On foot of

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Psy577

Senior Member
Italian
Hi there!

Here is a quick one. Is 'on foot of' a synonym for 'on the basis of'?

Example (talking about company reward systems):

Each point earned (by employees) determined a base-pay increase on foot of a certain coefficient.

Does it sound 'reasonable' in English?
Cheers,
RAf
 
  • Psy577

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Uhm............

    Thanks Loob,
    yet I'm sure I read it somewhere (some academic sources).

    Does it exist at all then!?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The phrase "on foot of" is not meaningful in this context sentence.
    It means following, as a consequence of, after.
    For examples, see in context.
    Gosh, panj, I've never come across that use of "on foot of". I see that most (all?) of the examples are from Irish sources: perhaps that will explain why:(
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Gosh, panj, I've never come across that use of "on foot of". I see that most (all?) of the examples are from Irish sources: perhaps that will explain why:(
    Ditto. I've never tripped on it in AE, nor seen it in any English until I looked at panj's links. I would have thought, wrongly, that it was a translation from Italian or Spanish.


    ______________________
    "The two most engaging powers of an author, are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new." –Dr. Samuel Johnson
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Good gracious!
    I didn't notice that at all at all, but you're right, bejabers :)
    It seems entirely natural to me.

    That explains why I couldn't find it in any of the usual sources.
     

    Psy577

    Senior Member
    Italian
    :) I'm glad some light was shed about this...
    And yeah, as I said, I 'tripped on it' in some academic sources... at Dublin City University! So I guess it makes sense in the end!

    Thanks guys, I wont forget about the meaning of this expression from now on! :)
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    On foot of definitely works in Irish English. I hear (and use it) all the time. I'm pretty surprised to learn that it's not used elsewhere. "On foot of a (bench) warrant" is one instance where it's always employed. Perhaps it's something specific to the Irish legal system and has spread into other areas of life, or it might be another instance of a locution falling out of fashion in England but remaining current here.
     
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    BDwolfhound

    New Member
    English-Ireland, Britain and USA
    On foot of definitely works in Irish English. I hear (and use it) all the time. I'm pretty surprised to learn that it's not used elsewhere. "On foot of a (bench) warrant" is one instance where it's always employed. Perhaps it's something specific to the Irish legal system and has spread into other areas of life, or it might be another instance of a locution falling out of fashion in England but remaining current here.
     

    BDwolfhound

    New Member
    English-Ireland, Britain and USA
    I would have to agree with Pedro y La Torre. "On foot of" may be an archaism, but is certainly still in use. My recollection is that it is commonly but not exclusively found in a legal context of some sort and means something like "pursuant to' or "in conformity with". The precise interpretation like so much of language is context-dependent. Alas, I have no idea of the etymology.
     

    BDwolfhound

    New Member
    English-Ireland, Britain and USA
    Thanks to Panjandrum (Grand, of course!) for his kind words. I was curious that "on foot of" seems to be described as Irish, so I hauled out the OED and found some hints, one being that it relates to what is written at the end or foot of a document, and the more convincing one relating to "footing" as "the footing, basis, understanding, totality of conditions or arrangements on which a matter is established", which jibes with what Psy577 said in the beginning.

    The OED adds the little note "obs", and indeed we no longer use footing in that sense. It now seems to be limited to the foundations of buildings or other structures. However, it is not surprising that the usage should have persisted in legal matters, where we still find Latin and Medieval French expressions. I will consult some English lawyers of my acquaintance to see if the phrase still survives in Britain or the colonies.
     

    Will B

    New Member
    English
    I am a sub-editor who works on the Irish version of a British newspaper. "On foot of" threw me the first time I read it but it is widely used in Ireland, so much so that I never change it. Generally I read it as "because of" or "as a result of".

    I am also a genealogy researcher and found this, relating to the abduction of a family member in Tipperary, reported in the Norfolk Chronicle of September 27 1777:

    A Treaty of Marriage was on Foot at the Time she was forced away, between her and a young Gentleman of a distinguished Family in Dublin.

    The piece was syndicated from Ireland to newspapers in England and Scotland. One wonders if the good yeoman of Norfolk understood "on foot" at the time. Perhaps they did.

    At first I thought that the usage here suggested "imminent" or "proposed" but it more than likely confirms the meaning advanced by BDwolfhound – that it is used for "understanding" and probably has a legal root.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    This article seems to agree:

    On foot of an Irish idiom


    In a comment on my post about 12 Irish English usages, Margaret suggested that I write about the Irish expression on foot of. It was a good idea: the phrase is not widely known outside Ireland and is therefore liable to cause confusion, if this exchange is any indication.

    On foot of means ‘because of’, ‘as a result of’, or ‘on the basis of’. T.P. Dolan’s Dictionary of Hiberno-English offers the example sentences ‘On foot of this, we can’t go any further with this deal’ and ‘On foot of the charges, he had to appear in the court’.




    I would further note that in the construction trades a "footing" is the basis of any foundation. It is required to be sunk below the frost line in colder climate to prevent movement. It would seem to have an similar origin as it is the basis upon which a structure is built.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I am a sub-editor who works on the Irish version of a British newspaper. "On foot of" threw me the first time I read it but it is widely used in Ireland, so much so that I never change it. Generally I read it as "because of" or "as a result of".
    I'm happy to hear that because we'd expect to see it in certain circumstances (particularly legal ones/articles relating to crime). :) I had a quick look at Northern Irish newspapers (Belfast Telegraph, Belfast Newsletter and the Irish News) and it's used as frequently there as in Southern Irish newspapers so it's standard across the island.

    According to Packard's link:

    The OED labels the usage Irish English and stresses its jurisprudential use, defining it as: ‘consequent and in conformance to (a legal judgment, decision, etc.); on the basis of’. It dates it to 1818 and says the phrase derives from foot in the sense footing, as in on an equal footing.
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I'm happy to hear that because we'd expect to see it in certain circumstances (particularly legal ones/articles relating to crime). :) I had a quick look at Northern Irish newspapers (Belfast Telegraph, Belfast Newsletter and the Irish News) and it's used as frequently there as in Southern Irish newspapers so it's standard across the island.

    According to Packard's link:
    I would have assumed that "equal footing" meant that swordsmen were at the same level in battle, however there are too many references to "equal footing" online and I cannot find any origin of meaning. I still think it is battle related however.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Re post 15

    Hello Will B - welcome to the forums!

    I was intrigued by your Ireland-to-Norfolk "on foot":
    A Treaty of Marriage was on Foot at the Time she was forced away, between her and a young Gentleman of a distinguished Family in Dublin.
    That looks to me very much like this meaning of "on foot":
    - In active existence, employment, or operation; in or into preparation or progress.
    (source: OED)


    What do you think?:)
     
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