A footman is a male household servant. Once a commonly employed servant in great houses, footmen are much rarer today, as few households can afford large retinues of servants and retainers.
The name derives from the attendants who ran beside or behind the carriages of aristocrats, many of whom were chosen for their physical attributes.
In a larger household, the footmen may be assigned specific duties, such as the silver specialist, but usually the footmen perform a range of duties which include serving meals, opening and closing doors, carrying heavy items, or moving furniture for the housemaids to clean behind. The footmen may also double as valets, especially for visiting guests.