: in or into conflict with
ran afoul of the law
: in or into collision or entanglement with

Examples of afoul of in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Starbucks has previously run afoul of New York City. Amelia Lucas, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Koskoff and his colleagues claimed that Bushmaster, by selling AR-15-style rifles to the public and through marketing that highlighted their battlefield capabilities, had run afoul of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, or CUTPA. Michael Steinberger, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2023 In a letter today to Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, attorneys for EPIC call for an investigation into whether cities using ShotSpotter are running afoul of the Civil Rights Act—namely, Title VI, which forbids racial discrimination by anyone who receives federal funds. WIRED, 28 Sep. 2023 In the second episode, Luffy, Nami, and Zoro run afoul of a pirate named Buggy the Clown. William Goodman, Men's Health, 5 Sep. 2023 While contracts for deed are legal, sellers can run afoul of the law by charging excessive interest rates, targeting minority groups with unfair contract terms or using deceptive tactics to lure buyers. Jessica Lussenhop, ProPublica, 23 Oct. 2023 The Indian government has become increasingly aggressive in restricting online criticism and opposing views, and technology companies have become more skittish about content that could run afoul of Modi’s Hindu nationalist allies. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2023 Ukrainian military officials said the Russian attacks had run afoul of minefields and been pummeled by artillery, kamikaze drones and anti-tank missiles. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 16 Oct. 2023 The European Commission, the enforcement arm of the E.U., has warned X that allowing terrorism videos to proliferate on major websites runs afoul of the bloc's regulations. Kevin Collier, NBC News, 13 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'afoul of.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


afoul "fouled, tangled," from a- entry 1 + foul entry 1

First Known Use

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of afoul of was in 1819

Dictionary Entries Near afoul of

Cite this Entry

“Afoul of.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/afoul%20of. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

afoul of

: in or into collision or entanglement with
one ship ran afoul of the other
: in or into conflict with
they fell afoul of the law
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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