\ ˈfō How to pronounce foe (audio) \

Definition of foe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who has personal enmity for another Embrace, embrace, my Sons! be foes no more!— Alexander Pope
2a : an enemy in war
b : adversary, opponent a political foe
3 : one who opposes on principle a foe of needless expenditures a foe of censorship
4 : something prejudicial or injurious

Definition of FOE (Entry 2 of 2)

Fraternal Order of Eagles

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for foe

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of foe in a Sentence

Noun Many considered him a foe of democracy. Her ability was acknowledged by friend and foe alike.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Defense analysts said if a hostile power took on the United States military in any of the asset protection missions, Japanese forces could hit back at that foe. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Japan increases protection for US military amid 'severe security environment'," 24 Feb. 2021 Every infection, foreign or familiar, to some extent, reflects the push and pull between immunity and viral evolution—both of which can make a once-familiar foe appear foreign. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "We’re Thinking About Reinfection All Wrong," 24 Feb. 2021 And last week, Israel even promised to buy tens of thousands of doses on behalf of the Syrian government, a longtime foe, in exchange for the return of an Israeli civilian detained in Syria. Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, "Israel Gives Vaccine to Far-Off Allies, as Palestinians Wait," 23 Feb. 2021 Even a Big 12 defector (Missouri) and an old Southwest Conference foe (Houston) grabbed spots on the first four rows. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "As Baylor’s long layoff nears its end, the Bears must quickly shift focus toward lofty NCAA Tournament goals," 22 Feb. 2021 Dixie State had a sixth game scheduled against another former RMAC foe, New Mexico Highlands, but that has since been canceled. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "FCS football takes center stage: Weber State, Southern Utah and Dixie State set to open their seasons — in February," 20 Feb. 2021 California had a mysterious new foe to contend with. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Jan. 21-27, 2021," 6 Feb. 2021 California had a mysterious new foe to contend with. Erin Allday,, "Bay Area scientists hunting for coronavirus variants say U.S. needs genomic surveillance plan," 23 Jan. 2021 So many lives lost to a foe that his predecessor lacked the interest and courage to seriously confront. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Vaccine eligibility expansion, high school sports and masking, the Biden presidency," 20 Jan. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of foe


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foe


Middle English fo, from Old English fāh, from fāh, adjective, hostile; akin to Old High German gifēh hostile

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foe

Time Traveler for foe

Time Traveler

The first known use of foe was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for foe

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for foe



English Language Learners Definition of foe

: an enemy


\ ˈfō How to pronounce foe (audio) \

Kids Definition of foe

: an enemy of a person or a country

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on foe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foe

Nglish: Translation of foe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foe

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!