Women's panties The word lingerie is a word taken directly from the French language, meaning undergarments, and used exclusively for more lightweight items of female undergarments. So faire le linge, comes to mean "do the laundry". In French the word lingerie applies to all undergarments for either sex. Although most lingerie is designed to be worn by women, some manufactures now design lingerie for men. Origins[ edit ] The concept of lingerie is a visually appealing undergarment that was developed during the late nineteenth century.