\ ˈfȯist How to pronounce foist (audio) \
foisted; foisting; foists

Definition of foist

transitive verb

1a : to introduce or insert surreptitiously or without warrant
b : to force another to accept especially by stealth or deceit when the states … foist unnecessary expenses on local taxpayers— T. C. Desmond
2 : to pass off as genuine or worthy foist costly and valueless products on the public— Jonathan Spivak … inferior caviar has been foisted on an unknowing public …— David Rosengarten

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Did You Know?

An early sense of the word foist, now obsolete, referred to palming a phony die and secretly introducing it into a game at an opportune time. The action involved in this cheating tactic reflects the etymology of foist. The word is believed to derive from the obsolete Dutch verb vuisten, meaning "to take into one's hand." "Vuisten" in turn comes from "vuyst," the Middle Dutch word for "fist" which itself is distantly related to the Old English ancestor of "fist." By the late 16th century "foist" was being used in English to mean "to insert surreptitiously," and it quickly acquired the meaning "to force another to accept by stealth or deceit."

Examples of foist in a Sentence

shopkeepers who foist shoddy souvenirs on unsuspecting tourists
Recent Examples on the Web If the Democrats running for president spend the next year talking about all the evils foisted on the American people by the wealthy, most of them would be talking, in effect, about themselves. David Winston, Twin Cities, "David Winston: The Democratic field: middle-class heroes or millionaire hypocrites?," 24 Nov. 2019 When museums refuse to provide it, the public is left in the dark and is open to having bogus or uncertain data foisted upon it. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian, "3-D Scans of the Bust of Nefertiti Are Now Available Online," 23 Nov. 2019 Defensive coordinators have now had months to prepare to stop Jackson, not just the week foisted on many last season. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Offensive ‘revolution’: Ravens aim to turn convention on its head with scheme unlike anything in the NFL," 6 Sep. 2019 Hmmm, not unlike the deconstructed mosaic essay on watercolor that Darcy kept foisting on us back in 2001. Ann Bauer, Washington Post, "Dear Mona Awad: Your novel ‘Bunny’ is a lot of fun, but I have some quibbles," 13 June 2019 While previous GM Sashi Brown never hired his own coach, and had Hue Jackson foisted upon him, Dorsey made the Kitchens hire after interviewing six others. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "John Dorsey’s ‘real players’ aren’t getting it done for the Cleveland Browns," 4 Nov. 2019 Nine years later, the Reagan administration withdrew funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control, foisting responsibility back onto state and local governments. Bianca Bosker, The Atlantic, "Why Everything Is Getting Louder," 8 Oct. 2019 This wage-growth Rorschach foists some tough decisions on the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, which decides later this month whether to cut rates for a third time this year. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "Wage growth is slowing—which could be an ominous sign for the economy," 6 Oct. 2019 Grassley's office said the bill will force drugmakers and insurers to take greater responsibility for keeping Medicare prescription prices in line, instead of foisting increases on taxpayers and beneficiaries. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,, "Bipartisan Senate bill would cut seniors’ Medicare drug costs," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foist.' 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 foist

circa 1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for foist

probably from obsolete Dutch vuisten to take into one's hand, from Middle Dutch vuysten, from vuyst fist; akin to Old English fȳst fist

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Time Traveler for foist

Time Traveler

The first known use of foist was circa 1587

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Last Updated

11 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Foist.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for foist


How to pronounce foist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of foist

: to force someone to accept (something that is not good or not wanted)

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More from Merriam-Webster on foist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foist

Spanish Central: Translation of foist

Nglish: Translation of foist for Spanish Speakers

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a period of high artistic development

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