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Flip-flops are a type of light sandal, typically worn as a form of casual footwear. They consist of a flat sole held loosely on the foot by a Y-shaped strap known as a toe thong that passes between the first and second toes and around both sides of the foot. This style of footwear has been worn by people of many cultures throughout the world, originating as early as the ancient Egyptians in 1,500 B.C. In the United States, the modern flip-flop may have had its design taken from the traditional Japanese zōri, after World War II as soldiers brought them back from Japan.
Flip-flops became a prominent unisex summer footwear starting in the 1960s.
“Flip-flop” etymology and other names
The term flip-flop has been used in American and British English since the 1960s to describe inexpensive footwear consisting of a flat base, typically rubber, and a strap with three anchor points: between the big and second toes, then bifurcating to anchor on both sides of the foot. “Flip-flop” may be an onomatopoeia of the sound made by the sandals when walking in them.
Flip-flops are also called thongs (sometimes pluggers) in Australia, jandals (originally a trademarked name derived from “Japanese sandals”) in New Zealand, and slops or plakkies in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In the Philippines, tsinelas.
In India, chappal, (which traditionally referred to a leather slipper).This is hypothesized to have come from the Telugu word ceppu (చెప్పు), from Proto-Dravidian *keruppu,meaning “sandal”. Another hypothesis is that it comes from Sanskrit caraṇopānah (चरणोपानह्) or caraṇa-upānah (चरण-उपानह्) meaning “footwear”.
In Latin America, La Chancla. Throughout the world, they are also known by a variety of other names, including slippers in Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.