[plim-suh l, -sohl] /ˈplɪm səl, -soʊl/

noun, British.
a canvas shoe with a rubber sole; gym shoe; sneaker.
(Brit) a light rubber-soled canvas shoe worn for various sports Also called gym shoe, sandshoe

“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.


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