When I read Sherlock Holems's story, I came across a word that is not completely familiar and dictionaries do not help me.

What is the word/verb? **bootslip"??

"It is simplicity itself," said he; "my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe, just where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it. Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant bootslitting specimen of the London slavey. As to your practice, if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope, I must be dull, indeed, if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession."

From my search on the Yahoo image,

it looks like a bottom part of shoes ( like a belt surrounding a sole ( bottom ) of the shoe.

Is my guess correct?

1 Answer 1


I have never heard that term used before, so I looked it up. I couldn't find a dictionary that had it, but I found a couple of people who asked for it's definition in the same context as you did.

A servant was scraping mud from a pair of boots, and accidentally slitted it with her scraper. Bootslitting isn't really a word, but the author can refer to the servant as a bootslitter because of the context given in the paragraph.

Here are some of the sources I used: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/bootslitting.3250600/ https://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20140830065013AAZjEPF

  • So, bootslitting = slit a boot to remove the mud?
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 22:18
  • No, @KentaroTomono. To "slit" something means to cut it with a sharp blade, such as a razor. The implication is that the servant is so careless that he cut a slit in the boot with the edge of the tool, and ruined the boot.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:08
  • @ColinFine Thank you. Actually I am afraid I am understanding. It would mean, as you say, to remove the mud ( since it is stuck with the shoe ( or just "careless" for a "shoe" )) ,some razor, sharp knife like stuff was used. I think. Anyway, thank you.
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:12

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