play footsie with

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play footsie(s) (with someone)

1. To rub someone's foot or feet with one's own, usually in secret beneath a table as a means of flirting or indicating romantic or sexual interest. My friend's sister started playing footsie with me during dinner. I had no idea she was into me! Are you two playing footsies?
2. By extension, to become secretly involved with someone; to offer clandestine cooperation with someone to gain their favor. It's been revealed that the senator has been playing footsie with major corporations to bypass federal regulations and bureaucratic red tape.
See also: play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play footsie with someone

1. to get romantically or sexually involved with someone. (Refers literally to secretly pushing or rubbing feet with someone under the table.) Someone said that Ruth is playing footsie with Henry. Henry and Ruth are playing footsie with each other.
2. to get involved in a scheme with someone; to cooperate with someone. The guy who runs the butcher shop was playing footsie with the city meat inspector. Henry was playing footsie with the mayor in order to get the contract.
See also: footsie, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play footsie

1. Behave coyly, flirt with, especially secretly. For example, Get to the point, there's no need to play footsie with us. This expression alludes to two persons surreptitiously rubbing each other's feet together. [1940s]
2. Cooperate or curry favor with in a sly or secret way, as in The mayor's been playing footsie with various neighborhood councils. [Mid-1900s]
See also: footsie, play
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

play footsie

1. If someone plays footsie, they touch or rub someone else's foot under a table as a sign of sexual interest. These couples drink lots of Chianti, share a dessert, play footsie and tip quite well.
2. If someone plays footsie with a person or organization, they show that they like them or are interested in them in an indirect and often insincere way. The singer has been playing footsie with all the major record labels. He was still playing footsie with the Prime Minister in order to get back in the Cabinet.
See also: footsie, play
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

play ˈfootsie (with somebody)

touch somebody’s feet lightly with your own feet, especially under a table, as an expression of affection or sexual interest
See also: footsie, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play footsie

1. To flirt with someone by secretly touching the feet with one's own.
2. To cooperate or curry favor in a sly or devious way.
See also: footsie, play
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
PLAY footsie with all sorts of summer shoe styles from sturdy comfort seekers to strappy sandals.
And when our elected officials play footsie with the militias, as Ross notes in her article, they need to be held accountable by the media and by the voters.
The usual rationales: the need to end "gridlock"; teh strength of the timber industry; the carpenters' union and its allies; the desire to play footsie with the Clinton crowd.
There's Asha's sexually liberated elder sister (somebody please tell her it's not OK to play footsie with your sister's boyfriend), there's a blind granddad (an ex-army guy walking with a loaded rifle), her naughty seven-year-old niece who plays games that are inappropriate for her age (somebody please tell her it's not OK to cart around a fake pregnant belly) and a brother who's openly racist towards his Pakistani neighbours.
Countering her allegations, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said: " The Trinamool Congress continues to play footsie with the Maoists, as clearly demonstrated by its chief unwilling to name the Maoists as being responsible for this attack.
I really think if I ended our relationship tomorrow, he'd be more upset about not having me around to play footsie with than missing me as a person.
"This election is a time for voters choose, not a time for politicians to play footsie with each other."
You cannot play footsie with a man like Saddam Hussein because he will tear your leg off.