from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. smaller temporary or secondary lodging; a second home
  • n. house in the city

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A temporary lodging; a lodging or small apartment which one keeps for convenience to use in passing through a town, etc.
  • n. Mil., a foothold; a place from which to sally forth and upon which to retreat, as in a sortie upon an enemy.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French pied-à-terre (literally “foot on ground”)


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • Lol Asa. You worked hard on that one.

    April 27, 2008

  • Little known fact: This is actually one of those words the French don't like to admit they borrowed from another language, in this case English. It comes from "pie (of) the territory," a Welsh delicacy much like an empanada: minced meat, onion and herbs in a sort of starchy pouch, originally made for shepherds to take with them.

    Anyway, these were a hit with the French for a while in the 18th century, though they they mangled the transliteration (and pronunciation). They functioned as a sort of early take-out food, favored in particular by wealthy merchants and the like visiting Paris. They would take a pied-à-terre back to their apartments, and eventually the term came to refer to the apartments themselves.

    Naturally, the French came up with a dubious back-formation to disguise the foreign derivation. See the work of Prof. Da Nes for more detail.

    April 27, 2008

  • well, from my French, i think it means "foot on the ground, or earth" something like that. Maybe it means "being grounded" thesedays...

    April 27, 2008