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Cloven foot

To show the cloven foot, i.e. to show a knavish intention, a base motive. The allusion is to Satan, represented with the legs and feet of a goat; and, however he might disguise himself, he could never conceal his cloven feet. (See Bag O'Nails, Goat.)

“Real grief little influenced its composition and the cloven foot peeps out in some letters written by him at the period.” —St. James's Magazine

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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