Share this entry

Plimsoll line Line breaks: Plim|soll line
Pronunciation: /ˈplɪms(ə)l/
(also Plimsoll mark)

Definition of Plimsoll line in English:


A marking on a ship’s side showing the limit of legal submersion when loaded with cargo under various sea conditions.
Example sentences
  • It does not have a Plimsoll line like a cargo vessel.
  • Belisha beacons, bobbies on the beat, Big Ben, a ship's Plimsoll line - all are familiar terms with their origins in the names of notable MPs of their age.
  • Below this a single Plimsoll mark, ‘VI ‘, showing the draft of the tug in feet.’


Named after Samuel Plimsoll (1824–98), the English politician whose agitation in the 1870s resulted in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876, ending the practice of sending to sea overloaded and heavily insured old ships, from which the owners profited if they sank.

Definition of Plimsoll line in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly