follow in someone's footsteps

footstep

[foot-step]

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English foote steppe. See foot, step

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
footstep (ˈfʊtˌstɛp)
 
n
1.  the action of taking a step in walking
2.  the sound made by stepping or walking
3.  the distance covered with a step; pace
4.  a footmark
5.  a single stair; step
6.  to continue the tradition or example of another

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

footstep
early 13c., "footprint," from foot + step. Meaning "a tread or fall of the foot" is first attested 1530s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

follow in someone's footsteps

Also, follow in someone's tracks. Follow someone's example or guidance. For example, Dean hoped his son would follow in his footsteps and become an economist, or Jane tried to follow in her mentor's tracks. [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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