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I was watching a talk-variety-nonsense program on TV yesterday afternoon. They were doing an English conversation quiz. A (supposedly) native English speaker gave some how-to-say-that-in-English questions to a couple of terebi tarento (TV personalities -- I'm not happy with this translation. Do you have any better idea?). One of the questions was "Chakku ga aite imasu (Your fly is open)." Haha, do you remember my "fly" entry? Violet likes it very much and talks about it every time in class. Come on! Ah-oh, well, so a tarento answered "Your zipper is open." The (supposedly) native speaker regarded it as a wrong answer, saying "You can't say 'zipper' for the fly of your pants. Zipper is a word used for other clothes." -- Hey, that's news to me. Isn't the zipper-like thing on your pants a zipper (or a zip in British English)? What do you think? I don't know her nationality, but from her accent, it's certain she's not an American.

Incidentally, it's a shame that she didn't teach "Your barn door's open." ;)


In Canada saying "your zipper's open" would be quite appropriate and quickly understood! :)

In the US, it is the same way as Jennifer described it in Canada. I would even look if I was wearing running shorts ( no zipper ) if someone said that to me. :-)

Yep, any time someone says, "Your zipper's open," everyone knows which zipper is meant, unless one is wearing a dress. Incidentally, metal zippers are much more reliable than plastic ones. Does anyone know what the "YKK" on the zipper tab means?


Hi, MNW,

YKK is a name of the Japanese leading company which makes metal zippers and other metal products.


Most of the time I say, "Your fly's open." But it sounds just as natural to say "Your zipper's open."

I learned the old Japanese idiom ("the window of society") after one of the male teachers taught an entire class period with his open. I love that expression! I was sorry to read in your post that it was old-fashioned. Do you think it is more commonly said among women or people in Kyushu? I would hate to think that such a colorful expression had gone completely out of style. (It lives in Texas, though. I always use it now--even though no one has any idea what I'm talking about.)

Funny question... :) I think most people in the US would say 'fly', but possibly sometimes 'zipper'... Both would definitely be understood. In fact, you could even say "You've got something open", and most people would know right away what you're talking about... ;)

Thanks guys! :)

MNW, I've learned that YKK originally stood for "Yoshida Kogyo(Industry) Kabushiki-gaisha(Corporation)".

M, after posting that entry, I asked some of my students if they knew "shakai no mado," and they all knew what it is. Some have even used it. It still lives anyway. :)

I've always understood "fly" to be slang for "zipper". But glancing at Merriam-Webster on-line, I see this as one of many definitions of "fly":

Main Entry: 2fly
Function: noun
4 : something attached by one edge: as a : a garment closing concealed by a fold of cloth extending over the fastener

So the fly is not actually the zipper, but the flap that covers the zipper. Is it not inaccurate, then, to say that the fly is open when it, in fact, does not refer to the zipper?

Leave it to me to over-analyze.

Oh, so when the zipper is open, the flap may be open as well. The flap is the fly. Interesting!

Yep, Brits use the word zip, not zipper, but the phrase is normally with 'fly'...

"So the fly is not actually the zipper, but the flap that covers the zipper. Is it not inaccurate, then, to say that the fly is open when it, in fact, does not refer to the zipper?"

The OED has "the piece of cloth that hides the fastening at the front of a pair of trousers; also, the fastening itself", so either usage would be correct.

"[He is] flying low ...", is what you would normally hear in the UK. Zipper is purely an Americanism. You may hear "zip" used in the UK, but usually descriptively of the object (e.g. "it's fastened by a zip"), rather than "[his] zip is [open/undone]". Also, although everyone would undestand this usage of "fly", to say "[his] fly is [open/undone]" would usually be considered archaic ...

Yes! The phrase, "XYZ" stands for Examine Your Zipper...which is how I inform any clueless male that his fly is undone! I learned this from my grandmother who used it on my brothers while we were growing up in Indiana