1 : a condition in which the arch of the instep is flattened so that the entire sole rests upon the ground
2 a : slang police officer; especially : a patrolman walking a regular beat
b : slang sailor
In his latest movie, the actor plays an earnest flatfoot who is bested by some clever crooks.
"Conaway said a friend of his found some of Rohrbach's letters and papers at a rummage sale in Montgomery County. 'He turned it over to me because he knew I was with the veterans,' said Conaway, commander of the Neshaminy Falls Veterans Association. Seeing that Rohrbach was from Topton, the old flatfoot contacted the Reading Eagle for help finding the owner of the military memorabilia, including a solid gold Army airman's ring." -- From a column piece by Dan Kelly in the Reading Eagle (Pennsylvania), May 30, 2011
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 today's featured word, "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.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What 8-letter word beginning with "g" can mean "police officer" and is used especially of a police officer in a country where French is spoken? The answer is ...