1560s, "base supporting a column, statue, etc.," from Middle French piédestal (1540s), from Italian piedistallo "base of a pillar," from pie "foot" + di "of" + Old Italian stallo "stall, place, seat," from a Germanic source (see stall (n.1)). Spelling in English influenced by Latin pedem "foot." An Old English word for it was fotstan, literally "foot-stone." Figurative sense of put (someone) on a pedestal "regard as highly admirable" is attested from 1859.
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