A feeble-minded old man, the foil of the clown, whom he aids
and abets in all his knavery. The word is derived from the dress he
used to wear, a loose suit down to the heels.
“That Licentio that comes a-wooing is my man Tramo bearing my port,
that we might beguile the old pantaloon.” —Shakespeare: Taming of
the Shrew, iii. 1.
Lord Byron says the Venetians were called the Planters of the
the Lion of St. Mark, the standard of the republic; and
further tells us that the character of “pantaloon,” being Venetian, was
(Planter of the Lion). (Childe Harold,
bk. iv. stanza 14, note 9.)
Playing second fiddle, being the cat's-paw of another; servilely
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894