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[flat-foo t-id] /ˈflætˈfʊt ɪd/
having flatfeet.
taking or showing an uncompromising stand in a matter; firm and explicit:
a flatfooted denial.
clumsy or plodding; maladroit:
flatfooted writing.
catch one flatfooted, to catch one unprepared; surprise:
The amount of the bill caught us flatfooted.
Origin of flatfooted
1595-1605; flatfoot + -ed3
Related forms
flatfootedly, adverb
flatfootedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for flat-footed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What we want here, sir, is straight-out, flat-footed hell—the burnin' lake o' fire an' brim-stone.

  • In a little while, with flat-footed stamping, Ben Helders came in.

    Christmas Zona Gale
  • Plan' ti grade, walking on the soles of the feet; flat-footed.

  • Or by bold combinations: down-and-out, up-state, flat-footed.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • By wetting the foot one can see readily whether he is flat-footed by the imprint made.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • I'd like to take a flat-footed stance as claiming that the end justified the means.

    Fore! Charles Emmett Van Loan
  • Then she must be used to flat-footed Finn servant girls, declared Ruth gaily.

  • They are bilt sumthing like a hen, and are an up-and-down, flat-footed job.

British Dictionary definitions for flat-footed


having flatfoot
(Brit, informal)
  1. clumsy or awkward
  2. downright and uncompromising
(informal) off guard or unawares (often in the phrase catch flat-footed)
Derived Forms
flat-footedly, adverb
flat-footedness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flat-footed

c.1600, "with flat feet;" meaning "unprepared" is from 1912, U.S. baseball slang, on notion of "not on one's toes;" earlier in U.S. colloquial use it meant "straightforwardly, downright" (1828), from notion of "standing firmly."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for flat-footed



Unprepared; surprised •Usu in the phrase catch someone flatfooted: He just stood there flatfooted and watched it roll in (1912+ Baseball)


Straightforwardly; without ceremony: If they were going to turn it down, they would have just flatfooted done it (1828+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with flat-footed


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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