[ foo t-ling ]
/ ˈfʊt lɪŋ /

adjective Informal.

foolish; silly: ridiculous, footling remarks.
trifling or useless.

Origin of footling

First recorded in 1895–1900; footle + -ing2

Definition for footling (2 of 2)


[ foo t-l ]
/ ˈfʊt l /

verb (used without object), foot·led, foot·ling.

to act or talk in a foolish or silly way.


nonsense; foolishness; silliness.

Origin of footle

1890–95; origin uncertain; cf. footy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for footling

British Dictionary definitions for footling (1 of 2)


/ (ˈfuːtlɪŋ) /


informal silly, trivial, or petty

British Dictionary definitions for footling (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfuːtəl) informal /

verb (intr)

(often foll by around or about) to loiter aimlessly; potter
to talk nonsense


rare foolishness

Word Origin for footle

C19: probably from French foutre to copulate with, from Latin futuere
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 footling



"to trifle," 1892, from dialectal footer "to trifle," footy "mean, paltry" (1752), perhaps from French se foutre "to care nothing," from Old French foutre "to copulate with," from Latin futuere, originally "to strike, thrust" (cf. confute). But OED derives the English dialect words from foughty (c.1600), from Dutch vochtig or Danish fugtig "damp, musty;" related to fog (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper