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What is the origin of the phrase 'On a good footing'?

Question #132407. Asked by MikeMaster99.
Last updated Sep 03 2013.
Originally posted Sep 03 2013 2:10 AM.

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froggyx star
Answer has 1 vote
froggyx star
16 year member
114 replies avatar

Answer has 1 vote.
"During the days of trade apprentice-ships, when a newcomer - on the first time he put his foot over the threshold of his workplace - was expected to pay for drinks for all. If he was generous then he had had a good footing."

link http://www.english-for-students.com/Good-Footing.html

Sep 03 2013, 2:13 AM
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sportsherald star
Answer has 4 votes
Currently Best Answer
sportsherald star
11 year member
702 replies avatar

Answer has 4 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
While there is a site provided to back up the above derivation, it strikes me as the characteristic overly elaborate story common to a "false etymology," especially when the literal meanings of footing provide far more intuitive and straightforward sense. link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_etymology

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "footing" as:
"noun
1 (one's footing) a secure grip with one's feet:
he suddenly lost his footing
2 [in singular] the basis on which something is established or operates:
attempts to establish the shop on a firm financial footing
the position or status of a person in relation to others:
the suppliers are on an equal footing with the buyers
3 (usually footings) the foundations of a wall, usually with a course of brickwork wider than the base of the wall." link http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/footing?q=footing

While the second definition simply explains the expression in question, the other two, "a secure grip with one's feet" and "the foundations of a wall" both provide a logical basis for a metaphor of being on or starting from a safe and solid place.

Sep 03 2013, 9:44 PM
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