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What Does Slew Footed Mean?

Slew footed

“Slew Footed” is a term that is often heard in the context of sports, particularly in ice hockey, but it can also be used in everyday language to describe a certain way of walking or standing. The term has different implications depending on the context in which it’s used, and understanding these nuances can be helpful. Let’s dive into a detailed, step-by-step exploration of what it means to be ‘slew-footed’.

Step 1: Understanding the Basic Definition

  • In General Terms: The term “slew footed” generally refers to a person who has feet that turn outward. This is a natural variation in foot alignment and is often just a characteristic of how a person stands or walks.
  • In Ice Hockey: In the specific context of ice hockey, “slew-footing” is a term used to describe a dangerous move where a player uses his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under them, often from behind. This action can cause the opponent to fall backward, posing a significant risk of injury.

Step 2: Origins of the Term

  • Etymology: The term “slew footed” comes from the word “slew,” which is a past tense of “slay.” When applied to feet, it originally referred to the way one’s feet might slide or slew sideways.
  • Historical Use: Historically, being slew-footed was often just a descriptive term for someone’s gait and wasn’t necessarily negative. However, in sports, it gained a more specific and negative connotation.

Step 3: Implications in Sports

  • Ice Hockey Rules: In hockey, slew-footing is a penalized action. It’s considered a dangerous play because it targets an opponent’s lower body and balance, leading to a high risk of injury.
  • Enforcement and Penalties: The severity of the penalty depends on the intent and the outcome of the action. It can range from a minor penalty to a major penalty and a game misconduct or even a suspension in severe cases.

Step 4: Medical Perspective

  • Physical Characteristics: Medically, being naturally slew footed (having feet that turn outward) is related to one’s anatomy and gait. It is often harmless but can sometimes be linked to underlying conditions or can cause discomfort during activities.
  • Treatment and Management: If being slew footed causes problems, orthopedic specialists or physical therapists can offer advice and treatment. This might include exercises, orthotics, or other interventions to improve comfort and function.

Step 5: Social and Cultural Aspects

  • Perception and Language: How being slew footed is perceived varies culturally. In some contexts, it’s merely a descriptive term, while in others, it might be seen negatively.
  • Changing Attitudes: Attitudes towards physical characteristics like being slew-footed have evolved, with a growing recognition of the importance of accepting diverse body types and physical traits.


Understanding the term “slew footed” requires looking at it from various angles – its basic definition, its use in sports, particularly in hockey, its medical implications, and its social and cultural aspects. Whether it’s describing a unique walking pattern or a specific foul in a sport, the term carries nuances that are important to grasp for a full understanding.

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