"a divided skirt," 1911, from French culotte "breeches" (16c.), a diminutive of cul "bottom, backside, backside, anus," from Latin culus "bottom, fundament" (see tutu). The word was earlier in English in the singular cullote, which was used to mean "knee-breeches" (1842). Por le cul dieu "By God's arse" was an Old French oath. Related: Culottic, literally "having or wearing breeches," hence "pertaining to the respectable class of society" (Carlyle, 1837).
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