galoshes and rubbers and overshoes, oh my

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 7 21:27:15 UTC 2012

On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> Does anyone besides me associate "rubbers" with ankle-height and
> "galoshes" with something more like boots?

I do, though there seems to be a difference of opinion as to the exact
definition of _ankle-height_. I think that Joel pictures this as "the
point more-or-less immediately below the ankle," as do I, in this
case. And:galoshes are, indeed, more like boots, to the extent that
they are definitely fashioned so as to cover the ankle completely and,
perhaps, a bit of the calf. However, it's been so long since I've
dealt with galoshes that, the last time that I looked - some time
prior to 1950 - they had "Dot Snapper"-brand snaps and not zippers.
I've always considered "rain boots" to be only a more-stylish kind of
galoshes for girls and women.

As for "rubbers," in addition to being another word for "overshoes,"
they are, for me, specifically a kind of overshoe designed to be worn
over pumps. They cover only the toe and the back of the shoe itself
and not its (high) heel.

At that time - During The War - and in that place - Saint Louis -
galoshes were worn by all, overshoes only by males, rubbers and rain
boots only by females.

At one time, I labored under the mispreapprehension that the singulars
of words like "peaches" and "galoshes" were "peach[@]" and


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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