15 sayings about feet you need to know probably isn’t what you expected to be reading today. Given our expertise in slippers and general interest in the wellbeing of feet, we use several of these sayings and phrases. As idioms often have nothing to do with their literal meanings and are so wonderfully colourful, we thought it would be fun to pick out some out to share with you.
- 1. Put your best foot forward:
- Meaning: To make a good impression or to do your best in a particular situation.
- Example: “When you go for that job interview, be sure to put your best foot forward.”
- 2. Drag your feet:
- Meaning: To delay or procrastinate, often intentionally.
- Example: “She’s been dragging her feet on making a decision about the project timeline.”
- 3. Get off on the wrong foot:
- Meaning: To start a relationship or situation poorly or with misunderstandings.
- Example: “I think we got off on the wrong foot when we first met, but now we’re good friends.”
- 4. Have itchy feet:
- Meaning: To have a strong desire to travel or move to different places.
- Example: “Ever since she read that travel book, she’s had itchy feet and wants to explore the world.”
- 5. Sweep someone off their feet:
- Meaning: To make someone feel extremely attracted or fall in love with you.
- Example: “His romantic gestures completely swept her off her feet.”
- 6. Put your foot in your mouth:
- Meaning: To say something embarrassing or socially awkward without intending to.
- Example: “I really put my foot in my mouth when I asked her if she was pregnant. She wasn’t.”
- 7. On the right foot:
- Meaning: To start something in a positive or favourable way.
- Example: “The new project got off on the right foot with a successful kickoff meeting.”
- 8. Cold feet:
- Meaning: To become nervous or anxious about a decision or upcoming event, often leading to hesitation or backing out.
- Example: “He was going to propose to his girlfriend, but got cold feet at the last moment.”
- 9. Follow in someone’s footsteps:
- Meaning: To pursue a similar path or career as someone who came before you.
- Example: “She decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a doctor.”
- 10. Have two left feet:
- Meaning: To be clumsy or awkward, especially in dancing or physical activities.
- Example: “I love to dance, but I have two left feet, so I always feel self-conscious.”
- 11. Get a foothold:
- Meaning: To establish a stable position or gain a small advantage, or a good start, in a situation.
- Example: “With her new job, she’s finally getting a foothold in this very competitive industry.”
- 12. One foot in the grave:
- Meaning: To be very old or in extremely poor health, often used humorously.
- Example: “He’s not that old; don’t talk as if he has one foot in the grave!”
13. Have your feet on the ground
- Meaning: To have a practical and sensible attitude to life.
- Example: “It’s important to keep your feet on the ground and not get carried away.”
14. Feet hardly touch the ground
- Meaning: to be so busy as to have little time to stop OR to be deliriously happy
- Example: “I was so busy this morning that my feet hardly touched the ground.”/”Her feet haven’t touched the ground since she heard the good news.”
15. Shoot yourself in the foot
Meaning: to say or do something that causes you problems or spoils your chances
Example: “You shot yourself in the foot when you let on to the boss that you are free that day.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, English is not the only language that includes “feet” or “foot” in idioms and expressions. In Chinese, a language that is famous for its sayings, there are many. Here are a few examples. You will see that some are similar or equivalent to one or two above.
- Block hands, block feet (碍手碍脚): to get in the way
- Stupid hands, stupid feet (笨手笨脚): clumsy
- Feet on solid ground (脚踏实地)： to be down to earth
- Big hands, big feet (大手大脚)： lavish, extravagant
- Look after the head not the feet (顾头不顾脚) attend to the present and leave the future to take care of itself
- Panicked hands, panicked feet (慌手慌脚) nervous/panicky
- Move stone smash foot (搬石砸脚) shoot yourself in the foot
If you can think of more foot-related idioms or know some in other languages, please share them with the other Slipper Souls in the comments.