plimsoll

plimsoll

[plim-suhl, -sohl]
noun British.
a canvas shoe with a rubber sole; gym shoe; sneaker.
Also, plimsol, plimsole.


Origin:
1905–10; perhaps so called from fancied resemblance of the sole to a Plimsoll mark

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World English Dictionary
plimsoll or plimsole (ˈplɪmsəl)
 
n
(Brit) gym shoe, Also called: sandshoe a light rubber-soled canvas shoe worn for various sports
 
[C20: so called because of the resemblance of the rubber sole to a Plimsoll line]
 
plimsole or plimsole
 
n
 
[C20: so called because of the resemblance of the rubber sole to a Plimsoll line]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Plimsoll
"mark on the hull of a British ship showing how deeply she may be loaded," 1881, from Samuel Plimsoll (1824-98), M.P. for Derby and advocate of shipping reform (which were embodied in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876). Sense extended 1907 to "rubber-soled canvas shoe" (equivalent of Amer.Eng. sneakers)
because the band around the shoes that holds the two parts together reminded people of a ship's Plimsoll line; sense perhaps reinforced by sound assoc. with sole.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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