galoshes and rubbers and overshoes, oh my

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Fri Jun 8 01:45:00 UTC 2012

Joel, I'm from roughly the same area as you and have the same pattern.  I myself use "boots" for the higher shoe-like things, but my mother used "galoshes",  Rubbers cover your shoes, little more.  I have heard "overshoes", but never use the term.

Paul Johnston
On Jun 7, 2012, at 1:34 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: galoshes and rubbers and overshoes, oh my
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I too learned "galoshes" from my parents (NYC).  Despite the OED's
> (weaselly?) punt to another authority: "'Rare in U.S.' (Cent. Dict.)".
> "Overshoes" is not in my native vocabulary.
> Does anyone besides me associate "rubbers" with ankle-height and
> "galoshes" with something more like boots?  Curiously, the earliest
> quotation in the OED for "rubbers" (s.v. "rubber, n.1", sense 14) is:
> 1834   Daily Atlas (Boston, Mass.) 14 Oct. (advt.)    Boots, shoes,
> and rubbers.
> Although the advt. doesn't say whether the distinction is height or material.
> And Totes plays it safe:  "Men's Waterproof Storm Rubber Overshoe
> Galoshes Black by Waterproof Rubber Overshoe Galoshe".  (As seen on
> , item 5.)  To me,the object
> pictured is one "rubber".
> Joel
> At 6/7/2012 09:20 AM, Amy West wrote:
>> On 6/7/12 12:01 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
>>> Date:    Wed, 6 Jun 2012 22:50:17 -0400
>>> From:    Wilson Gray<hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject: Re: "basket house"
>>> On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 3:41 PM, Ben Zimmer
>>> <bgzimmer at>  wrote:
>>>>> the odd Briticism "overshoes"
>>> that's even in BE and, perhaps, other forms of Southern English. But,
>>> pf course, the headline-writer ought to have used standard_rubbers_.
>>> Not everyone is familiar with regional and other non-standard terms:
>>> _Trying the Economic Rubbers on Different Feet_
>> As always, I'm a "me-too": both American parents -- one from each coast
>> -- called 'em "overshoes" and I still have a pair of overshoes. Doesn't
>> strike me as a Britishism, and 'tain't labeled as such in MWC11.
>> "Galoshes" isn't labeled either (which is the older term,
>> interestingly). Now that I think of it, I think my mother (Bostonian)
>> favored "galoshes" over "overshoes." She would use "overshoes" when I
>> gave her a funny look about "galoshes."
>> ---Amy West
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
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