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Posted by ESC on October 10, 2003

In Reply to: Footering posted by Sue Lambert on October 09, 2003

: What is the origin of this Scottish expression which means "messing around"

I found this in a reference with mostly British terms. There may be a connection.

FOOTLING - adj. "trivial, insignificant, minimal. The adjective is derived from the nearly obsolete verb to 'footle' meaning to idle, trifle or indulge in trivialities. (Originating in the French 'foutre,' to copulate or to bungle, influenced by 'futile.')" From "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).