Friday, 3 April 2015

Discalceate - The Naked Foot

Bare feet on bare ground
Photo by Mathanba


Adjective, verb & noun. Mid-17th century.
[Latin discalceatus, formed as DIS- + calceatus past participle of calceare to shoe, from calceus shoe.]

A adj. Barefoot; wearing sandals as the only footwear. M17

B noun. A discalceate friar or nun. Now rare or obsolete. M17

C verb. Take off the shoes (of). E17

I do rather like going barefoot, just as I rather like my new word discalceate to describe it. It can also be used as a verb, as in this sentence from the 1609 book Race Celestiall by Henry Greenwood:

'Moses was not permitted to come nigh the Lord, before he did discalceate himself.'

If you're also one of those officiously house-proud types that has a sign by your door asking guests to remove their shoes before entering, this might also make a nice variation:

'Visitors are kindly requested to discalceate themselves before entering.'

It's worth having one of those signs just to see the perplexed looks on their faces.

Bare feet walking on a busy street
Photo by Chris Goldberg
Do please bare your sole in the comment box below.


  1. Unromantic comedy: decalceated in the municipal amenities.

    1. Eek. I have a horrible feeling that familiarity with romantic comedies is a prerequisite for this joke ... ?

      I'm afraid it's gone right over my head : o /

  2. Replies
    1. A quick Google has confirmed yes, that's a real movie, and that's the joke I didn't get!

  3. Portuguese wouldn't be perplexed by the sign... we call shoes "calçado" and to remove shoes "descalçar" so it's even very close in sound and form to discalceate ;). Aren't we lucky?! ahahahah
    I have a thing with feet... it's not that I don't like it... I don't like to show them (never wear sandals mind you) and I definitely don't want to see other people's feet. That's probably why I don't have a shoe fixation that most women - specially those hooked on Sex in the City - seem to have... I might have some trauma I'm aware of... and it could be genetic as dear daughter started abhorring looking at feet but only after watching The Black Swan and the ballerina's feet.

    1. I would have been utterly befuddled by this word. It's the Latin connection, you see - gives you Romance speakers quite the advantage!

  4. If anyone had asked me to guess (before Lexicolatry), I would have said that 'discalceate' meant getting rid of all the dead skin from the bottom of the feet. Walking barefoot, as in the top picture, would certainly help.

    Welcome back Eddie.

    Eric F.

    1. I think, had I been tasked with guessing, I would have gone with 'to remove the calcium deposits from something,' as in 'I must discalceate my kettle.'

      It's a good job I wasn't tasked with guessing - which I suppose is why we have dictionaries.

      And thank you, Eric. It's good to be back.

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