1560s, "base supporting a column, statue, etc.; that which serves as a foot or support," from French piédestal (1540s), from Italian piedistallo "base of a pillar," from pie "foot" (from Latin pes "foot;" from PIE root *ped- "foot") + di "of" + Old Italian stallo "stall, place, seat," from a Germanic source (see stall (n.1)). The spelling in English was 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 by 1859.
updated on December 08, 2020