flatfoot

noun

flat·​foot
(always so in sense 3)
ˈflat-ˌfu̇t How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
ˌflat-ˈfu̇t
plural flatfeet ˈflat-ˌfēt How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
ˌflat-ˈfēt
1
: a condition in which the arch of the instep is flattened so that the entire sole rests upon the ground
2
: a foot affected with flatfoot
3
a
or plural flatfoots, slang : police officer
especially : a patrolman walking a regular beat
b
slang : sailor

Did you know?

In 1899 the police officers of Akron, Ohio, climbed aboard the first police car (a patrol wagon powered by an electric motor). In that same year the noun flatty was first used in print with the meaning "police officer." Mere coincidence? Maybe, but consider that quite a few similar words have been used over the years to distinguish pedestrian officers from mobile ones, including flat, flat arch, flathead, flatter, and flatfoot. Other notable (and more comic) descriptors are pavement pounder and sidewalk snail. Flatfoot dates its "police officer" sense from 1913. It is especially used of those footing it to keep our cities safe, but it can also refer to police in general.

Examples of flatfoot in a Sentence

a comic strip about a square-jawed, trench-coated flatfoot who always caught the crooks in suitably dramatic fashion
Recent Examples on the Web There was clogging, stomping and flatfoot dancing; the Dutch and English square-dancing with the Africans and the Irish. Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2021 Overture on harmonica while flatfoot dancing and twirling a rope. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, 19 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flatfoot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flatfoot was in 1860

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near flatfoot

Cite this Entry

“Flatfoot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flatfoot. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

flatfoot

noun
flat·​foot -ˌfu̇t How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
-ˈfu̇t
plural flatfeet -ˌfēt How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
-ˈfēt
1
: a condition in which the main arch of the foot is so flattened that the entire sole rests upon the ground
2
: a foot affected with flatfoot
flat-footed
-ˌfu̇t-əd
-ˈfu̇t-əd
adjective

Medical Definition

flatfoot

noun
flat·​foot -ˈfu̇t, -ˌfu̇t How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
plural flatfeet -ˈfēt, -ˌfēt How to pronounce flatfoot (audio)
1
: a condition in which the arch of the instep is flattened so that the entire sole rests upon the ground
2
: a foot affected with flatfoot

More from Merriam-Webster on flatfoot

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!