"one who treats diseases or malformations of the hands or feet," 1785, from chiro- "hand" + pod-, stem of Greek pous "foot" (from PIE root *ped- "foot") + -ist. Probably coined by Canadian-born U.S. healer Daniel Palmer (1845-1913); originally they treated both hands and feet. A much-maligned word among classicists, who point out it could mean "having chapped feet" but probably doesn't, and in that case it is an etymological garble and no one can say for sure what it is meant to signify. Related: Chiropody.
updated on November 13, 2017