Metaphorical or figurative expressions often play a significant, though sometimes unacknowledged, role in the law. Their rhetorical power can lead to their being reiterated so that they become “naturalized” or internalized in legal discourse, and they can become a kind of unanalyzed shorthand for complex concepts and processes. One such figurative expression is that of “the Chancellor's foot,” coined by John Selden in the 17th century, and often repeated since then. Examination of its original context reveals that it was at best a superficial and misleading contribution to a serious ongoing debate about the role of equity, and that other, more positive metaphors for equity have been largely lost to the legal imagination. Its continuing prominence may be the result of the “accident” of its having been referred to by so eminent a jurist as Lord Eldon, with the effect that it has become a dismissive aphorism not only for equity, but also for a kind of judicial practice. Contemporary Canadian judges frequently invoke the expression as a pejorative for judicial approaches of which they disapprove, but at the same time they often approve qualities (such as “conscience” and “flexibility”) with which it was originally associated. This paper examines, critically, how a linguistic icon can create and reproduce frameworks of apprehension in the law.