Definition of plimsoll in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈplɪms(ə)l/
(also plimsole)


A light rubber-soled canvas shoe, worn especially for sports.
Example sentences
  • She is already wealthier than the 50 school friends she once ran with, in plimsolls and skirts.
  • Athletes must complete a 200-yard circuit, gingerly stepping over obstacles in their path such as fast-food containers, cans of lager and noxious-smelling plimsolls.
  • And, comfortable as they may look, O'Neill also urges parents to campaign against any school policy that requires children to wear plimsolls inside at all times.


Late 19th century: probably from the resemblance of the side of the sole to a Plimsoll line.

  • Use of plimsoll for a light rubber-soled canvas shoe, is probably because the strip covering the join between sole and upper resembles a Plimsoll line on the side of the ship, marking the safe limit for loading. This got its name from Samuel Plimsoll (1824–98), the English politician who fought to introduce the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876, which ended the practice of sending overloaded and heavily insured old ships to sea, from which the owners profited if they sank.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: plim|soll

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