[foo t-ing]


Origin of footing

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at foot, -ing1


[foo t]

noun, plural feet for 1–4, 8–11, 16, 19, 21; foots for 20.

(in vertebrates) the terminal part of the leg, below the ankle joint, on which the body stands and moves.
(in invertebrates) any part similar in position or function.
such a part considered as the organ of locomotion.
a unit of length, originally derived from the length of the human foot. It is divided into 12 inches and equal to 30.48 centimeters. Abbreviation: ft., f.
foot soldiers; infantry.
walking or running motion; pace: swift of foot.
quality or character of movement or motion; tread; step.
any part or thing resembling a foot, as in function, placement, shape, etc.
  1. a shaped or ornamented feature terminating a leg at its lower part.
  2. any of several short legs supporting a central shaft, as of a pedestal table.
a rim, flange, or flaring part, often distinctively treated, serving as a base for a table furnishing or utensil, as a glass, teapot, or candlestick.
the part of a stocking, sock, etc., covering the foot.
the lowest part, or bottom, of anything, as of a hill, ladder, page, etc.
a supporting part; base.
the part of anything opposite the top or head: He waited patiently at the foot of the checkout line.
the end of a bed, grave, etc., toward which the feet are placed: Put the blanket at the foot of the bed, please.
Printing. the part of the type body that forms the sides of the groove, at the base.
the last, as of a series.
that which is written at the bottom, as the total of an account.
Prosody. a group of syllables constituting a metrical unit of a verse.
Usually foots.
  1. sediment or dregs.
  2. footlight(def 1).
Nautical. the lower edge of a sail.

verb (used without object)

to walk; go on foot (often followed by it): We'll have to foot it.
to move the feet rhythmically, as to music or in dance (often followed by it).
(of vessels) to move forward; sail: to foot briskly across the open water.

verb (used with object)

to walk or dance on: footing the cobblestones of the old city.
to perform (a dance): cavaliers footing a galliard.
to traverse on or as if on foot.
to make or attach a foot to: to foot a stocking.
to pay or settle: I always end up footing the bill.
to add (a column of figures) and set the sum at the foot (often followed by up).
to seize with talons, as a hawk.
to establish.
Archaic. to kick, especially to kick away.
Obsolete. to set foot on.

Origin of foot

before 900; Middle English; Old English fōt; cognate with German Fuss; akin to Latin pēs (stem ped-), Greek poús (stem pod-) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for footing

Contemporary Examples of footing

Historical Examples of footing

British Dictionary definitions for footing



the basis or foundation on which something is establishedthe business was on a secure footing
the relationship or status existing between two persons, groups, etcthe two countries were on a friendly footing
a secure grip by or for the feet
the lower part of a foundation of a column, wall, building, etc
mainly US
  1. the act of adding a column of figures
  2. the total obtained
rare a fee paid upon entrance into a craft, society, etc, or such an entrance itself



Michael (Mackintosh). 1913–2010, British Labour politician and journalist; secretary of state for employment (1974–76); leader of the House of Commons (1976–79); leader of the Labour Party (1980–83)


noun plural feet (fiːt)

the part of the vertebrate leg below the ankle joint that is in contact with the ground during standing and walkingRelated adjective: pedal
the part of a garment that covers a foot
any of various organs of locomotion or attachment in invertebrates, including molluscs
botany the lower part of some plant structures, as of a developing moss sporophyte embedded in the parental tissue
  1. a unit of length equal to one third of a yard or 12 inches. 1 Imperial foot is equivalent to 0.3048 metreAbbreviation: ft
  2. any of various units of length used at different times and places, typically about 10 per cent greater than the Imperial foot
any part resembling a foot in form or functionthe foot of a chair
the lower part of something; base; bottomthe foot of the page; the foot of a hill
the end of a series or groupthe foot of the list
manner of walking or moving; tread; stepa heavy foot
  1. infantry, esp in the British army
  2. (as modifier)a foot soldier
any of various attachments on a sewing machine that hold the fabric in position, such as a presser foot for ordinary sewing and a zipper foot
  1. a unit used in classifying organ pipes according to their pitch, in terms of the length of an equivalent column of air
  2. this unit applied to stops and registers on other instruments
  1. the margin at the bottom of a page
  2. the undersurface of a piece of type
prosody a group of two or more syllables in which one syllable has the major stress, forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
a foot in the door an action, appointment, etc, that provides an initial step towards a desired goal, esp one that is not easily attainable
kick with the wrong foot Scot and Irish to be of the opposite religion to that which is regarded as acceptable or to that of the person who is speaking
my foot! an expression of disbelief, often of the speaker's own preceding statementhe didn't know, my foot! Of course he did!
of foot archaic in manner of movementfleet of foot
on foot
  1. walking or running
  2. in progress; astir; afoot
one foot in the grave informal near to death
on the right foot informal in an auspicious manner
on the wrong foot informal in an inauspicious manner
put a foot wrong to make a mistake
put one's best foot forward
  1. to try to do one's best
  2. to hurry
put one's foot down informal
  1. to act firmly
  2. to increase speed (in a motor vehicle) by pressing down on the accelerator
put one's foot in it informal to blunder
set on foot to initiate or start (something)
tread under foot to oppress
under foot on the ground; beneath one's feet


to dance to music (esp in the phrase foot it)
(tr) to walk over or set foot on; traverse (esp in the phrase foot it)
(tr) to pay the entire cost of (esp in the phrase foot the bill)
(usually foll by up) archaic, or dialect to add up
See also feet, foots
Derived Formsfootless, adjective

Word Origin for foot

Old English fōt; related to Old Norse fōtr, Gothic fōtus, Old High German fuoz, Latin pēs, Greek pous, Sanskrit pad


In front of another noun, the plural for the unit of length is foot: a 20-foot putt; his 70-foot ketch. Foot can also be used instead of feet when mentioning a quantity and in front of words like tall: four foot of snow; he is at least six foot tall
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 footing

"position of the feet on the ground, stance," late 14c., from foot (n.). Figurative meaning "firm or secure position" is from 1580s; that of "condition on which anything is established" is from 1650s.



Old English fot, from Proto-Germanic *fot (cf. Old Saxon fot, Old Norse fotr, Dutch voet, Old High German fuoz, German Fuß, Gothic fotus "foot"), from PIE *ped- (cf. Avestan pad-; Sanskrit pad-, accusative padam "foot;" Greek pos, Attic pous, genitive podos; Latin pes, genitive pedis "foot;" Lithuanian padas "sole," peda "footstep"). Plural form feet is an instance of i-mutation. Of a bed, grave, etc., first recorded c.1300.

The linear measurement of 12 inches was in Old English, from the length of a man's foot. Colloquial exclamation my foot! expressing "contemptuous contradiction" [OED] is first attested 1923, probably a euphemism for my ass, in the same sense, which dates back to 1796. The metrical foot (Old English, translating Latin pes, Greek pous in the same sense) is commonly taken as a reference to keeping time by tapping the foot.

To get off on the right foot is from 1905; to put one's best foot foremost first recorded 1849 (Shakespeare has the better foot before, 1596). To put one's foot in (one's) mouth "say something stupid" is attested by 1942; the expression put (one's) foot in something "make a mess of it" is from 1823.



c.1400, "dance, move on foot," from foot (n.). To foot a bill is attested from 1848, from the process of tallying the expenses and writing the figure at the bottom ("foot") of the bill.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for footing



n. pl. feet (fēt)

The lower extremity of the vertebrate leg that is in direct contact with the ground in standing or walking.
A unit of length in the US Customary and British Imperial systems equal to 12 inches (30.48 centimeters).
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for footing



Plural feet (fēt)

A unit of length in the US Customary System equal to 13 of a yard or 12 inches (30.48 centimeters). See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with footing


In addition to the idioms beginning with foot

  • foot in both camps, have a
  • foot in one's mouth, put one's
  • foot in the door, get one's
  • foot the bill

also see:

  • bound hand and foot
  • caught flat-footed
  • get off on the wrong foot
  • not touch with a ten-foot pole
  • one foot in the grave
  • on foot
  • on the right foot
  • play footsie
  • put one's best foot forward
  • put one's foot down
  • put one's foot in it
  • set foot
  • shoe is on the other foot
  • shoot oneself in the foot
  • wait on hand and foot

Also see underfeet.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.