from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An outline or indentation left by a foot on a surface. Also called footmark, footstep.
  • n. The surface space occupied by a structure or device: the footprint of a building; a microcomputer with a space-saving footprint.
  • n. An area within which a spacecraft is supposed to land.
  • n. A designated area affected or covered by a device or phenomenon: the footprint of a communications satellite.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The impression of the foot in a soft substance such as sand or snow.
  • n. Space required by a piece of equipment. Eg: This computer has a smaller footprint.
  • n. Amount of hard drive space required for a program.
  • n. The audit trail left by a crashed program
  • n. Profession or lifestyle, as in...
  • n. The surface space occupied by a structure
  • n. A company's geographic market presence. Eg. The store, which is slated to open next month, increases the company's footprint in the market to 14 locations.
  • n. The ecological impact of a human activity, machine, etc.
  • n. Availability of a satellite from the ground

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The impression of the foot; a trace or footmark.”

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The mark of a foot; an impression left by the foot in walking.
  • n. In geology, an impression of the foot of an animal on the surface of a rock, such impression having been made at a time when the stone was in the state of loose sand or moist clay; anichnite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a trace suggesting that something was once present or felt or otherwise important
  • n. the area taken up by some object
  • n. a mark of a foot or shoe on a surface


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The use of the term footprint to refer to the impact of human activity on the environment is about 30 years old.

    IEEE Spectrum

  • As you know, MacDill supports tanker operations for the United States Air Force, and we certainly are conducting tanker operations in what we call the footprint around Afghanistan, but we are not basing any of our refueling assets in Afghanistan.

    CNN Transcript Apr 5, 2002

  • ABC's Katz, a "huge hockey fan," suggests the league's "footprint" is growing.

    ABC interactive efforts up close, personal

  • Their carbon footprint is tiny and I think again that stresses the necessity for governments like Australia to move quickly to curb our emissions, Baird states.

    Australian Scientists Warn Asian, Indian Ocean Reefs Dying

  • For example, a 2007 estimate had 180,000 contractors supporting roughly 160,000 troops in Iraq; to the extent official numbers list just the 160,000 military personnel, the government can give the impression that our footprint is only half its actual size.

    David Isenberg: We Don't Need No Stinking Democracy

  • I think the profile of the products, the categories, the footprint, is quite strong.

    Transcript: Irene Rosenfeld

  • America used to be the CAN DO nation, and reducing our CO2 footprint is something we CAN DO and do it well if we set our mind to it.

    Global Warming...

  • Aside from the usual habitat destruction involved in extraction processes, aluminum production threatens your children in several ways: the climate change footprint is enormous, starting with the gases released in the process itself.

    J Henry Fair: Hungarian Bauxite

  • Of course their carbon footprint is high for just existing but they are raising the future generation to be very conservative of their resources.

    Let’s start an argument! « Dating Jesus

  • So maybe in their case the carbon footprint is smaller PER PERSON than the average family.

    Let’s start an argument! « Dating Jesus


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