Ellie: convey layers upon layers of meaning. both for semantic density and to overwhelm our resistance, ads seem actively designed to hit us on as many levels as possible: in this case, adjectival live-in, imperative Live in!, plus nods to live concerts ("par-tay!") and coming alive in these garment (sic :).

    2) jegging: once poets were the preeminent smithies at the language forge. our modern age has to settle for marketers.

    3) still, I'm a little chagrined (especially here) to admit I kinda like jegging: crunchy-pithy mouthfeel.

  33. John Cowan said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    I point to, but do not approach, the long-standing use of panting and shirting 'material used to make pants/shirts out of'.

  34. Smit said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

    The ad is a play on the phrase "to live in [one's jeans]." This Americanism means "to be in the habit of wearing a certain garment on a daily or frequent basis (usually referring to jeans in general or a specific pair of jeans)." The origin is probably a shortened version of the hyperbolic expression, "she wears jeans so often she practically lives in them."

    Thus, the article is asking the audience to get into the habit of wearing jeggings.

    Another portmanteau with jeans (often used humorously) is "jorts" (jeans + shorts, to refer to denim cut-offs).

    I, too, have seen fashion magazines and catalogues use the word "jean" in the singular to refer to "a single pair of jeans."

  35. fog said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    After reading all the comments I think that if you stretched out the ad until it was a sentence, it would say "This is a live in jegging."

  36. Adrian Bailey said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

    fog: I assume you mean "This is a live-in jegging."

  37. Katie said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

    I've never heard jegging used in the singular form, so that seems a bit odd but I would agree- it refers to this particular jegging as 'the' jegging.

    But the whole idea of 'live in' has swept the fashion blogosphere in recent months. It conveys the concept that this garment is suitable for different types of people just living regular lives. "Hey you, college student, study in your jeggings" or "Hey, hipster mom, grocery shop in your jeggings," etc. JC Penney has a similar marketing campaign right now – the "made for moment." 'What is your made for moment with this dress?' I.e. how would you wear this? It appeals to a wide audience on a very basic level- our everyday comfy outfit choices.

  38. Rob said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 12:43 am

    On the way home from work today I saw an alternate version of this ad (the landscape version) with the alternate text "Live in These," which I suppose sheds some light on the intended use of "live" as verb rather than adjective.

  39. Jo said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    It makes sense to me (more or less) as an imperative, but not as an adjective, even if it had a hyphen. A live-in housekeeper, for instance, is not a housekeeper one lives inside of. And I doubt the jegging gets a room of its own in the service wing of the house.

  40. Rodger C said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    @JimG: Æ JEANS might invite an association with the artist formerly known as George Russell.

  41. Colin John said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    Practising for the Egg and Spoon race?

  42. Kate said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    I think American Eagle simply overestimates the pervasiveness of their ad campaigns. There was one a while back that featured the inexplicable slogan "Live Your Life," and the jegging ads must be a play on that. Weak slogan + awkward portmanteau is not a recipe for win, though (although in the pre-teen fashion world, who knows).

  43. Mr Punch said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    I jumped to the conclusion the "Jegging" was a weird transliteration of some provincial Chinese city with 8 million people.

    In a fashion mode, I'd read "jegging" as a cognate of "shirting" – i.e., a reference to the material used in jegs. But apparently not. I'm not in the target demographic anyway.

  44. Joshua said,

    August 6, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    I recently first heard of jeggings in a podcast on Slate, in which one of the women says, "Say that word a few more times — it sounds like a racial slur," and the one who brought the topic up admits she is sort of fascinated by them by saying "it's like I have fashion Stockholm syndrome."

  45. Rodger C said,

    August 9, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

    Speaking of Stockholm, my own first thought was that Jegging was a town somewhere in Scandinavia.

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