The generic name Podokesaurus is derived from Greek word podokes (ποδοκες) meaning "swift-footed", an epitheton often used by Homer in the Iliad to describe the hero Achilles, and sauros (σαυρος) meaning "lizard"; thus "swift-footed lizard". The specific name refers to Holyoke, a city in Massachusetts, in the Connecticut River Valley.
The type specimen suggests that Podokesaurus was a small, bipedal carnivore was about 90 cm (3 ft) long and 0.3 m (1 ft) tall. It's upper leg bone (femur) measures 86 mm in length, and its lower leg bone (tibia) measures 104 mm in length. The tibia and other skeletal features of referred specimen BSNH 13656 (now on display at the Boston Museum of Science and given the number MOS 2001.248) are nearly three times longer than the type specimen described above. This suggests that Podokesaurus grew to about 9 feet in length, provided that BSNH 13656 is in fact an example of this genus.