1835 (but not in widespread use until 1852), "linen underwear, especially as made for women," from French lingerie "linen goods, things made of linen," originally "laundry room, linen warehouse, linen shop, linen market" (15c.), also the name of a street in Paris, from linger "a dealer in linen goods," from Old French linge "linen" (12c.), from Latin lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "flax, linen" (see linen). Originally introduced in English as a euphemism for then-scandalous under-linen. Extension to articles of cotton or artificial material is unetymological.