a mark left by the shod or unshod foot, as in earth or sand.
an impression of the sole of a person's foot, especially one taken for purposes of identification.
Informal. the track of a tire, especially on wet pavement.
the area affected by an increase in the level of sound or noise, as that generated by an airplane.
Telecommunications. the area of the earth's surface within which a communications satellite's signals can be received.
Aerospace. the area within which it is predicted that a spacecraft or its debris will land.
the surface space of a desk or tabletop occupied by a piece of equipment, especially a microcomputer or related device.
the surface area occupied by any structure, device, etc.: The new store will have a large footprint.
the impact that humans have on the environment, especially in the utilization of natural resources: China's water footprint; ways to reduce our environmental footprint.
any impact or effect, or its scope: the company’s wide footprint across Puerto Rico.
Also called ecological footprint. the amount of biologically productive land and ocean area required to sustain the resource consumption and waste production of an individual, population, or human activity: measured in global acres or hectares.
Computers. the amount of memory or disk space required by a program.

1545–55; foot + print Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
footprint (ˈfʊtˌprɪnt)
1.  an indentation or outline of the foot of a person or animal on a surface
2.  the shape and size of the area something occupies: enlarging the footprint of the building; a computer with a small footprint
3.  impact on the environment
4.  a military presence: since 1944, America's military footprint in Europe has been in the West
5.  computing See also electronic footprint the amount of resources, such as disk space and memory, that an application requires
6.  an identifying characteristic on land or water, such as the area in which an aircraft's sonic boom can be heard or the area covered by the down-blast of a hovercraft
7.  the area in which the signal from a direct broadcasting satellite is receivable

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1550s, from foot + print. Related: Footprints.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary


1. The floor or desk area taken up by a piece of hardware.
2. [IBM] The audit trail (if any) left by a crashed program (often in plural, `footprints'). See also toeprint.
3. "RAM footprint": The minimum amount of RAM which an OS or other program takes; this figure gives one an idea of how much will be left for other applications. How actively this RAM is used is another matter entirely. Recent tendencies to featuritis and software bloat can expand the RAM footprint of an OS to the point of making it nearly unusable in practice. [This problem is, thankfully, limited to operating systems so stupid that they don't do virtual memory - ESR]
Computing Dictionary

footprint definition

1. The floor or desk area taken up by a piece of hardware.
2. The amount of disk or RAM taken up by a program or file.
3. (IBM) The audit trail left by a crashed program (often "footprints").
See also toeprint.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
In advance of that footprint as suddenly dropped another.
Even a cow has a water footprint, drinking four gallons of water to produce one
  gallon of milk.
The shape of the tracks and their arrangement roughly resemble a large human
  footprint, and so the legendary explanation was born.
Many deliver distance education to out-of-state students to expand their
  geographic footprint.
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