[foo t-print]
  1. a mark left by the shod or unshod foot, as in earth or sand.
  2. an impression of the sole of a person's foot, especially one taken for purposes of identification.
  3. Informal. the track of a tire, especially on wet pavement.
  4. a unique set of characteristics, actions, etc., that leave a trace and serve as a means of identification: Be careful when you post on social media—your online footprint could harm your reputation. The tumors share the same genetic footprint.
  5. the area affected by an increase in the level of sound or noise, as that generated by an airplane.
  6. Telecommunications. the area of the earth's surface within which a communications satellite's signals can be received.
  7. Aerospace. the area within which it is predicted that a spacecraft or its debris will land.
  8. the surface space of a desk or tabletop occupied by a piece of equipment, especially a computer or other electronic device.
  9. the surface area occupied by any structure, device, etc.: The new store will have a large footprint.
  10. the impact that humans have on the environment, especially in the utilization of natural resources: China's water footprint; ways to reduce our environmental footprint.
  11. any impact or effect, or its scope: the company’s wide footprint across Puerto Rico.
  12. Also called ecological footprint. the amount of biologically productive land and ocean area required to sustain the resource consumption and waste production of an individual, population, or human activity: measured in global acres or hectares.
  13. Computers. the amount of memory or disk space required by a program.

Origin of footprint

First recorded in 1545–55; foot + print Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for ecological footprint

ecological footprint

  1. the amount of productive land appropriated on average by each person (in the world, a country, etc) for food, water, transport, housing, waste management, and other purposes


  1. an indentation or outline of the foot of a person or animal on a surface
  2. the shape and size of the area something occupiesenlarging the footprint of the building; a computer with a small footprint
  3. impact on the environment
  4. a military presencesince 1944, America's military footprint in Europe has been in the West
  5. computing the amount of resources, such as disk space and memory, that an application requiresSee also electronic footprint
  6. an identifying characteristic on land or water, such as the area in which an aircraft's sonic boom can be heard or the area covered by the down-blast of a hovercraft
  7. the area in which the signal from a direct broadcasting satellite is receivable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ecological footprint



1550s, from foot (n.) + print. Related: Footprints. Old English had fotspor, fotswæð.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper