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A.Word.A.Day--flatfoot

Pronunciation RealAudio

flatfoot (FLAT-foot) noun

1. A condition of the foot in which the arch of the instep is flattened and the entire sole touches the ground.

2. A police officer.

[Originally sense 2 referred to a foot soldier. In the past the term has been applied to sailors, and to police officers who walked on patrol. Today, it refers to any police officer and even to a detective.]

"Feel free to note the obvious. I am indeed the last person in the world who should be falling in love with the cops. Like most black men my age, I'm a serial cop-hater, armed with an astonishing array of ill encounters with flatfoots. Young black male rule number 4,080: when you see Jake strolling down your side of the street, get your English proper and cross to the other side." Ta-Nehisi Coates; Black for Blue; Village Voice (New York); Feb 18, 2004.

"Despite almost annual announcements that they would bury the hatchet, the two spy agencies usually reverted to using it again on each other. To the CIA, the FBI were 'Foreign Born Irish,' poorly educated flatfoots whose in-your-face investigating style blew many leads to KGB schemes. To the FBI, the CIA's view of law enforcement was so relaxed that it verged on the unconscious.' John Fialka; Spies vs. Spies: U.S. Intelligence Divided; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Nov 11, 1994.

This week's theme: words for body parts used figuratively.

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To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish. -Yiddish proverb

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