- \ \  Footling appears to have originated as a euphemistic equivalent to fucking. It probably comes from a dialectal footer ‘mess about, fuck around’, which may well have been acquired from French foutre ‘copulate with’, a descendant of Latin futuere ‘copulate with’ (whose origin is not known).
Word origins - 2ed. J. Ayto. 2005.
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footle — (v.) to trifle, 1892, from dialectal footer to trifle, footy mean, paltry (1752), perhaps from Fr. se foutre to care nothing, from O.Fr. foutre to fuck, from L. futuere, originally to strike, thrust (Cf. confute). But OED derives the English… … Etymology dictionary
footle — ► VERB chiefly Brit. ▪ engage in fruitless activity; mess about. ORIGIN perhaps from FOOTER(Cf. ↑footer) … English terms dictionary
footle — [fo͞ot′ l, foot′ l] vi. footled, footling [altered (prob. after FUTILE) < dial. footer, to trifle < Fr foutre, orig., to copulate with < L futuere < IE * bhaut < base * bhau > BEAT] [Informal, Chiefly Brit.] to act or talk… … English World dictionary
footle — UK [ˈfuːt(ə)l] / US [ˈfut(ə)l] verb [intransitive] Word forms footle : present tense I/you/we/they footle he/she/it footles present participle footling past tense footled past participle footled informal to waste time doing things that are not… … English dictionary
footle — intransitive verb (footled; footling) Etymology: probably alteration of footer to waste time Date: 1892 1. to talk or act foolishly 2. to waste time ; trifle, fool • footle noun • footler noun … New Collegiate Dictionary
footle — foo|tle [ futl ] verb intransitive INFORMAL footle around/about to waste time doing things that are not important or necessary … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
footle — To briefly investigate or examine. From archaeology, when a trowel is used to quickly dig a small portion of a deposit to determine its nature and likely origin I don t know if this is a refuse pit or not. Let me just have a quick footle … Dictionary of american slang
footle — verb footle around/about to waste time doing unimportant things when you should be working … Longman dictionary of contemporary English
footle — /foot l/, v., footled, footling, n. Informal. v.i. 1. to act or talk in a foolish or silly way. n. 2. nonsense; foolishness; silliness. [1890 95; orig. uncert.; cf. FOOTY] * * * … Universalium
footle — 1. verb a) To waste time; to trifle. b) To talk nonsense. Syn: hang around, lallygag, loiter, lollygag, mess about, mill about, mill around … Wiktionary
footle —  Footling appears to have originated as a euphemistic equivalent to fucking. It probably comes from a dialectal footer ‘mess about, fuck around’, which may well have been acquired from French foutre ‘copulate with’, a descendant of Latin… … The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins