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or plimsol, plimsole

[plim-suh l, -sohl] /ˈplɪm səl, -soʊl/
noun, British
a canvas shoe with a rubber sole; gym shoe; sneaker.
Origin of plimsoll
1905-10; perhaps so called from fancied resemblance of the sole to a Plimsoll mark

Plimsoll mark

noun, Nautical
Also called Plimsoll.
1880-85; named after Samuel Plimsoll (1824-98), English member of Parliament who brought about its adoption Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for plimsoll
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was not especially interested in Waterline happenings so long as plimsoll remained set.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • plimsoll jumped for the girl, caught her by one arm roughly.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • People always professed great regard for "Poor Jack," but until Mr. plimsoll arose, they left him to drown.

  • plimsoll's dark eyes were boring through the dealer's lowered lids.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • plimsoll slid a bolt on the door, brought over one of the makeshift chairs and placed it in front of Molly, seating himself.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • And they were tolerably certain that plimsoll had ambushed the two from the Three Star.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • plimsoll shrugged his shoulders, but his eyes flickered and, for a second, his cowardly soul shrank.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • An' didn't you have yore li'l' session with plimsoll all to yorese'f. What's eatin' you?

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • plimsoll's likely taken her over to the Waterline range country.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
British Dictionary definitions for plimsoll


(Brit) a light rubber-soled canvas shoe worn for various sports Also called gym shoe, sandshoe
Word Origin
C20: so called because of the resemblance of the rubber sole to a Plimsoll line
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plimsoll



"mark on the hull of a British ship showing how deeply she may be loaded," 1881, from Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898), M.P. for Derby and advocate of shipping reforms (which were embodied in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876). Sense extended 1907 to "rubber-soled canvas shoe" (equivalent of American English 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 association with sole (which sometimes influenced the spelling to plimsole). The name is of Huguenot origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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