Definition of foot in English:

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Pronunciation: /fʊt/

noun (plural feet /fiːt/)

1The lower extremity of the leg below the ankle, on which a person stands or walks.
Example sentences
  • The Antipodes were the body's extremities, its feet or its finger nails.
  • Loop one end of the tubing around the ball of the foot with the injured ankle.
  • This slows blood circulation and causes even more fluid to build up in your feet and ankles.
informal tootsie, trotter
(feet) rhyming slangplates of meat
North American informal dogs
1.1A corresponding part of the leg in vertebrate animals.
Example sentences
  • The floor of the print tends to be drawn upwards as the animal withdrew its foot from wet and sticky sediments.
  • They have an opposable hallux on their hind feet, and their pelage is soft, thick, and wooly.
  • The animal takes off with a push from its large and muscular hind limbs and lands on its hind feet and tail.
paw, forepaw, hind paw, hoof, trotter, pad
technical tarsus, ungula
rare slot, dewclaw
1.2The part of a sock, stocking, etc. that covers the foot.
Example sentences
  • There are many different knotting styles that can be used for naalbinding, and it was used mainly to produce gloves, or the feet of socks.
  • Simply knit around and around until the foot of the sock reaches two inches.
  • Turn right side out and slide the shoe onto the foot of the stocking.
1.3West Indian A person’s body below the torso, including the entire leg and the foot.
1.4 [mass noun] literary A person’s manner or speed of walking or running: fleet of foot
More example sentences
  • However, he is armed with two things which are valued higher than anything else these days, speed of foot and a refusal to lose.
  • In his position, Bergkamp has never really felt the necessity for speed of foot.
  • He had never been strong, but his Nymphian heritage had blessed him with speed, as he was light and fleet of foot.
1.5 [treated as plural] British historical or formal Infantry; foot soldiers: a captain of foot
2Something resembling a foot in form or function, in particular:
Example sentences
  • I really like these frames because they really show the function of the rear foot.
  • He laughed richly and grinned at her, making the crow's feet at the edge of his eyes ever more present.
2.1A projecting part on which a piece of furniture or each of its legs stands.
Example sentences
  • The table's feet, he added, are larger but similar to those on the museum's Cadwalader screen.
  • A small ball of clay or soil, pressed around the foot of the chair, bewildered us.
2.2A device on a sewing machine for holding the material steady as it is sewn.
Example sentences
  • A presser foot, for a sewing machine for use in sewing slide fasteners to garments, has a foot portion pivotally mounted on a vertically movable presser bar.
  • When threading up any sewing machine make sure the foot is 'up' as this opens the tension disks and the thread goes between.
2.3 Zoology A locomotory or adhesive organ of an invertebrate.
Example sentences
  • Typical symptoms include breathlessness, swollen ankles and feet, and extreme tiredness.
  • This is especially common in larger spider veins around the feet and ankles.
  • This uncommon lesion occurs predominantly in the small bones of the hands and feet, not the ankle.
2.4 Botany The part by which a petal is attached.
Example sentences
  • The three-lobed labellum is attached to the column by a column foot, where the nectary is located.
3The lower or lowest part of something; the base or bottom: the foot of the stairs complete the form at the foot of the page
More example sentences
  • Tomorrow, the team will be dropped by helicopter into the jungle and must trek to their base at the foot of a volcano.
  • He came on with Jessica St Rose aka Pepper Sauce, as her small but vibrant fan base rushed to the foot of the stage.
  • The dive base lay at the foot of a steep boulder slope, overhung by a high, arched ceiling adorned with enormous stalactites.
bottom, base, toe, edge, end, lowest part, lowest point, lower limits;
3.1The end of a table that is furthest from where the host sits.
Example sentences
  • Rafael starts speaking in an obscure accent as he collapses at the foot of the conference table.
  • Linda sits at the foot of the dinner table and we give her scraps.
  • Two elegant chair arms add comfort and make this chair ideal for the head or foot of the dining table.
3.2The end of a bed, couch, or grave where the occupant’s feet normally rest.
Example sentences
  • I have got a plot reserved for myself at the foot of their graves, but I don't like the thought of them being dug up later, splitting up the family.
  • I set the stone at the foot of her grave and stared at it in silence for awhile, remembering her face, voice, and actions.
  • Quartz stopped at the foot of his grave, tears flowing down her cheeks.
3.3The lower edge of a sail.
Example sentences
  • One must be careful not to cup the sail with too little tension on the foot of the sail by having the outhaul to loose.
  • With the sail laying down, rake sail back until the foot of the sail is touching the tail of the board.
4A unit of linear measure equal to 12 inches (30.48 cm): shallow water no more than a foot deep he’s about six feet tall
More example sentences
  • Takeshi stood a good six feet tall for a young man of 16.
  • He stood six feet tall and was covered in coarse black fur.
  • The center was a large room a good five hundred feet in diameter and several stories high.
4.1 [usually as modifier] Music A unit used in describing a set of organ pipes according to its pitch, the designation being the length of one particular pipe: an 8-foot reed stop
4.2 [usually as modifier] Music A unit used in describing a set of harpsichord strings playing at the same pitch as a set of organ pipes of the same designation: the 16-foot register
More example sentences
  • Normally it would consist of two eight foot stops and a four foot stop.
  • The largest harpsichord in the collection is described as possessing five registers and four sets of strings, one of which was probably a sixteen-foot stop.
5 Prosody A group of syllables constituting a metrical unit. In English poetry it consists of stressed and unstressed syllables, while in ancient classical poetry it consists of long and short syllables.
Example sentences
  • A trochee is a metrical foot of two syllables, the first long and the second short.
  • The division of a line of poetry into feet is much like the division of a musical phrase into bars.
  • But she genuinely excels on those occasions when she employs a mixture of metrical feet.


[with object] informal
1 (foot it) Cover a distance, especially a long one, on foot: the rider was left to foot it ten or twelve miles back to camp
More example sentences
  • But we didn't have time to worry about that, so we got changed in the hotel's swimming pool changing rooms (!) and hot footed it to the wedding.
  • ‘Yeah, let's go find a takeaway,’ agreed Ron, as they hot footed it outside.
  • I carried on to the client's home and then hot footed it back home to get David.
1.1 [no object] archaic Dance: the dance of fairies, footing it to the cricket’s song
2Pay (the bill) for something, typically when the amount is considered large or unreasonable.
Example sentences
  • Contrary to international law, it will be the world that foots the bill, estimated at $50-60 million.
  • But isn't the public, which currently foots the bill for one third of RTE's total revenue, entitled to know exactly where their money is going?
  • But, regardless of the squabbling, who foots the bill?
pay, pay up, pay out, pay the bill, settle up;
bail someone out
informal pick up the tab, cough up, fork out, shell out, come across, chip in
British informal stump up
North American informal ante up, pony up, pick up the check



at someone's feet

As someone’s disciple or subject.
Example sentences
  • We never sit at their feet and learn from their experiences.
  • Their gift was to leave indelible memories of the beauty of English poetry on all who sat at their feet.
  • Then, as the rig drifts toward the lake, everyone gathers around and sits at Litton 's feet.

be rushed (or run) off one's feet

Be very busy.
Example sentences
  • Day soon turned into night, the shop got busier, and I was rushed off my feet, but my mind not really in this world.
  • She was red in the face, partly from embarrassment and partly from being rushed off her feet - the inn was unusually busy.
  • A spokesman said: ‘We had expected to do brisk business, but we were rushed off our feet.’

feet of clay

A fundamental flaw or weakness in a person otherwise revered.
With biblical allusion (Dan. 2:33) to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, in which a magnificent idol has feet ‘part of iron and part of clay’; Daniel interprets this to signify a future kingdom that will be ‘partly strong, and partly broken’, and will eventually fall
Example sentences
  • Then I met him and I thought he was very much a man with feet of clay, which is very sad.
  • It was Solidarity's strength that showed - to those willing to see - that the Soviet colossus had feet of clay.
  • For, most of us like our heroes with feet of clay.

get one's feet under the table

chiefly British Establish oneself securely in a new situation.
Example sentences
  • And of course Galbraith was moved as soon as Henry McLeish got his feet under the table.
  • Until he gets his feet under the table in February, it will not be clear what a Perry-led SE will look like.
  • Now there is going to be a new chief executive who will have to settle in and get his feet under the table, which is unsettling for staff.

get one's feet wet

Begin to participate in an activity.
Example sentences
  • Beginning snorkelers may opt to get their feet wet in Grotto Beach's tranquil waters (take a complimentary lesson first).
  • So I got my feet wet there and through high school, so I was very fascinated with acting as a means of expression.
  • It's a great thing for getting your feet wet and figuring out whether blogging is something to which you want to devote some time.

get (or start) off on the right (or wrong) foot

Make a good (or bad) start at something.
Example sentences
  • ‘There is no getting away from our responsibilities,’ he begins, starting off on the right foot.
  • When we met them last week, they told us they had started off on the wrong foot and to go home and think about what our homes were worth.
  • Maybe we started off on the wrong foot because she came to me at 3: 00 am as a last minute transfer out of the ICU.

have something at one's feet

Have something in one’s power or command: a perfect couple with the world at their feet
More example sentences
  • With Faustus' great mind, proclaims Valdes, they will be able to harness the powers of black magic and have the world at their feet.
  • Oil under their feet changed their lifestyle in earnest from herding goats out in the desert to having the world at their feet.
  • Not only are they gifted players, they are also great personalities who have the football world at their feet.

have (or keep) one's (or both) feet on the ground

Be (or remain) practical and sensible: it’s a very exciting time for the business but it’s important that we keep our feet on the ground
More example sentences
  • I have my feet on the ground but remain confident I can go through.
  • But he remains confident that ‘a good poem allows you to have your feet on the ground and your head in the air simultaneously’.
  • They were always genuine and kept their feet on the ground even after hitting the big time.

have a foot in both camps

Have an interest or stake concurrently in two parties or sides: I can have a foot in both the creative and business camps
More example sentences
  • So I kept my Boroughmuir hat on to an extent, and in many ways have a foot in both camps.
  • So I see this as very much a yin-and-yang relationship, and most of us happily have a foot in both camps.
  • As one of those Reading Champions, I now have a foot in both camps.

have (or get) a foot in the door

Have (or gain) a first introduction to a profession or organization.
Example sentences
  • A spokesperson for the Athy ICA said: It is a positive step, we are happy to have a foot in the door.
  • Three times they've had a foot in the door to Super League - and three times it's been slammed in their faces.
  • If someone gets a foot in the door, performance (no other criteria) in getting good returns is almost always given for promotion.

have one foot in the grave

informal, often humorous Be near death through old age or illness.
Example sentences
  • Given this precarious situation we may already have one foot in the grave.
  • You don't have to have one foot in the grave to remember the bookies' runners surreptitiously collecting betting slips in pubs.
  • And without the game he loves, he looks to have one foot in the grave.

my foot!

informal Said to express strong contradiction: ‘He’s clever at his business,’ Matilda said. ‘Clever my foot!’
More example sentences
  • The note cautioned against any weakness of agreeing to any increase in the strength of Allied (allied, my foot!)

off one's feet

So as to be no longer standing: she was blown off her feet by the shock wave from the explosion
More example sentences
  • She was scheduled to get some foot surgery and had to be off her feet for eight weeks, starting four days from then.
  • It's no use waiting for a knight in shining armour to ride in and sweep you off your feet.
  • Or sit down, take the weight off your feet - look into the middle distance and dream a bit.

on one's feet

Standing: she’s in the shop on her feet all day
More example sentences
  • The thought of uniting was inevitable and my only chance of standing on my feet until I managed.
  • Marie was now standing on her feet, staring at the approaching aircraft.
  • You spend all day on your feet shopping with a friend.
14.1Well enough after an illness or injury to walk about: we’ll have you back on your feet in no time
More example sentences
  • But hopefully Bosley will be back on his feet and walking again in two months.
  • This lady who the doctors said could never be on her feet again was actually walking!
  • I didn't think that you would be well enough to be on your feet.

on (or by) foot

Walking rather than travelling by car or using other transport.
Example sentences
  • Motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles in the road and walk the remaining distance on foot.
  • The first time he came was in 1945 when the main means of transport was by foot or rickshaw.
  • In the past, hockey fans could walk on foot for miles to watch their favourite stars.

on the back foot

British Outmanoeuvred by a competitor or opponent; at a disadvantage: Messi’s early goal put Milan on the back foot the government found itself on the back foot as peaceful demonstrations continued
More example sentences
  • By the early summer of 1918, the German submarines were clearly on the back foot.
  • The Irish government appeared to be put on the back foot.
  • The polls may not show much change but the government gives all the appearances of being on the back foot.

on foot of

Irish Because of; by reason of: the decision was taken on foot of advice from the Attorney General
More example sentences
  • Further decisions could be taken on foot of that, he said.
  • The council established a special unit last year to look into outstanding levies due on foot of granted planning permissions.
  • There will then be a verifiable record of what action is taken on foot of that.

on the front foot

British Outmanoeuvring a competitor or opponent; at an advantage: City were on the front foot from the word go the Prime Minister’s bellicose performance was motivated by a desire to get back on the front foot
More example sentences
  • The Border Security Bill will put New Zealand's security on the front foot.
  • The fashion show was a chance for him to put his new company back on the front foot.
  • Soon enough Hearts were again on the front foot, their ability to spread the play leaving Aberdeen's players chasing shadows.

put one's best foot forward

Embark on an undertaking with as much effort and determination as possible.
Example sentences
  • ‘Politics is about putting your best foot forward and putting the other person in the worst light,’ Mr. Goldstein said.
  • It's all about the business and putting your best foot forward.
  • I mean, sure, you get disappointed because you go out there putting your best foot forward.

put one's feet up

informal Take a rest, especially when reclining with one’s feet raised and supported.
Example sentences
  • Rather than putting his feet up for a well-earned rest following his tour, Peter brought fun and laughter to the hospice.
  • We trained a little and managed to put our feet up for a deserved rest and a little bit of sun.
  • Sale's try-scoring wing-wizard is staying on in Australia and will put his feet up and rest after a stamina-sapping Lions tour.

put foot

South African informal Hurry up; make a prompt start: we’d better put foot—we’ve only got a couple of hours
Originally in the sense 'press on the accelerator of a car'
More example sentences
  • Both Dick and I just put foot on the accelerator and sped off.

put one's foot down

1Adopt a firm policy when faced with opposition or disobedience.
Example sentences
  • ‘The key to faking it,’ Johanna, 12, says, is putting your foot down: ‘Refuse to be lured into nervousness!’
  • Many employers are putting their foot down when it comes to hiring veiled women.
  • I have thought of putting my foot down but I have a sneaking suspicion some of the unruly behaviour is vaguely familiar.
2British Accelerate a motor vehicle by pressing the accelerator pedal.
Example sentences
  • Greg hadn't gotten his seat belt on, when Maxine put her foot down on the accelerator, and peeled out, after Jenny.
  • I put my foot down on the accelerator and sped away from the city.
  • I stared at the crashed car in the rear view mirror until it was out of sight, then I put my foot down on the accelerator.

put one's foot in it (or put one's foot in one's mouth)

informal Say or do something tactless or embarrassing.
Example sentences
  • These terms might not exactly trip off the tongue, but they could stop you putting your foot in it.
  • We had one conversation about putting your foot in it.
  • Speaking of sports ministers, it seems they all have a knack for putting their foot in it.

put a foot wrong

[usually with negative] Make a mistake in performing an action: he hardly put a foot wrong in the first round
More example sentences
  • But the film, shot largely on digital video, allowing it to use mostly natural light in a smoky, hazy look, hardly puts a foot wrong.
  • Jay-Jay's been sensational, Laville's hardly put a foot wrong.
  • They hardly put a foot wrong and contributed 16 points, converting two of the three tries and putting over four penalties.

set foot on (or in)

[often with negative] Enter; go into: he hasn’t set foot in the place since the war
More example sentences
  • It's odd to hear this as you enter a country you have never before set foot in.
  • Burai tried to ignore that as he entered and set foot on the white soiled floor.
  • So why head to the other side of the world to start afresh in a country that they have never set foot on before?

set something on foot

archaic Set an action or process in motion: a plan had lately been set on foot for their relief
More example sentences
  • We set enquiries on foot, and it turned out that there had been an overnight break-out from Barnyards' field.
  • The purposes with which they are set on foot are profit, honour, or avoidance of loss or dishonour.
  • It was easy to see what must be the fate of this fine system in any serious and comprehensive attempt to set it on foot in this country.

sweep someone off their feet

Quickly and overpoweringly charm someone.
Example sentences
  • Both of the women said Swaby had been charming and swept them off their feet at first, buying them lots of gifts.
  • Dior's extravagant creations swept them off their feet, and transported them to a sublimely flattering existence.
  • He sweeps them off their feet, uses them for his own selfish purposes, and then dumps them when he gets tired of them.

think on one's feet

React to events decisively, effectively, and without prior thought.
Example sentences
  • I am sort of thinking on my feet here as I react to the information from my two correspondents and from other sources.
  • How the candidates think on their feet and react to the audience can be a telling sign as to how they will act once they are in office.
  • I can see Dallas not knowing what to do, but the other three are veterans and talk about not thinking on your feet or reacting to circumstances.

to one's feet

To a standing position: he leaped to his feet
More example sentences
  • The energy sensitivity and conviction of the cast brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.
  • And at the end of the performance, we rose to our feet and gave a standing ovation.
  • The grand finale brought a beguiled and enthralled audience to their feet for a standing ovation.

under one's feet

In one’s way: when you’re at home you just get under my feet
More example sentences
  • It's nice when I have the occasional flurry and get a few more hits, in the same way that sometimes it's nice to have a house full of people but you wouldn't want them under your feet seven days a week.
  • If you really must have them out from under your feet, get dad to take them for a long walk in the park or countryside.
  • It's nice to spend time with a partner, but it's also a blessed relief when they get out from under your feet for a while.

under foot

On the ground: it is very wet under foot in places
More example sentences
  • Dead pine needles made the ground soft under foot.
  • In every section, you can smell the air and feel the wet leaves under foot while reading this guide.
  • Laid in patterns, they're eye-catching and durable under foot.



Example sentences
  • Are they going to breed a headless footless model?
  • The client has wheeled himself uncomfortably close to me, his footless leg dressed in a brightly colored argyle sock.
  • Today I was wearing a pair of black opaque footless tights.


Old English fōt, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch voet and German Fuss, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit pad, pāda, Greek pous, pod-, and Latin pes, ped- 'foot'.

  • An Old English word that appears as far back as the epic poem Beowulf, probably written in the 700s, foot comes from an ancient root which also gives us Greek pous, the root of words as varied as antipodes, octopus, and podium (mid 18th century), and Latin pes ‘foot’ ( see pawn). The measure equal to 12 inches was originally based on the length of a man's foot.

    When we use feet of clay to suggest that a respected person has a fundamental flaw, we are reaching back to a story from biblical times. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, dreamed about a magnificent idol which had feet ‘part of iron and part of clay’, and which was broken into pieces. The prophet Daniel interpreted this to mean that the kingdom would eventually fall. To have one foot in the grave is to be near death. Although the idea dates back to the 17th century, it is now particularly associated with the 1990s British TV comedy One Foot in the Grave, starring Richard Wilson as the unlucky but defiant Victor Meldrew, who had been forced into early retirement. See also first

Words that rhyme with foot

afoot, clubfoot, hotfoot, kaput, put, soot, splay-foot, underfoot, wrong-foot, Yakut

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: foot

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