We usually look at different maladies of the foot but this week we are going to do something different. We are going to look at the word “foot” and its various meanings and uses. This is an eclectic mix of information. Just think, you could use it over the weekend for a rousing game of foot trivia. (You do play that, right?)
So why is it that it is a pedicure rather than a footicure? The pedi in pedicure means “of the foot” in Latin. And even though you didn’t ask, cura means “care”. So, you could stretch it and say that the translation for pedicure into modern English is foot care. Here are some extra trivia points for you – the use of nail polish can be traced back as far as 3000 BC to the Chinese? Yes, the color of the nail polish indicated social status.
Why is it that the same word is used for a unit of measure and the appendage at the bottom of your leg? Back in ancient times, they did not have rulers to carry around so they used what they had “on” them as a unit of measure. That means that they used their hands and feet as measuring instruments. In different cultures, the unit of measure differed in length but it was used by the oldest civilizations – Greek, Roman, and Chinese. You can still see contractors today who will get the rough measurement of a room by pacing it off and counting each step as about 12 inches.
Did you know that the word “passenger” originally meant a person who travels by foot?
Phrases that use the word “foot” and their meanings –
Foot Soldiers – a soldier that fights on foot
– a person who does work to accomplish a goal but is not the person in charge
Foot the Bill – to pay the bill for services rendered
Foot in Mouth – when you make a tackless or stupid comment. This is different from hoof in mouth, which is an animal disease.
Set Off on the Right Foot– when things start off in a good way
Foot in the Door – when you have an easier way into a situation or you have taken the first step toward a goal. Also it comes from when traveling salesmen would put their foot in the door to stop people from being able to close the door in their face.
Foot in the Grave– To be about to die
Put Your Best Foot Forward– make a favorable impression
Put Your Foot Down– use your position or status to stop something
Tender Foot – a beginner or novice
Put Your Foot into It– when you accidentally say something that embarrasses someone else.
Shooting Yourself in the Foot – doing something that inadvertently harms yourself
I am sure this trivia will help you win over the crowd on Memorial Day weekend. We wish you a safe and happy weekend.
Don’t forget that your friendly local podiatrist is happy to help you put your best foot forward…