Quick Summary

The Latin root word ped and its Greek counterpart pod both mean “foot.” These roots are the word origin of many English vocabulary words, including pedal centipede, podium, and podiatrist. Humans, for instance, are bipedal because they walk on two “feet,” whereas a tripod is a stand for a camera that has three “feet.”

Pedal to the Podiatrist

Sometimes English imports words from both Greek and Latin that mean the same thing. This has happened in the case of the Latin root word ped and the Greek root word pod, which both mean “foot.”

Let’s first take a look at the Latin root word ped: “foot.” A pedal on a bike is for the “foot” to push on. A pedometer measures the number of “feet” that you have walked. Pedestrians walk around on their “feet.”

Speaking of walking, since humans walk on two “feet,” we are known as bipeds. Some animals are similarly classified because of the number of feet that they have. Cattle, dogs, horses, sheep and the like are quadrupeds, etymologically meaning four “feet.” A centipede, likewise, is an insect with 100 “feet;” some centipedes actually do possess 100 “feet!” A millipede, on the other hand, supposedly has a thousand “feet.” In point of fact, millipedes usually have no more than 400 legs, although some of the very largest can have up to 750.

Now let’s take a look at the Greek root word pod, which also means “foot.” A tripod, for instance, is a stand with three “feet” that holds a camera steady. A podium is a stand for lecturers that possesses one “foot” that holds it up.

Ever wonder who is on the exact opposite side of the world that you are? That person would be at the antipodes of where you are, their “feet” placed exactly opposite yours.

A podiatrist is a “foot” doctor. Imagine a podiatrist having to take care of a sauropod or lizard “foot,” those colossal dinosaurs such as the brachiosaurus or apatosaurus! And imagine if you only had a head and feet, and nothing in-between; you would then be a cephalopod or “head foot,” such as an octopus or squid.

No need now to take a expedition to your dictionary the next time you come across words with ped and pod in them; now you can just put up your “feet” and smile!

  1. pedal: part of a bike for the ‘foot’
  2. pedometer: instrument which measures the ‘feet’ that someone walks
  3. pedestrian: one who walks around on her ‘feet’
  4. biped: animal which walks on two ‘feet’
  5. quadruped: animal which walks on four ‘feet’
  6. centipede: insect which has around 100 ‘feet’
  7. millipede: insect that etymologically has 1000 ‘feet’
  8. tripod: stand with three ‘feet’
  9. podium: stand with one ‘foot’
  10. antipodes: place on the Earth opposite one’s own ‘feet’
  11. podiatrist: ‘foot’ doctor
  12. sauropod: lizard-‘footed’ dinosaur
  13. expedition: a freeing of the ‘feet’ to travel


  • expedite

    When you expedite an action or process, you make it happen more quickly.

  • pedestrian

    If you describe something as pedestrian, you think that it is ordinary and not interesting.

  • expedient

    A thing or action that is expedient is useful, advantageous, or appropriate to get something accomplished.

  • impediment

    An impediment is something that blocks or obstructs progress; it can also be a weakness or disorder, such as having difficulty with speaking.

  • pedigree

    A pedigree is your list of ancestors or family tree; it can also be the lineage of a purebred animal.

  • pioneer

    A pioneer is someone who makes or does something for the first time.

  • expedition

    An expedition is a journey that is generally long and requires a lot of planning; it is often to a place that is far away and can be dangerous or hard to get to.

  • biped

    having two feet

  • bipedal

    having two feet

  • centipede

    chiefly nocturnal predacious arthropod having a flattened body of 15 to 173 segments each with a pair of legs, the foremost pair being modified as prehensors

  • expeditious

    marked by speed and efficiency

  • impede

    be a hindrance or obstacle to

  • millipede

    any of numerous herbivorous nonpoisonous arthropods having a cylindrical body of 20 to 100 or more segments most with two pairs of legs

  • pawn

    leave as a guarantee in return for money

  • pedal

    ride a bicycle

  • pedestal

    a support or foundation

  • pedometer

    measuring instrument for recording the number of steps taken in walking

  • peon

    a laborer who is obliged to do menial work

  • quadruped

    having four feet

Related Word Parts

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