Boot: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cowboy boots custom made for President Harry S Truman.

A boot is a type of footwear. It mainly covers the foot and the ankle and extends up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, snow, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities – and for reasons of style and fashion.

High-top athletic shoes are generally not considered boots, even though they do cover the ankle, primarily due to the absence of a distinct heel.

Cowboy boots were western style and went above the ankle.


Types and uses

A pair of "classic" black leather Doc Martens.
Russian army boots
A pair of kneehigh boots in white leather with 6 cm (2.36") stiletto heels

Boots designed for walking through the elements may be made of a single closely-stitched design (using leather, rubber, canvas, or similar material) to prevent the entry of water, snow, mud or dirt through the gaps left between the laces and the tongue in other types of shoes. Simple waterproof gumboots are made in different lengths of uppers. In extreme cases, thigh-boots called waders, worn by anglers, end at the hip level of the wearer. Such boots may also be insulated for warmth. Most boots commonly sold in retail stores are not actually waterproof.

Speciality boots have been made to temporarily protect steelworkers if they get caught in pools of molten metal; to protect chemical workers from a wide variety of chemical exposure; and there are insulated, inflatable, boots designed for walking in the Antarctic continent. However, most work boots are "laceups" made from leather; formerly they were usually shod with hobnails and heel- and toe-plates, but now usually with a thick rubber sole, and often with steel toecaps. Work boots (like the popular Dr. Martens) were adopted by skinheads and punks as part of their typical dress and have migrated to more mainstream fashion, including women's wear. As a more rugged alternative to dress shoes, dress boots may be worn (though these can also be more formal than shoes).

Specialty boots have been designed for many different types of sports, particularly riding, skiing and snowboarding, Ice skating, and sporting in wet conditions.

Fashionable boots for women may all the variations seen in other fashion footwear: tapered or spike heels, platform soles, pointed toes, zipper closures and the like. The popularity of boots as fashion footwear ebbs and flows. They were popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but diminished in popularity towards the end of the 20th century. Today, they are becoming popular, especially designs that have a long bootleg.

Boots have their own devotees among boot fetishists, shoe fetishists and foot fetishists. Singer Nancy Sinatra was largely responsible for popularizing the fad of women wearing boots in the late 1960s.

Boots in idioms

A pair of tall riding boots
  • Boots, particularly those worn as protective footwear by workers (work boots) have a reputation for being as hard-wearing as their owners, hence the commonly used simile "tough as old boots".
  • Tall boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a tool to provide better leverage in getting the boots on. A German legend about a boy lifting himself by his bootstraps into the air, allowing him to fly, has led to the word's metaphorical use in many different contexts, such as "to pull yourself up by your bootstraps."
Calfhigh leather boots with stiletto heel (Le Silla).
  • To "die with one's boots on" means to die from violence as opposed to from natural causes (to "die in bed"); hence Boot Hill as a popular name for Wild West cemeteries.
  • Stormtroopers, skinheads, and other agents of authority or political strongarm tactics are typically referred to by their detractors as "jackbooted thugs," a reference to the tall riding or military-style boot of the Nazi uniform. Authoritarian rule, either by hostile military forces, or by groups of armed intimidators, is imposed by "jackboot tactics."
  • To "give someone the boot" means to kick them out (of a job, a club, etc.), either literally or figuratively.
  • To "put the boot off" someone's chin.
  • "The boot is on the other foot now" means that a situation has become reversed -- a previous victor is now losing, for example.
  • Wearing "seven-league boots" references a classic children's fairy tale and indicates that a person or company can cover great distances, figuratively or literally, in a single stride.
  • Boots may also be use as a beer drinking device which one will fill up the boot and drink from it. The most recent notable boot use in the 2006 movie Beerfest using a glass yard with a boot shaped bulb at the end known as "Das Boot", a reference to the 1981 movie, Das Boot, although "Das Boot" means "The Boat," not "The Boot."
  • To "shake in one's boots" means to be very frightened, and is mostly used sarcastically.

Types of boots

A pair of Gothic boots
Boot hooks (left) and a boot jack (right) are sometimes required to put on or take off some types of boots

A type of boot can fit into more than one of these categories, and may therefore be mentioned more than once



Sport boots

R.M. Williams elastic side riding boots

Work boots


Boot accessories

See also

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOOT. (1) (From the O. Eng. Mt, a word common to Teutonic languages, e.g. Goth. bota, " good, advantage," O.H.G. Buoza, Mod. Ger. Busse, " penance, fine"; cf. "better," the comparative of "good"), profit or advantage. The word survives in "bootless," i.e. useless or unavailing, and in such expressions, chiefly archaistic, as "what boots it?" "Bote," an old form, survives in some old compound legal words, such as "housebote," "fire-bote," "hedge-bote," &c., for particular rights of "estover," the Norman French word corresponding to the Saxon "bote" (see Estovers and CoMMoNs). The same form survives also in such expressions as "thief-bote" for the Old English customary compensation paid for injuries.

(2) (A word of uncertain origin, which came into English through the O. Fr. bote, modern botte; Med. Lat. botta or bota), a covering for the foot. Properly a boot covers the whole lower part of the leg, sometimes reaching to or above the knee, but in common usage it is applied to one which reaches only above the ankle, and is thus distinguished from "shoe" (see Costume and Shoe) .

The "boot" of a coach has the same derivation. It was originally applied to the fixed outside step, the French botte, then to the uncovered spaces on or beside the step on which the attendants sat facing sideways. Both senses are now obsolete, the term now being applied to the covered receptacles under the seats of the guard and coachman.

THE BooT, Boots or Bootikin was an instrument of torture formerly in use to extort confessions from suspected persons, or obtain evidence from unwilling witnesses. It originated in Scotland, but the date of its first use is unknown. It was certainly frequently employed there in the latter years of the 16th century. In a case of forgery in 1579 two witnesses, a clergyman and an attorney, were so tortured. In a letter dated 1583 at the Record Office in London, Walsingham instructs the English ambassador at Edinburgh to have Father Holt, an English Jesuit, "put to the boots." It seems to have fallen into disuse after 1630, but was revived in 1666 on the occasion of the Covenanters' rebellion, and was employed during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. Upon the accession of William III. the Scottish convention denounced "the use of torture, without evidence and in ordinary crimes, as contrary to law." However, a year or so later, one Neville Payne, an Englishman suspected of treasonable motives for visiting Scotland, was put to the torture under the authority of a warrant signed by the king. This is the last recorded case of its use, torture being finally abolished in Scotland in 1709. It was not used in England after 1640. The boot was made of iron or wood and iron fastened on the leg, between which and the boot wedges were driven by blows from a mallet. After each blow a question was put to the victim, and the ordeal was continued until he gave the information or fainted. The wedges were usually placed against the calf of the leg, but Bishop Burnet says that they were sometimes put against the shin-bone. A similar instrument, called "Spanish boots," was used in Germany.

There were also iron boots which were heated on the victim's foot. A less cruel form was a boot or buskin made wet and drawn upon the legs and then dried with fire.

<< Martin Boos

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also boot





Boot n. (genitive Boots or Bootes, plural Boote)

  1. boat

Related terms

Simple English

A boot is a type of footwear that protects the foot and ankle. Boots are higher and larger than shoes and sandals. Some boots are high enough to protect the calves (lower part of the leg) as well. Some boots are held on with bootstraps or bootlaces. Some also have spats or gaiters to keep water out. Most have a very strong boot sole, the bottom part of a boot.

Types of boots

  • Rain boots (or rubber boots) are made from rubber or plastic. Rain boots protect a person's feet from water and rain. People who work on fishing boats and farmers wear rubber boots to keep their feet dry. People who work in chemical factories wear rubber boots to protect their feet from dangerous chemicals.
  • Winter boots are boots that keep a person's feet warm in cold weather. People in cold countries such as Canada and Sweden wear winter boots during the cold season. Winter boots can be made from many different materials, such as leather, fabric, or plastic. Winter boots are insulated with wool or fur to keep the feet warm. Most winter boots also keep people's feet dry.
  • Work boots (or "construction boots") are designed for people who work in construction or factory jobs. Work boots often have a steel toe cover to protect the person's toes. Work boots are usually made of strong leather, to protect the person's foot from sharp objects or dangerous chemicals. Some work boots have a flat piece of steel in the sole to protect the foot from sharp nails. Many countries require construction workers to wear work boots when they are on a construction site.

Other meanings

People in English-speaking countries refer to boots in a figurative or joking manner when they tell someone "to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps". This is a joke because it is impossible for someone to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. What the person is really saying is "figure out your problem yourself" or "find your own way to better your situation."

As well, people sometimes use the term to bootstrap. This is an idiom meaning "to use something simpler to get something more complex to make itself work better." The word "boot" is also used to describe how a computer starts up when a person presses the "on" button.

Another term "To boot" is an idiom meaning also. For example, people say "he had a beer, and a whiskey to boot." This means that the person had a beer, and also had a glass of whiskey. Another slang use of the word "boot" is to say "Fred got the boot from the company." This means that Fred got fired from the company.

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