On foot of

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Psy577, May 12, 2010.

  1. Psy577 Senior Member

    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?
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    No, sorry, Psy: "on foot of" doesn't work in English.
  3. Psy577 Senior Member


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

    Does it exist at all then!?
  4. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    No. It's a word-for-word translation from Italian, isn't it? It makes no sense in English.
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    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.
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    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:(
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    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
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    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.
  9. Psy577 Senior Member

    :) 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! :)
  10. 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.
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  11. BDwolfhound New Member

    English-Ireland, Britain and USA
  12. 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.
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello BDwolfhound - and welcome to WordReference :)

    I see that the GoogleNews examples of this expression are still almost exclusively Irish.

    Here is a supporting definition:
    on foot of
    Irish because of; by reason of: the decision was taken on foot of advice from the Attorney General
  14. 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.

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