A pedestrian is one who travels on foot, ped being the Latin root for foot. But even though many people refer to chicken's feet as feet, are they actually feet scientifically speaking, such that they would qualify as being pedestrian when walking on them? What about animals with hooves, or paws?

Note: This is a question about the meaning of the English word pedestrian, specifically how (and if) it applies to non-humans.

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, phenry, FumbleFingers, anongoodnurse, Drew Dec 5 '14 at 6:24

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In case of animals I think the correct terms are: biped:

  • an animal with two feet.

or quadriped:

  • a four-footed animal.

a pedestrian is a human being.

(from TFD)

  • Not forgetting 'milliped' for millipedes, and 'centiped' for centipedes. :) – Erik Kowal Dec 5 '14 at 5:12
  • And pseudoped for amoebas. – Sven Yargs Dec 7 '14 at 18:26

Yes, you can use pedestrian for animals and it has nothing to do with its origin. (for the same sense as a human pedestrian). Though, you have to mention "animal" or the name of the animal along with "pedestrian", otherwise "pedestrian" itself would be understood as a human pedestrian by default.


Keeping the Streets Safe for Animal Pedestrians


It seemed that in the rural highlands of Scotland, cars certainly had the right-of-way over pedestrians, and animal pedestrians at that!

The Countess of Erroll By Ed. D Edwards, S. Elizabeth Edwards

There is also the usage of pedestrian in biology to define animals that walk on foot.

These rules refer, of course, to pedestrian animals, not flying animals or climbing animals. The human animal is a pedestrian, although he is descended from arboreal primates and has some climbing ability.

The Ecological Approach To Visual Perception By James J. Gibson [2013]

Studying the locomotion of aquatic pedestrian animals will contribute to our ideas about possible constraints on a amphibious lifestyle, and the evolutionary transition between aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Issues for Aquatic Pedestrian Locomotion - Marlene M. Martinez [1996]

  • "If you do hit an animal, attempt to help to the best of your abilities,...but do not handle the animal because of a rabies risk." So we use Jedi mind control? – pazzo Dec 4 '14 at 19:25
  • @CarSmack: Well, it is not related to topic but there are signs of rabies. – ermanen Dec 4 '14 at 19:30
  • @ermanen - Forget about rabies, what about ebola?? – Hot Licks Dec 5 '14 at 20:29
  • @HotLicks - What about love? – ermanen Dec 5 '14 at 20:36

Almost every definition I've found online refers to "a person" travelling on foot, or similar, for example:

dictionary.reference.com says "a person who goes or travels on foot; walker.";

Merriam-Webster says "a person who is walking in a city, along a road, etc.";

Cambridge Dictionaries Online says "a person who is walking, especially in an area where vehicles go".

An exception is Wiktionary, which says "Somebody walking rather than using a vehicle; somebody travelling on foot on or near a roadway." However, they also define "somebody" as "Some unspecified person.".

So it appears that only humans may be pedestrian. There doesn't appear to be an equivalent word for those equipped with hooves or paws - perhaps ungulaetrian and cruratrian, if one were in a silly mood.

  • I'm not sure why anyone deemed this answer so unhelpful that it deserved to be downvoted, but two people did (without comment). My upvote is an attempt to rebalance the scales a bit. You might strengthen your answer somewhat by quoting and linking to one or two of the definitions of pedestrian you've found online that refer specifically and exclusively to "a person"; one candidate might be Merriam-Webster Online, whose only definition of pedestrian as a noun is "a person who is walking in a city, along a road, etc." – Sven Yargs Dec 7 '14 at 18:39
  • As ermanen has found references to animal pedestrians, perhaps the dictionaries should be updated, rather than my answer downvoted? I'm not too bothered though. – Phil M Jones Dec 8 '14 at 10:04

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