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Pantsing, also known as depantsing, debagging, dacking, flagging, sharking and scanting, is the pulling down of a person's trousers and sometimes also underpants, usually against their wishes, and typically as a practical joke or a form of bullying, but in other instances as a sexual fetish. The most common method is to sneak up behind the intended victim, grab the trousers at the waist, and apply a quick downward tug before the victim is aware of the assailant's presence.

Pantsing is a common type of prank or bullying in school gym classes.[1][2] Its most extreme form includes running the trousers up the school flagpole.[3] Some U.S. colleges before World War II were the scenes of large-scale "depantsing" scraps between freshman and sophomore males, often involving more than 2,000 participants.[4] It is also an initiation rite in fraternities[5] and seminaries.[6] It was cited in 1971 by Gail Sheehy as a form of assault against grade school girls, which did not commonly get reported, although it might include improper touching and indecent exposure by the perpetrators.[7] The United States legal system has prosecuted it as a form of sexual harassment of children.[8]

Alternative names[edit]

In Britain, especially historically at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, the term is known as debagging (derived from Oxford bags, a loose-fitting baggy form of trousers). In Northern England the dialect renders the word "dekekking" or "dekecking" where "keks" is a local word for underwear.[9]

A corresponding term in Australia (aside from pantsing) is dakking, dacking, or daxing, which originated from DAKS Simpson, a clothing brand that became a generic term for pants and underwear.[10][11] The term double-dacking is used when both the pants and underwear are pulled down. In Scotland the process is often known as breeking or breekexxing from the word breeks meaning 'trousers'. In New Zealand the act is known as giving someone a down-trou or drou (though this can have a more specific meaning, relating to loser-shaming in pool playing and other competitive games); in Ireland, it is jocking, zoonking or ka-blinking; in the north of England kegging (or quegging).[12]

An alternative term is sharking,[13] which usually implies a sexual assault on a stranger rather than a prank or bullying between peers, and is sometimes applied more broadly to the pulling down of blouses and other top clothing.[citation needed]


Pantsing can be used as a form of bullying and is technically the crime of simple assault. The practice has been viewed as a form of ritual emasculation. In 2007, British Secretary of State for Education and Skills Alan Johnson, in a speech to the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, criticized such bullying and criticized YouTube for hosting a movie (since removed) of a teacher being pantsed, saying that such bullying "is causing some [teachers] to consider leaving the profession because of the defamation and humiliation they are forced to suffer" and that "Without the online approval which appeals to the innate insecurities of the bully, such sinister activities would have much less attraction."[14][15][16]

Juanita Ross Epp is highly critical of teachers who regard pupils pantsing one another as normal behavior, saying that pantsing makes pupils feel intimidated and uncomfortable and that "normal is not the same as right".[17]

Focus populations[edit]

Pantsing occurs most often in school. Girls may collude with dominant boys in targeting weaker boys, and may also single out certain boys that do not share attributes with the dominant male group without the help or instigation of boys.[18]


  1. ^ Roberts, Walter B. (2005). Bullying from Both Sides: Strategic Interventions for Working With Bullies & Victims. Corwin Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 1-4129-2580-0.
  2. ^ Voors, William (2000). The Parent's Book About Bullying: Changing the Course of Your Child's Life. Hazelden. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-56838-517-4. depantsing.
  3. ^ Cunningham, Patricia; Lab, Susan (1991). Dress and Popular Culture. Popular Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-87972-507-5. depantsing.
  4. ^ "Customs Were Rugged Then". The Daily Collegian. 51 (2). 13 September 1950. p. 1. Retrieved 25 August 2009 – via
  5. ^ Hodapp, Christopher; Von Kannon, Alice (2008). Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies for Dummies. Wiley. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-470-18408-0.
  6. ^ Jordan, Mark D. (2002). The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism. University of Chicago Press. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-226-41043-2.
  7. ^ Sheehy, Gail (15 February 1971). "Nice girls don't get into trouble". New York. p. 28. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  8. ^ Martinson, Floyd Mansfield (1994). The Sexual Life of Children. Bergin & Garvey. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-89789-376-3.
  9. ^ English slang, p. 18
  10. ^ "Word of the Month: The Making of Australian English – Dak". Oxford University Press. 2010. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  11. ^ McClure, Geoff (16 February 2006). "Campo 'point' of view gets a makeover". The Age. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  12. ^ A dictionary of slang
  13. ^ Higgins, Paul (2 October 2015). "Fourth charge put to Lisburn teen accused of sexual assault by 'sharking'". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Youtube condemned by minister". The Watford Observer. 12 April 2007.
  15. ^ "British education minister warns malicious online videos hurting teachers". Broadcast Newsroom. Associated Press. 10 April 2007.
  16. ^ "Teachers are devastated by pupils' net effects". Belfast Telegraph. 13 April 2007. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.
  17. ^ Juanita Ross Epp (1996). "Schools, Complicity, and Sources of Violence". In Juanita Ross Epp and Ailsa M. Watkinson (ed.). Systematic Violence: How Schools Hurt Children. Routledge. p. 17. ISBN 0-7507-0582-5.
  18. ^ Neil Duncan (1999). Sexual Bullying: Gender Conflict and Pupil Culture in Secondary Schools. Routledge. pp. 21–32. ISBN 0-415-19113-0.