8

I wasn't able to find any matches through dictionaries for 足のつかない or 足がつかない.

Here is the sentence:

消えても足のつかない人間をさらっては上の集団に引き渡すらしい

The context is thugs kidnapping people for money.

I don't understand 足のつかない. My impression is that it means 'not having one's feet on the ground'. But I think there's probably a more metaphorical meaning for it in this sentence.

Thank you

3

In this sentence, 足のつかない人間 means "people who you would not pay attention to if they disappeared." So they're probably criminals, the homeless or someone living out of the society. Though it depends on context, I think 80 percent of the expression “足のつかない人間” have this connotation.

6

The idiomatic expression refers to not having any leads. See the explanation for 足がつく here.

So the phrase in your example is actually referring to a person who has disappeared without a trace.

  • Sorry for removing marked-answer check-mark. Olivia's answer seems to fit better in this situation. 足がつく seemed like it could have worked in this situation too haha, tricky word – Anonymous Penguin Dec 13 '17 at 5:58
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    @AnonymousPenguin This answer is more accurate. – user4092 Dec 13 '17 at 12:21
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    Yes. This answer is true for the meaning of '足のつかない'. However it is incorrect when it comes to '足のつかない人間'. ‘足のつかない人間’ has a derived meaning which I explained above and is often used in fiction, for example about mafia or the underside of society. – Olivia Dec 13 '17 at 16:08
2

The usual interpretation of this idiom is such:

足【あし】が付【つ】く

犯人の身元や逃亡者の行方がわかる。犯罪事実が明らかになる。「残された指紋から―・く」
(the culprit's identity or the fugitive's whereabouts becomes known; the fact of crime becomes clear)

Meanwhile, the context seems to be from an episode of デュラララ!!

甘楽「私が聞いた噂じゃ、消えてるのは地方から家出して来た子たちや、不法滞在の外国人。
甘楽 て、つまり、消えても後[sic]が残らない人たちですけどね~。
甘楽 そういう人たちが、池袋から渋谷の間で大勢消えてるみたいですよ。
甘楽 しかも一度消えたら2度と見つからない。
   ︙
岸谷新羅「実行部隊はどこかの悪徳企業の下請け。まあ、下っ端の下っ端だね。
岸谷新羅 消えても足のつかない人間をさらっては、上の集団に引き渡すらしい。

Then we have two ways of interpretation on this phrase, though neither makes much difference in understanding of this plot.

消えても足のつかない人間

  • people who are not traceable when they are missing
  • people who don't lead to exposure of their (the company's) crime on their disappearance

On why the second reading is valid, see this post.

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