or plim·sol, plim·sole

[plim-suh l, -sohl]

noun British.

a canvas shoe with a rubber sole; gym shoe; sneaker.

Origin of plimsoll

First recorded in 1905–10; perhaps so called from fancied resemblance of the sole to a Plimsoll mark

Plimsoll mark

noun Nautical.

Origin of Plimsoll mark

1880–85; named after Samuel Plimsoll (1824–98), English member of Parliament who brought about its adoption
Also called Plim·soll. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plimsoll

Contemporary Examples of plimsoll

  • Three types of footwear -- including a brogue, a plimsoll, and an evening slipper -- established the basis for Katrantzou's theme.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Queen of Prints, Mary Katrantzou

    Erin Cunningham

    September 16, 2013

Historical Examples of plimsoll

  • Plimsoll'll use some of them to swear that he grubstaked Casey.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • Thoughts of Plimsoll and his revenges did not bother Sandy's head.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • Sandy's voice came to Plimsoll across a gulf that could never be bridged.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • It lay alone, and few visited it save Plimsoll's own associates.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

  • The favor I want of you is to tip me off if Plimsoll appears about to leave the country.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

British Dictionary definitions for plimsoll




British a light rubber-soled canvas shoe worn for various sportsAlso called: gym shoe, sandshoe

Word Origin for plimsoll

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

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