gonch n. underpants or panties; chones. Editorial Note: According to Katherine Barber of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, as quoted in the Edmonton Journal in 2004, this word takes a variety of spellings: “In Saskatchewan, it’s gauch, gitch or gotch, but in Alberta it’s gaunch, ginch and gonch. On the Alberta side of Lloydminster, people suddenly get an ‘n’ in their underwear, and we have no idea why.” Ginch Gonch is a brand name of stylish underwear, begun in 2004. An unrelated gonch is a gonch hook used to lift the lid of a Dutch oven, a large pot used for outdoor cooking. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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13 Responses

  1. James Watt says:

    Gotch (gauch) I never saw it spelled out but we pronounced it as written above away back in Red Lake District High School in North Western Ontario in the late 1950s (1958-1960).  Referred strictly to boys underwear.  Generally jockey shorts.  Nothing vulgar about it then.  Hadn’t seen it used until today on your website.

  2. I lived in an anglophone section of Montreal during the late 1960’s, and we referred to our undershorts as “gotchies”, an interesting pluralization of the Saskatchewan usage.  Come to think about it, many terms referring to underwear are plurals referring to a single item: panties, drawers, BVDs, shorts, briefs, etc.  Does anyone know why?

  3. Growing up just east of Ottawa, Ontario, I’d always heard it as “gotch” (as James notes, there was never really any occasion to see it spelled out) as well.

  4. James Watt says:

    I should have mentioned in my comment above that we also used the singular and plural (gotchies or gauchies) indistintively.

  5. Greg Alan says:

    Gonch is a slang term for a vagina.

  6. In the movie “Ginger Snaps” (2000) the younger sister, Bridgette, says “I can see your gonch!” while photographing her older sister, Ginger.
    I didn’t know what it meant and google guided me here.
    (BTW, from the way it was pronounced I first searched for “gaunch”.)
    Thanks for the definition.
    —M

  7. john donovan says:

    Folks!  Is not one Polish or Slavic around here?  Gotchies are “underpants” in the language! Every kid with those roots grew up using that word.  I would assume this is a variation, and maybe that’s even where the vagina thing came from…skewing the word from “gotchie.”

  8. From the book “The Case of the Missing Books” by Ira Sansom:
    “‘Oh yes. They had all the seaviews [CVs] in the paper. Sure they were gaunches, weren’t they, Z, half of them?’ ‘Hmm,’ said Zelda, in a tone that suggested that Israel, too, might have been a gaunch, which he might well have been: he had no idea what a gaunch was.”
    The setting is a small town in Ireland. Gaunch here doesn’t sound like it means underwear but what it does mean I don’t know.
    Anyone know?

  9. Jwalton says:

    In the early 1970s, when I was a teen living in Surrey, BC, I kept a very detailed diary.  I had moved to Canada from Washington State in 1970, when I was a 13 year old teenage girl, and had never heard this expression for underwear.  By 1973 I had picked up the term “gaunch” from my friends to refer to both boys AND girls’ underwear.  Here’s a rather risque entry from my diary, dated Monday, July 2, 1973: “After dinner, we went to the park when it got dark, to go swimming at Kwantlen.  P. didn’t go in because she was just starting her period, so H. and I had the pool all to ourselves.  I went in my bra and gaunch and it wasn’t till H. said ‘We’d better swim’ and I unwrapped my legs from his waist that I realized he’d gone in skinny.”  I guess this serves as an example for the term “skinny” too, as a short hand for skinny-dipping, since I seemed to have used it all the time in those days.

  10. Debride says:

    I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta in the 50s and 60s. Edmonton must have been on the fault line between gotchie and gaunchie nations; I remember that both words were used by different friends – I fell into the gaunchie tribe. Gotch and gaunch were recognized by me then as cool slang contractions of the more proper longer terms.

  11. Debride says:

    Response to Jwalton: Just for boys. I quit using the term after I grew up, at least partly perhaps because I moved away at age 20 and so no one would have known what I was talking about.

  12. Jwalton says:

    Ah, as you will see by my post before yours, we used the term, in BC in the early seventies, for both girls and boys.  But I stopped using it too, after moving East, and then to the States.  My sister, still in BC, remembers the term (but doesn’t use it herself anymore, I guess), but says my niece, age 13, has never heard it used.  Or not yet, anyway.

  13. Jwalton says:

    Question for Debride: were gaunch or gotch (or gaunchie or gotchie) used for both boys and girls’ undies?  Or boys’ only?  Did you continue to use the term after you had grown up?

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