put one's best foot forward, to

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put one's best foot forward

Fig. to act or appear at one's best; to try to make a good impression. When you apply for a job, you should always put your best foot forward. I try to put my best foot forward whenever I meet someone for the first time.
See also: foot, forward, put
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

put one's best foot forward

Try for the best possible impression, make a good start, as in Come on, let's put our best foot forward for this interview. The allusion in this idiom is unclear, though it may concern marching. One theory is that best foot means "the right foot," the left being regarded as unlucky. [Late 1500s]
See also: foot, forward, put
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.

best foot forward

A favorable initial impression: He always has his best foot forward when speaking to his constituents. Put your best foot forward during an employment interview.
See also: foot, forward
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.

put one's best foot forward, to

To try to make the best possible impression. There is something inherently puzzling about this expression, which dates from the sixteenth century. What exactly is one’s “best foot,” and why should it signify putting on a good show? Shakespeare made it the better foot (in Titus Andronicus and King John), and Sir Thomas Overby wrote, in 1613 (Characters: A footeman), “His legs are not matches, for he is still setting the best foot forward.” One writer suggests that “best foot” always meant “right foot,” the left being considered unlucky. Whatever the explanation, the metaphor is still current.
See also: foot, put
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Ambition, keenness and the ability to put one's best foot forward even on an off day are a given.
Being part of an organization that sparks positive emotions among customers via holistic experiences makes any employee proud and offers motivation to put one's best foot forward. Philanthropy works similarly, as great experiences can lead to better narratives about why an organization is special, which can lead to an easier time securing dollars from donors.