Plimsoll is the name that was given to the type of flat running shoe universally worn for physical education before the advent of training shoes or trainers as they are more commonly known.
Its use as an instrument of informal corporal punishment 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.
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 ... maybe it was because of the sound they made when used on a boy's bottom in shorts during a PE lesson!
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Plimsoll_shoe ]
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See sting and thud for more on this distinction.