A footpad is an archaic term for a robber or thief specialising in pedestrian victims. The term was used widely from the 16th century until the 19th century, but gradually fell out of common use. A footpad was considered a low criminal, as opposed to the mounted highwayman who in certain cases might gain fame as well as notoriety.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the origin of the term is not entirely clear, but it may be a concatenation of foot and the word pad, related to path. This would indicate a robber who is on foot, as opposed to his equestrian counterpart.
- The Argus, Melbourne, Australia; BRUTAL ASSAULT, 09 Jun 1904 | http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/10323693
- Close (2002-05-03). "Stand and deliver: The history of the highwayman". London: Books.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- Rid, Samuel. "Martin Markall, Beadle of Bridewell," in The Elizabethan Underworld, A. V. Judges, ed. pp. 415–416. George Routledge, 1930.Online quotation. See also Spraggs, Gillian:Outlaws and Highwaymen: the Cult of the Robber in England from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century, pp. 107, 169, 190–191. Pimlico, 2001.
- "footpad – definition of footpad". Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
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