on foot

on foot

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

  1. (in vertebrates) the terminal part of the leg, below the ankle joint, on which the body stands and moves.
  2. (in invertebrates) any part similar in position or function.
  3. such a part considered as the organ of locomotion.
  4. 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.
  5. foot soldiers; infantry.
  6. walking or running motion; pace: swift of foot.
  7. quality or character of movement or motion; tread; step.
  8. any part or thing resembling a foot, as in function, placement, shape, etc.
  9. Furniture.
    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.
  10. 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.
  11. the part of a stocking, sock, etc., covering the foot.
  12. the lowest part, or bottom, of anything, as of a hill, ladder, page, etc.
  13. a supporting part; base.
  14. the part of anything opposite the top or head: He waited patiently at the foot of the checkout line.
  15. the end of a bed, grave, etc., toward which the feet are placed: Put the blanket at the foot of the bed, please.
  16. Printing. the part of the type body that forms the sides of the groove, at the base.
  17. the last, as of a series.
  18. that which is written at the bottom, as the total of an account.
  19. Prosody. a group of syllables constituting a metrical unit of a verse.
  20. Usually foots.
    1. sediment or dregs.
    2. footlight(def 1).
  21. Nautical. the lower edge of a sail.

verb (used without object)

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

verb (used with object)

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


  1. get/have a/one’s foot in the door, to succeed in achieving an initial stage or step.
  2. get off on the right/wrong foot, to begin favorably or unfavorably: He got off on the wrong foot with a tactless remark about his audience.
  3. have one foot in the grave. grave1(def 5).
  4. on foot, by walking or running, rather than by riding.
  5. put one’s best foot forward,
    1. to attempt to make as good an impression as possible.
    2. to proceed with all possible haste; hurry.
  6. put one’s foot down, to take a firm stand; be decisive or determined.
  7. put one’s foot in/into it, Informal. to make an embarrassing blunder.Also put one’s foot in/into one’s mouth.
  8. set foot on/in, to go on or into; enter: Don’t set foot in this office again!
  9. under foot, in the way: That cat is always under foot when I’m getting dinner.


  1. 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)

  1. the part of the vertebrate leg below the ankle joint that is in contact with the ground during standing and walkingRelated adjective: pedal
  2. the part of a garment that covers a foot
  3. any of various organs of locomotion or attachment in invertebrates, including molluscs
  4. 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
  5. any part resembling a foot in form or functionthe foot of a chair
  6. the lower part of something; base; bottomthe foot of the page; the foot of a hill
  7. the end of a series or groupthe foot of the list
  8. manner of walking or moving; tread; stepa heavy foot
    1. infantry, esp in the British army
    2. (as modifier)a foot soldier
  9. 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
  10. music
    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
  11. printing
    1. the margin at the bottom of a page
    2. the undersurface of a piece of type
  12. prosody a group of two or more syllables in which one syllable has the major stress, forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. my foot! an expression of disbelief, often of the speaker’s own preceding statementhe didn’t know, my foot! Of course he did!
  16. of foot archaic in manner of movementfleet of foot
  17. on foot
    1. walking or running
    2. in progress; astir; afoot
  18. one foot in the grave informal near to death
  19. on the right foot informal in an auspicious manner
  20. on the wrong foot informal in an inauspicious manner
  21. put a foot wrong to make a mistake
  22. put one’s best foot forward
    1. to try to do one’s best
    2. to hurry
  23. put one’s foot down informal
    1. to act firmly
    2. to increase speed (in a motor vehicle) by pressing down on the accelerator
  24. put one’s foot in it informal to blunder
  25. set on foot to initiate or start (something)
  26. tread under foot to oppress
  27. under foot on the ground; beneath one’s feet


  1. to dance to music (esp in the phrase foot it)
  2. (tr) to walk over or set foot on; traverse (esp in the phrase foot it)
  3. (tr) to pay the entire cost of (esp in the phrase foot the bill)
  4. (usually foll by up) archaic, or dialect to add up

n.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. v.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. n. pl. feet (fēt)

  1. The lower extremity of the vertebrate leg that is in direct contact with the ground in standing or walking.
  2. A unit of length in the US Customary and British Imperial systems equal to 12 inches (30.48 centimeters).

Plural feet (fēt)

  1. 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.

Walking or running, not using a vehicle. For example, There’s no road to the lodge; we have to get there on foot. [c. 1300] Also see hoof it; on one’s feet; on the right foot. 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.

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