Word Confusion: Feat versus Feet

Posted September 14, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I had no idea this Word Confusion post would turn out to be such an unachievable feat! I though, hey, simple. Feat is simply an incredible achievement. No big. As for feet, well, one either walks on them or measures by them.

But no, I had to complicate things up by insisting on feet and not foot. I mean, it doesn’t compare as an heterograph with feat, so I had to cancel out anything that was merely footing about.

Then the dictionaries got in on the act with their archaic and obsolete adjectives and verbs for what I thought was a simple feat. I’ve never heard of the descriptive or action aspects of feat and have no idea how to craft sentences for examples. So if anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear from you!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Feat Feet
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: feat; YourDictionary.com: feat

A section of a Roman road

“Via Appia Antica in Rome”, 2 June 2005, is MM’s own work under the GNU or CC-SA-3.0 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons.

Roman roads were a feat of engineering.

Three pairs of bare feet standing on the sand as a wave washes over them.

“Together at the Beach” by burningriver is in the public domain, via Visualhunt

Bare feet are the best.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective 1; Noun 2;

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: feats
Past tense or past participle: feated
Gerund or present participle: feating

Singular for noun: foot

NOTE: While foot is both an intransitive & transitive verb, it is usually as foot, so I won’t be covering the verb examples.

Third person present verb: foots
Past tense or past participle: footed
Gerund or present participle: footing

[Archaic] Apt 1

  • Skillful
  • Dexterous



An achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength 2

[Obsolete] To form

  • To fashion
NOTE: The definition has been edited to exclude any word usage that requires the singular form of foot

The lower extremity of the leg below the ankle, on which a person stands or walks

  • A corresponding part of the leg in vertebrate animals
  • [Zoology] A locomotory or adhesive organ of an invertebrate

A device on a sewing machine for holding the material steady as it is sewn

A [multiple] unit of linear measure equal to 12 inches

[Prosody] A group of syllables constituting a metrical unit

Needs examples

The new printing presses were considerable feats of engineering.

Organizing the place settings for this wedding was truly a feat of diplomacy.

That jump was an athletic feat of daring.

It was no mean feat.

Getting our laundry done was quite the feat.

Needs examples

You should learn to stand on your own two feet.

Some animals have two feet, others have four, and others have eight.

Sea urchins use tube feet to get around.

There are so many specialized feet out there for sewing machines.

He was eight-feet five-inches tall.

The most common feet in English are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, and anapest.

A bird’s feet are referred to as talons.

Some of the girls were in their bare feet and others in their stocking feet.

C’mon, get your feet wet!

Adjective: feater, featest
Adverb: featly
History of the Word:
Late Middle English, 1400-50, from the Middle French fait meaning made (to fit) from the Latin factus, a past participle of facere meaning to make, do.

2 Late Middle English, in the general sense of action or deed and from the Old French fait, from the Latin factum.

Old English fōt is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch voet and the German Fuss, which is from an Indo-European root shared by the Sanskrit pad, pāda, which is from the Greek pous, pod- and the Latin pes or ped- meaning foot.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

New York National Guard by The National Guard is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.