The two terms G-string and thong are often used interchangeably; however, they can refer to distinct pieces of clothing: The primary difference between the two garments is that a g-string has less material between the legs and buttocks, hence a string-like appearance. Variants of the G-string include the V-string,with a triangle "V" of cloth at the top of the rear, and the T-string, where a single string passes around the waist and between the legs, forming a T between the buttocks.
G-string or thong is probably the earliest form of clothing known to mankind; having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago. Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries. Much like the 2000-plus-year-old Japanese fundoshi, these early garments were made with the male genitalia in mind.
Although developed for the male anatomy by primitive peoples, in the modern West G-strings are more often worn by females. Female strippers and erotic dancers in the west have been wearing G-strings and thongs during their routines since the mid-1920s. They first gained mainstream popularity as swimwear in South America, particularly in Brazil in the 1970s. It was originally a style of thong swimsuit whose rear area became so narrow that it would disappear between the wearer's buttocks.
There are a number of intermediate styles between full rear coverage and a string rear. Like the tanga, the G-string is essentially a bottom covering that covers the pubis and leaves the buttocks bared; The term G-string is generally used when the vertical strap in the rear of a G-string is no wider than a string. Other similar styles include the Brazilian, rio, and T-back (T-string). The naming of the intermediate cuts is debatable, and different vendors use the words somewhat interchangeably.
There are several variations on the G-string. An example of one variation is the C-string; as narrow as a G-string but without the band around the waist, leaving just a "c-shaped" piece between the legs held in place firmly by a flexible internal frame. Since there is no material around the waist, the C-string completely eliminates the panty lines which thongs and other underwear create. C-strings are also designed for use as beachwear, which reduces the tan lines that would have been left by the side straps of even a G-string.
Sometimes the bareness of the bottocks is emphasised as in Spanish colaless, sometimes the T-like shape of the back. In Eastern Asia the G-string is widely known as T-back. The sound has been causing some confusion among Japanese speakers with a tea bag, which is also common in today's Japanese dictionaries. However, there are several usages of the term "T-back" in English as well (e.g. Children's literature author E.L. Konigsburg's T-backs, T-shirts, Coat and Suit). In other dialects of the Chinese language, the G-string is commonly called dingziku (丁字褲/丁字裤) which literally means "丁 character pants" (or roughly, "T-letter pants").
In Israel the G-string is called "Khutini" (חוטיני), from the word Khut, which means String.
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