Plimsoll is one of the many nicknames given to canvas and rubber-soled "sand shoes" which were originally invented for beach wear in England in the 19th century. The shoes were soon adapted by schools for physical education before the advent of training shoes or trainers as they are more commonly known. In North America, they are known as sneakers or tennis shoes.
Using the thick rubber sole of this shoe as an instrument of informal corporal punishment (aka "slippering") in schools in the UK was widespread because of its ready accessibility and undoubted efficacy when administered to the buttocks of errant pupils, whether they be clothed or not. Six of the best taken when touching toes left the buttocks stinging for a long time afterwards.
In the UK there were various nicknames for plimsolls such as "pumps" or "plimmies". "Daps" or "dappers" were names used in the West Country of the UK and in South Wales ... possibly because of the sound they made when used on a boy's bottom in shorts during a PE lesson!
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