PDA

View Full Version : US and UK English - checking comprehension of plimsoll and sneaker



Bolero
03-21-2019, 06:26 PM
Writing a story set in the UK, and was about to use the word "plimsoll" - for light rubber soled, canvas top shoe - far lighter and cheaper than trainers.

Then wondered if a US audience would understand the word "plimsoll" - and found that Wikipedia said that in the US "plimsolls" were "sneakers". As an English person I'm aware of sneakers as a term but would use plimsoll (and Wikipedia says that parts of the UK would say sand shoe not plimsoll).

So my question is - are you familiar with "plimsoll" or "sneaker" or both, and where are you from - as in UK, US, NZ..... just trying to avoid do-what moments for anyone reading my book. My character wants to buy really cheap sports shoes, so trying to avoid anything more expensive like trainers.

mrsmig
03-21-2019, 06:42 PM
I'm in the U.S. and I know what plimsolls are. If your setting is the UK and you give your average reader a decent amount of context, they should be able to figure it out, even if they're unfamiliar with the term (or can't be bothered to look it up).

I think you'd be on shakier ground with terms like "jumper" or "biscuit" - words which have different definitions in the UK and the US.

cornflake
03-21-2019, 07:14 PM
Writing a story set in the UK, and was about to use the word "plimsoll" - for light rubber soled, canvas top shoe - far lighter and cheaper than trainers.

Then wondered if a US audience would understand the word "plimsoll" - and found that Wikipedia said that in the US "plimsolls" were "sneakers". As an English person I'm aware of sneakers as a term but would use plimsoll (and Wikipedia says that parts of the UK would say sand shoe not plimsoll).

So my question is - are you familiar with "plimsoll" or "sneaker" or both, and where are you from - as in UK, US, NZ..... just trying to avoid do-what moments for anyone reading my book. My character wants to buy really cheap sports shoes, so trying to avoid anything more expensive like trainers.

I think plimsoll is iffy at best for a US audience, personally, though I agree context is probably helpful enough. Also, just btw, trainers = sneakers in the U.S. There are cheap sneakers and expensive ones, but they're all sneakers. Some places in the U.S. they're all gym shoes, I think the midwest. The U.S. has some regional weirdness.

In the U.S. what you're talking about are more like... boat shoes, sort of, skimmers, slip-ons, Keds (though Keds is a brand name[like Kleenex it's somewhat universally applied to a certain type of shoe] and usually refers to a canvas, simple sneaker with laces, I've also heard people referring to the slip-on kind [which they also sell] as Keds).

Jumper and biscuit, like chips, boot, etc., I'd think were more known here than plimsoll.

anaemic_mind
03-21-2019, 07:48 PM
I'm in the UK and know both terms but they mean different things to me. A plimsoll is a specific type of shoe used in schools for indoor PE type lessons. Usually black canvas with rubber sole designed to be slipped on or off. Sneakers to me are what I would call trainers, lace up sports or sports style fashion shoes.

FYI though plimsoll might be recognised by UK people but it is a regional thing and might be known as daps, pumps or probably many more different terms depending on where you are from. I'm from the south east, near London and mostly call them pumps.

KBooks
03-21-2019, 07:50 PM
US-Never heard of a plimsoll.

Coddiwomple
03-21-2019, 07:58 PM
US. Never heard of a plimsoll, either.

Raised in the west, where we wore tennis shoes or tennies, not sneakers. Sneakers were what New Yorkers wore.

Lived in New York state for a few decades now... I finally wear sneakers. :) Nobody here knows what tennis shoes are.

(Good thing you're not trying to put a name on that sweetened carbonated beverage that comes in a can.)

edutton
03-21-2019, 07:58 PM
I'm US, not familiar with plimsoll. (And I've consumed a fair bit of British media over the decades :)). Jumpers and biscuits, no problem.

Also, agreed that in my part of the US all those shoes can just be called sneakers.

Myrealana
03-21-2019, 08:03 PM
I'm an American who is quite versed in British TV and movies. I would recognize jumper, trainer, lift, biscuit, torch and football if spoken by a British character as a sweater, tennis shoe/sneaker, elevator, cookie, flashlight or soccer. I know to find a chemist for Paracetamol instead of going to a drug store for Tylenol.

However, I've never heard the word plimsoll before, and without a description or context, I would probably assume it's some kind of fish.

Bolero
03-21-2019, 08:27 PM
Thanks folks, definitely have some thinking to do. And the funny thing is, I actually grew up calling them daps, a regional name that is mostly west of England and not recognised UK wide - and plimsoll was the "proper" name. :D I am definitely meaning the slip on canvas thing, best used for indoor gymnastics but can be used out of doors if you don't mind wet feet.

Does bin-end meaning anything to you? My character is trying to spend as little as possible, going out to buy some really cheap sports shoes, from the kind of shop that does "pile it high, sell it cheap" - so bin-end, end of line.....

OK, so most US heard of UK biscuits, so could get away with it.....but would like to have a quick think on it - I do know that US biscuits come with gravy...... but UK biscuits are not cookies - UK cookies are very specific and usually a little upmarket on most biscuits - have a hand made look, are chewy, large and tend to have nuts and raisins or chocolate chips in. So for completeness (I'm bound to want to mention biscuits) what would US call something like a digestive biscuit (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-digestives), gingernut (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-ginger-nuts) (which can be teeth breaking hard) or a jammy dodger (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/burtons-jammie-dodgers)?

Coddiwomple
03-21-2019, 08:41 PM
Does bin-end meaning anything to you? Nope. And I'm one of those who wouldn't puzzle over football, flat, boot, biscuit...



So for completeness (I'm bound to want to mention biscuits) what would US call something like a digestive biscuit (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-digestives), gingernut (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-ginger-nuts) (which can be teeth breaking hard) or a jammy dodger (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/burtons-jammie-dodgers)?

All cookies. Cookies is a broad umbrella term here, and I'm not aware of any meaningful regional distinctions (as opposed to with footwear and that fizzy stuff in a can).

Edited to add: For bin-end, I guess we'd use bargain stores or discount stores. Thrift stores would be for previously used items. Consignment stores for used items that are of higher quality. There may be regional variations I'm not aware of.

cornflake
03-21-2019, 08:47 PM
Thanks folks, definitely have some thinking to do. And the funny thing is, I actually grew up calling them daps, a regional name that is mostly west of England and not recognised UK wide - and plimsoll was the "proper" name. :D I am definitely meaning the slip on canvas thing, best used for indoor gymnastics but can be used out of doors if you don't mind wet feet.

Does bin-end meaning anything to you? My character is trying to spend as little as possible, going out to buy some really cheap sports shoes, from the kind of shop that does "pile it high, sell it cheap" - so bin-end, end of line.....

OK, so most US heard of UK biscuits, so could get away with it.....but would like to have a quick think on it - I do know that US biscuits come with gravy...... but UK biscuits are not cookies - UK cookies are very specific and usually a little upmarket on most biscuits - have a hand made look, are chewy, large and tend to have nuts and raisins or chocolate chips in. So for completeness (I'm bound to want to mention biscuits) what would US call something like a digestive biscuit (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-digestives), gingernut (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-ginger-nuts) (which can be teeth breaking hard) or a jammy dodger (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/burtons-jammie-dodgers)?

I've spent a lot of time in England and have never heard bin-end. In the U.S. that's a dollar store, an odd lot...

Yeah I know what biscuits are, and call them biscuits. Biscuits in the U.S. can go with gravy I guess, but that's not in any way the norm. Like I know biscuits 'n' gravy is a thing, but it's a separate thing from just biscuits, which substitute for a bread (like as a side/addition to a plate, put on the table in a basket).

I buy McVities, Hobnobs, etc., here, and call them biscuits or digestives. I can get on board with Americans calling them cookies, as, like sneakers, cookie is kind of all-encompassing, from Oreos to Hamantashen, to chocolate chip to savoury like, rosemary-and-olive-oil shortbreads.

Tazlima
03-21-2019, 08:49 PM
US - I've heard the word "plimsoll," but I wouldn't have been able to give a definition if asked.

Upon reading the thread title, I recognized it as a nebulous pair of syllables that must have passed before my eyes at some point.

KBooks
03-21-2019, 08:55 PM
"Bin-end" makes me think of trash cans, so maybe. I might throw in a quick sentence describing the shoe. Cheap. Canvas. Or you could use the word if it's an important one you feel gives voice to the manuscript, because goodness knows readers manage to keep up okay in SFF worlds where many concepts/words are unfamiliar, but with enough explaining for audiences from other countries who will probably have never heard of it.

Siri Kirpal
03-21-2019, 09:51 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'm in the US. I've seen plimsoll and guessed it was some sort of shoe (sole), but not the type you'd want me to think. Sneakers, tennies, tennis shoes, trainers, no problem.

Bin end I might figure out from context, but don't recall having seen or heard.

I think digestives would equal graham crackers; at least, that's what I vaguely remember from a travel guide I once read. I'm not bringing up your links, but I'd guess gingernuts were a hard ginger cookie and a "jammy dodger" (what a name!) was a jam print cookie.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Liz_V
03-21-2019, 10:22 PM
US, and I read/watch a fair amount of British stuff. I was vaguely aware that a plimsoll is some kind of shoe, but I wouldn't get any more than that out of it. "Bin-end" is a new one on me, and I'd also think of trash cans if I didn't have context.

I've picked up "trainers" from Harry Potter, I think. Growing up they were "tennis shoes"; more recently I've taken to calling them "sneakers" (because it makes more sense, as I don't play tennis). "Gym shoes" wouldn't faze me, but I might check whether the speaker meant general daily-wear shoes with laces and rubber soles, or if they were buying them specifically for a gym class that had certain requirements. In all cases, there's no connotation of price or quality to me.

As for cookies, I don't think we really have digestives or jammy dodgers over here except as imports, but they'd be lumped in under "cookies". Basically, if it's a small sweet baked good in a roughly circular or cut-out shape, it's probably a cookie. Gingernuts look like they might be what we call gingersnaps (which is a specific kind of cookie).

ironmikezero
03-21-2019, 10:33 PM
Plimsoll threw me for loop--never heard of it.

As a kid growing up in the Washington, D.C. metro area in the '50s, boys wore sneakers, and the girls wore tennis shoes (an admittedly self-conscious distinction of adolescence).

If one could afford it, gender notwithstanding, one might acquire (@ $8/pair) Converse All-Stars Chuck Taylors, commonly called "Chucks". One would be lucky if a pair would last an entire summer; they were originally intended for the basketball court, not the street. I guess not that much has changed. Yeah, the brand is still around today, but will cost you considerably more than $8US.

Alessandra Kelley
03-21-2019, 10:35 PM
US. Was watching a British drama where someone referred to plimsolls. Had no idea what they meant even from context. They showed a selfie of the person’s feet and even then I didn’t figure it out.

My grandmother was English and my father was Anglophilic to the point of eccentricity, but I never heard of them.

Alessandra Kelley
03-21-2019, 10:42 PM
An American would probably call those a graham cracker (although such are almost always rectangular and crisper than digestive biscuits), a ginger snap, and a raspberry sandwich cookie.

(Graham crackers are classed as cookies, not crackers, despite the name, because they are sweet.)

Liz_V
03-21-2019, 10:56 PM
IMO, having eaten both, a graham cracker has very little resemblance to a digestive biscuit (although graham crackers are often recommended to help settle one's tummy, so they seem to serve a similar function).

Roxxsmom
03-21-2019, 11:02 PM
I'm familiar with the term plimsoll. There was a group with that name back in the 80s, and that's where I learned it. I'm familiar with other British names for sneakers or "tennis shoes," as they are often called in the US. Trainers (Harry Potter--though I think those are more like running or athletic shoes), sand shoes (Capaldi made fun of Tennant's doctor for wearing them) etc.

If the terms are authentic to the characters and setting, I wouldn't worry too much about whether every US reader knows the terms (I suspect many do, though, especially in the era of trans-Atlantic entertainment and the internet). Context will allow readers to figure out what it means. That's the way people are wired to learn new words.

I think I've learned many British terms that differ from US terms over the years from reading and from British TV shows. I've been there a few times as well, but a lot of what I've picked up is from reading and TV.

In the US, cookies are always sweet, and they come in all kinds of shapes, textures and varieties, from sandwich cookies with frosting in between, to chocolate chip cookies (probably America's favorite cookie), to flat, sweet wafers that might be called "biscuits" in the UK.

Biscuits here are generally savory (or not sweet) and leavened, often served with butter and honey or jam, but in some regions are served with a sort of white gravy. They're kind of like scones or crumpets, but the texture is different, and they tend to be smaller in diameter.

Crackers are flat, unleavened wafers that are generally quite salty. Often eaten with cheese or other savory spreads. Many these days are cheese flavored, or there are many flavor varieties like "olive oil and rosemary" etc.

Do US crackers fall more under the category of biscuits in the UK?

Oh, and in the US, we use the term "dessert" generically to refer to a sweet course served after lunch or dinner/supper. When in the UK, waiters always asked us if we wanted a "sweet" or "pudding" after a meal, never dessert. In the US, pudding refers specifically to mushy type desserts, like jello brand pudding, or tapioca, or some custards.

And "cake" is like gateau in Europe. We tend to call the things referred to as "cakes" in the UK as "pastries," or sometimes even "cookies."

frimble3
03-21-2019, 11:09 PM
Canadian here, from British kid's books, I figured out that 'plimsolls' was a inexpensive sneaker, used not really for sports, but more like a cheap playground shoe.

(I also know 'Plimsoll line' - the marking on ships to show correct loading, but you'd have to work hard to confuse the two.)

edutton
03-21-2019, 11:18 PM
Does bin-end meaning anything to you? My character is trying to spend as little as possible, going out to buy some really cheap sports shoes, from the kind of shop that does "pile it high, sell it cheap" - so bin-end, end of line....

It wasn't a familiar term, but it makes sense in context.

but UK biscuits are not cookies - UK cookies are very specific and usually a little upmarket on most biscuits - have a hand made look, are chewy, large and tend to have nuts and raisins or chocolate chips in. So for completeness (I'm bound to want to mention biscuits) what would US call something like a digestive biscuit (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-digestives), gingernut (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/mcvities-ginger-nuts) (which can be teeth breaking hard) or a jammy dodger (https://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/burtons-jammie-dodgers)?We mostly only have the one word, "cookies", that covers all of the above and more.

[ETA: by which I mean cookies do have specific names - gingersnaps, chocolate chip, what have you, but en masse they're all just cookies.]

Chris P
03-22-2019, 02:03 AM
In context, I would have supposed "plimsoll" was a brand name I wasn't familiar with being used as a common word, like calling shoes nikes. Despite my dabbling in Anglophilia, I never knew what it meant until reading this thread. All my UK friends called them trainers (while here "cross trainers" are a specific style, designed to be versatile for many sports, versus basketball shoes designed for basketball, running shoes for running, etc.).

I confused my UK friends when I used the term "tennies" for tennis shoes (generic for any type of sneakers, not specific for tennis), but in fairness I haven't heard that term used here in the US since the 1980s.

Bolero
03-22-2019, 02:09 AM
To me trainers have much thicker soles than plimsolls and promise heel cushioning and the like. I wouldn't call them sneakers, or even think that was what was meant, as to me a sneaker would be a sneaking around shoe, and would need a thinner sole than a trainer to be really quiet. Shows up my west of England side. :)

Yes, for me crackers would be what you'd serve with cheese - "Jacobs Cream Crackers" for example - square, salty, crisp. They might be referred to as biscuits, but they'd be qualified as cheese biscuits, or savoury biscuits, as biscuit biscuits are sweet. Just to be confusing, there are also oatcakes - which are savoury oat biscuits, flat, hard, crisp.

Frosting - always assumed that's some form of icing? Common ones in UK tend to be glace icing - icing sugar and hot water, forms a crisp layer with a sheen. Butter icing - icing sugar, butter and a little milk or cream. (Do not make with margarine, horrible.) Royal icing - made with egg whites and icing sugar, goes on Christmas and wedding cakes over a layer of marzipan.

Incidentally, fascinated by how languages evolve as the word biscuit comes from the Latin bis coctus, meaning twice baked - the second time to dry it out for storage - so the sort of breadish US biscuit is a bit of a drift from the twice baked meaning. Also, in the UK, we think of waffles as very American - but they were a popular fast food in Elizabethan England made by street vendors with charcoal braziers. We stopped eating them for some reason, but US continued.

Dessert - well, my parents always called the sweet course dessert - and thought using pudding or sweet in that context was a bit common. If someone said pudding to me, I'd think steamed pudding - like spotted dick (and yes that is a real pudding :) or bread pudding. And yes, usually served with custard.

Cake to me is Victoria sandwich cake or fruit cake or the like - so large things you'd cut a slice from. A small version would usually be a bun, or maybe a cup cake. (With homemade cakes, sometimes it's the left over big cake mix that wouldn't fit in the big tin, put in small tins.) A gateaux is much fancier and usually involves at least one layer of thick cream.
Pastries - for me would have to involve actual pastry - shortcrust, puff pastry. I'd associate it with a small one portion item and generally assume it to be a little bit posh - as in eclair, or danish pastry. There were lots of jam tarts in my childhood - short crust pastry, cut into rounds, dropped into patty pan tins and a teaspoon full of jam put in each case then baked.

Chris P
03-22-2019, 02:10 AM
As for cookies/biscuits, we recently had an excellent thread on this, but I'm not having any luck finding it.

talktidy
03-22-2019, 02:26 AM
I'm a 60 yr old female Brit and plimsoll is familiar to me. However, IMHO sneaker is starting to overtake plimsoll as a term for footwear, particularly for a younger generation of Brits. Plimsoll puts me in mind of the Famous Five and lashings of ginger beer.

My late partner called the things daps. I knew what he meant, but I'd never heard anyone actually say that apart from he and his family.

Jaymz Connelly
03-22-2019, 03:12 AM
Canadian Australian here - I've heard the term plimsoll, and figured it was some sort of shoe, but that's about it. No idea what type of shoe, though.

As for the digestive biscuit - I think it'd be more similar to an arrowroot cookie than a graham cracker. (I wish I could get graham crackers here!)

Bin-end... never heard the term and would assume it was sort of like off-cuts that got tossed in the bin. The same sort of store might be a factory outlet sort of thing here. Marshalls and TJ Maxx in California. *g* (went to both those stores when visiting my friend in CA)

BenPanced
03-22-2019, 06:34 AM
Different spelling, but these are the plimsolls I'm more familiar with (in the US): A Million Miles Away by the Plimsouls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIxgBMNhsKU)

Norman Mjadwesch
03-22-2019, 07:19 AM
Aussie weighing in.

Over here a lot of those names are known but not used. Plimsoll is never used (nor ever was AFAIK), more often it used to be sneakers, joggers, runners or sandshoes. Pretty much all of those seem to have fallen out of use these days, having just been replaced with brand names, e.g. Asics, Nike, New Balance etc... “Got myself a decent pair of Nikes the other day.” Even as far back as the late 1970s / early 80s it was common to refer to tennis shoes as Volleys (brand) and may have also applied to other brands as well.

Often they're just called shoes. Boots are what you wear at work in an outdoor setting (steel caps etc) but are also often just referred to by their brand.

Our name for various foods seems to be identical to UK words (slang notwithstanding).

ajaye
03-22-2019, 07:29 AM
We called them runners when I was young (in Melbourne). But I am an old bat.

Alessandra Kelley
03-22-2019, 11:30 AM
Until I looked them up I thought digestive biscuits were what we call soda crackers (or Saltines, using the brand name to describe the category). I have seen things like them called wholemeal biscuits, but they have all been UK or EU imports. We don’t really seem to have a name for them in the US, which is why I called them graham crackers, our nearest equivalent.

”Ginger nuts” suggested a hard candy to me. I had never heard of them.

waylander
03-22-2019, 11:44 AM
Totally familiar with plimsolls - used to have a pair for PE class. Have also heard them called daps.
If your character is trying to spend as little as possible I would expect them to be buying from charity shops - which might get you around potential confusion over using bin-end (a term I'm familiar with).

Bolero
03-22-2019, 11:46 AM
Ta Waylander, good idea :)

Given the wide variety of names mentioned in the thread, if I said "some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" would that work for people? Or would you assume it was canvas all over and no rubber sole?

Never heard of the plimsouls until this thread - watched a little bit and thought "how '80s" - and then saw copyright 1983. :)

Incidentally, not that I need it at the moment, but what would you call those sandals which have a leather strap with a buckle across your toes, a strap round the back of your heel and a strap across your ankle - flat soles, often crepe, sandal leather usually brown, worn by men and women, not fashionable? I never really had a proper name for them other than sandals, or open toed sandals the latter of which I thought was silly as they were open all over or "Clark's sandals" back when they were the main manufacturer - and then they started being called "desert wellies" or "free flow wellies" when worn in the rain, which worked for me.

Chris P
03-22-2019, 03:50 PM
Ta Waylander, good idea :)

Given the wide variety of names mentioned in the thread, if I said "some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" would that work for people? Or would you assume it was canvas all over and no rubber sole?

Never heard of the plimsouls until this thread - watched a little bit and thought "how '80s" - and then saw copyright 1983. :)

Incidentally, not that I need it at the moment, but what would you call those sandals which have a leather strap with a buckle across your toes, a strap round the back of your heel and a strap across your ankle - flat soles, often crepe, sandal leather usually brown, worn by men and women, not fashionable? I never really had a proper name for them other than sandals, or open toed sandals the latter of which I thought was silly as they were open all over or "Clark's sandals" back when they were the main manufacturer - and then they started being called "desert wellies" or "free flow wellies" when worn in the rain, which worked for me.

Birkenstocks! Or Birks for short. However, these are usually when they are actually the brand name. Associated with hippies and not at all cheap (starting at $100 per pair).

The cheapo sandals with a single thong through the big toe are called flip-flops due to the sound they make when walking. (Dunno if Englad uses this term, but they hadn't heard it in former British Africa, which is usually more UK than US in language).

Alessandra Kelley
03-22-2019, 04:21 PM
If I ran across the phrase "some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" I would assume the standard thin rubber sole was included, yes.

edutton
03-22-2019, 04:46 PM
Given the wide variety of names mentioned in the thread, if I said "some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" would that work for people?

Yep, that conjures up the right image for me. I'd assume rubber soles, as canvas soles would be weird. :D

Incidentally, not that I need it at the moment, but what would you call those sandals which have a leather strap with a buckle across your toes, a strap round the back of your heel and a strap across your ankle - flat soles, often crepe, sandal leather usually brown, worn by men and women, not fashionable?
I'd just call them sandals.

cornflake
03-22-2019, 06:42 PM
Ta Waylander, good idea :)

Given the wide variety of names mentioned in the thread, if I said "some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" would that work for people? Or would you assume it was canvas all over and no rubber sole?

Never heard of the plimsouls until this thread - watched a little bit and thought "how '80s" - and then saw copyright 1983. :)

Incidentally, not that I need it at the moment, but what would you call those sandals which have a leather strap with a buckle across your toes, a strap round the back of your heel and a strap across your ankle - flat soles, often crepe, sandal leather usually brown, worn by men and women, not fashionable? I never really had a proper name for them other than sandals, or open toed sandals the latter of which I thought was silly as they were open all over or "Clark's sandals" back when they were the main manufacturer - and then they started being called "desert wellies" or "free flow wellies" when worn in the rain, which worked for me.

Birkenstocks?

aspirit
03-22-2019, 07:31 PM
I'm from and in the US. This sounds like the first time I've seen plimsoll. I say "sneakers" for shoes that are often called "tennis shoes" or "trainers", which are generally synthetic leather or another soft plastic on top. The shoes you described sound simply like "canvas shoes" to me, except what I'm thinking of are casual street shoes, not gym apparel.

aspirit
03-22-2019, 07:34 PM
Incidentally, not that I need it at the moment, but what would you call those sandals which have a leather strap with a buckle across your toes, a strap round the back of your heel and a strap across your ankle - flat soles, often crepe, sandal leather usually brown, worn by men and women, not fashionable? I never really had a proper name for them other than sandals, or open toed sandals the latter of which I thought was silly as they were open all over or "Clark's sandals" back when they were the main manufacturer - and then they started being called "desert wellies" or "free flow wellies" when worn in the rain, which worked for me.

Sandals. I think the American equivalent to what you're describing are plastic Croc sandals or what I grew up calling "river sandals" (which are also plastic). Leather sandals are more fashionable.

Alessandra Kelley
03-22-2019, 07:56 PM
Apart from huaraches I have never heard a US word for any kind of sandal except "sandal." Maybe "sandal" with a modifier in front, like "waterproof sandal" or "open-toed sandal."

Bolero
03-22-2019, 08:32 PM
Thong through toe - yup, flip flops. Brightly coloured foam and plastic ones sold at all beaches and appear pretty much every where else too.

Birkenstocks - never heard of :)

And the sytle sandals I'm thinking of do also come in with woven fabric-ish straps and usually velcro fastening. Yeah, so long as it is clear they are flat, comfortable(ish) and cheap, that'll do. (And definitely not elegant in any shape or form.)

Kjbartolotta
03-22-2019, 08:45 PM
Apart from huaraches I have never heard a US word for any kind of sandal except "sandal." Maybe "sandal" with a modifier in front, like "waterproof sandal" or "open-toed sandal."

My mom always calls them zorries.

cornflake
03-22-2019, 08:54 PM
Thong through toe - yup, flip flops. Brightly coloured foam and plastic ones sold at all beaches and appear pretty much every where else too.

Birkenstocks - never heard of :)

And the sytle sandals I'm thinking of do also come in with woven fabric-ish straps and usually velcro fastening. Yeah, so long as it is clear they are flat, comfortable(ish) and cheap, that'll do. (And definitely not elegant in any shape or form.)

Those sound like Tevas.

Siri Kirpal
03-22-2019, 11:44 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'd assume a cheap canvas gym shoe would have a rubber or rubberized sole, yes.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Chris P
03-23-2019, 12:21 AM
Those sound like Tevas.

Or Chacos. Both are brand names, btw.

Liz_V
03-23-2019, 11:17 PM
[ETA: by which I mean cookies do have specific names - gingersnaps, chocolate chip, what have you, but en masse they're all just cookies.]

Mmm, a mass of cookies.... I need a snack.


"Some of those cheap canvas gym shoes" would work fine for me. Canvas upper, laces, thin rubber or rubber-like sole would be my assumption.

Sandals with straps over the toes and around the ankles are just "sandals" to me. I suppose you could say "casual sandals" if you wanted to distinguish them from the flashy, flimsy things with stupidly high heels that are fashionable for some reason, but that would probably be clear from context.

PeteMC
03-25-2019, 03:52 PM
I'm UK and know what plimsolls are, but I can't think when I last actually saw anyone wearing them. They might still be worn for PE / Gym in some schools but to me they're a relic of the 1970s and before. Everyone I know here either wears trainers / sneakers for sports footwear, or failing that Converse (which I think you call Chuck Taylors?).

MAS
03-28-2019, 07:07 AM
[QUOTE=

(Good thing you're not trying to put a name on that sweetened carbonated beverage that comes in a can.)[/QUOTE]

I will never forget the first time I found out about that. I was in a nice restaurant with some friends, and I ordered a bourbon and soda. The waitress looked at me funny and said, "bourbon and soda?"

"Yes," I said, kind of dismissively, wondering why she'd question it. Then she brought me bourbon and coke....

Snitchcat
03-29-2019, 05:15 AM
I will never forget the first time I found out about that. I was in a nice restaurant with some friends, and I ordered a bourbon and soda. The waitress looked at me funny and said, "bourbon and soda?"

"Yes," I said, kind of dismissively, wondering why she'd question it. Then she brought me bourbon and coke....

This one flew over my head.

What did you mean by "soda"?

Alessandra Kelley
03-29-2019, 06:02 AM
This one flew over my head.

What did you mean by "soda"?

In mixed drinks “soda” refers to “soda water,” plain unsweetened carbonated water.

Snitchcat
03-29-2019, 10:12 AM
In mixed drinks “soda” refers to “soda water,” plain unsweetened carbonated water.

Thank you.

I think that's what they call it in the UK -- full name. "Soda" on its own doesn't mean much, IIRC.

Cobalt Jade
03-29-2019, 09:50 PM
or failing that Converse (which I think you call Chuck Taylors?).

They started calling them Chucks here in WA state. Never heard them called that before.

Richard White
03-29-2019, 11:37 PM
I wore Chuck Taylor high-tops for basketball shoes back in the 60s and 70s. Used to cost $10 a pair and I'd get two every year (one pair for practice, one for the game).

Chris P
03-30-2019, 01:13 AM
And the biscuit thread (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?340823-A-daft-question-for-Americans-about-biscuits) has surfaced again.

Duncan J Macdonald
03-30-2019, 05:26 AM
And as a sailor, the plimsoll line marks the deepest draft a vessel can be laden to.

Wonderful language, this English.