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adjective \ˈfau̇(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of foul

  • : very unpleasant to taste or smell

  • : morally bad : very evil

  • : very bad or unpleasant

Full Definition of foul

  1. 1 a :  offensive to the senses :  loathsome b :  filled or covered with offensive matter

  2. 2 :  full of dirt or mud

  3. 3 a :  morally or spiritually odious :  detestable <a foul crime> b :  notably unpleasant or distressing :  wretched, horrid <in a foul mood>

  4. 4 :  obscene, abusive <foul language>

  5. 5 a :  being wet and stormy b :  obstructive to navigation <a foul tide>

  6. 6 dial British :  homely, ugly

  7. 7 a :  treacherous, dishonorable <fair means or foul> b :  constituting an infringement of rules in a game or sport <a foul blow in boxing>

  8. 8 :  containing marked-up corrections <a foul manuscript> <foul proofs>

  9. 9 :  encrusted, clogged, or choked with a foreign substance <the chimney was foul and smoked badly>

  10. 10 :  being odorous and impure :  polluted <foul air>

  11. 11 :  placed in a situation that impedes physical movement :  entangled

  12. 12 :  being outside the foul lines in baseball

foul·ly play \ˈfau̇(l)-lē\ adverb
foul·ness noun

Examples of foul

  1. the foul odor of rotten eggs

  2. The medicine left a foul taste in my mouth.

  3. The weather has been foul all week.

Origin of foul

Middle English, from Old English fūl; akin to Old High German fūl rotten, Latin pus pus, putēre to stink, Greek pyon pus

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of foul

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it <a dirty littered street>. filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears <a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy>. foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking <a foul-smelling open sewer>. nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness <it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat>. In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable <had a nasty fall> <his answer gave her a nasty shock>. squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect <squalid slums>. All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness <don't ask me to do your dirty work>, while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior <filthy street language> <a foul story of lust and greed>, and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness <a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor>. Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness <engaged in a series of squalid affairs>.




Simple Definition of foul

  • sports : an action that is against the rules and for which a player is given a penalty

  • baseball : a batted ball that lands outside the foul lines : a foul ball

Full Definition of foul

  1. 1 archaic :  something foul

  2. 2 :  an entanglement or collision especially in angling or sailing

  3. 3 a :  an infringement of the rules in a game or sport b :  free throw

  4. 4 :  foul ball

Examples of foul

  1. He hit several fouls in a row.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of foul

before 12th century

Other Field and Goal Sports Terms

Rhymes with foul




Simple Definition of foul

  • : to make (a substance, place, etc.) dirty

  • sports : to commit a foul

  • : to commit a foul against (another player)

Full Definition of foul

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to become or be foul: as a :  decompose, rot b :  to become encrusted, clogged, or choked with a foreign substance c :  to become entangled or come into collision

  3. 2 :  to commit a violation of the rules in a sport or game

  4. 3 :  to hit a foul ball

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 :  to make foul: as a :  to make dirty :  pollute b :  to tangle or come into collision with c :  to encrust with a foreign substance <a ship's bottom fouled with barnacles> d :  obstruct, block

  7. 2 :  dishonor, discredit

  8. 3 :  to commit a foul against

  9. 4 :  to hit (a baseball) foul

Examples of foul

  1. pollutants that foul the air

  2. She fouled on her first long jump attempt.

  3. He was fouled as he attempted the shot.

  4. He kept fouling pitches into the stands.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of foul

before 12th century




Definition of foul

  1. :  in a foul manner :  so as to be foul

13th Century

First Known Use of foul

13th century

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February 9, 2016

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