be·​foul | \ bi-ˈfau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce befoul (audio) , bē- \
befouled; befouling; befouls

Definition of befoul

transitive verb

1 : to make foul (as with dirt or waste)
2 : sully, soil, besmirch scandal befouled his reputation

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Examples of befoul in a Sentence

pollutants that befoul the air and water unsightly mud and slush befouls the family car every winter
Recent Examples on the Web Whether that changes between now and whenever Democrats bring articles of impeachment to the House floor will depend on their ability to make the case that the president has not only befouled his office but must be removed from it. Jonathan Allen, NBC News, "Nasty House floor fight sets baseline for Trump impeachment," 31 Oct. 2019 Ambrosino decries the garbage and neglect that have befouled places that could be developed into parks and other public resources., "The Mexican family in Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside’s," 3 Oct. 2019 Present day: Look how the Broncos and Raiders are befouling what was once a beautiful ritual. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Broncos-Raiders respect-fest is civil behavior, but is it football?," 5 Sep. 2019 Disorderly conduct Forrest Kirchner, 20, of the 200 block of South Villa Avenue, Elmhurst, was charged with disorderly conduct – befouling public property at 6:22 p.m. June 9 in Wilder Park, where he was seen standing next to a tree urinating. Graydon Megan,, "Police blotter: Purse stolen from Elmhurst Mariano's returned at Bensenville Jewel," 14 June 2019 The Magnificent Ambersons, Tarkington’s 1918 novel that Welles would film so stunningly in 1942, was no sentimental tour but a simmering polemic against the forces of industry and greed that had befouled that world. Adina Hoffman, The New York Review of Books, "Geoffrey O’Brien," 18 Apr. 2019 School staff and the resource officer were notified that someone was regularly befouling the track and football field, and authorities began surveilling the area. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "A corporate executive led a secret double life — as Australia’s ‘poo jogger’," 7 June 2018 For the sailors, teams, organizers and sponsors, the Volvo Ocean Race is part of a larger race against time, a mission to curb the use of products that litter the ocean and befoul the air. Washington Post, "Round-the-world sailing race works to protect its racetrack," 18 May 2018 Police set the trap that resulted in Tramaglini’s arrest after high school staffers and coaches complained to their on-site resource officer that somebody was befouling their track and field. NBC News, "Public Enemy No. 2? New Jersey educator accused of soiling school track," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'befoul.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of befoul

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for befoul

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The first known use of befoul was in the 12th century

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Statistics for befoul

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Befoul.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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How to pronounce befoul (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of befoul

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

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Comments on befoul

What made you want to look up befoul? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

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