foisted; foisting; foists

transitive verb

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

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 Research on eldest daughters specifically is limited, but experts told me that considering the pressures foisted on older siblings and on girls and women, occupying both roles isn’t likely to be easy. Sarah Sloat, The Atlantic, 14 Nov. 2023 In an address to the nation on Tuesday afternoon, Biden described in graphic detail the horrors that foisted on Israel. Matt Gutman, ABC News, 11 Oct. 2023 But few had worked as actively to foist bogus conspiracy theories about 2020 on the American public as did Johnson, a constitutional lawyer who enlisted dozens of fellow-members to support a Texas court case seeking to cancel the election results in battleground states. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2023 Sav, meanwhile, wanted to foist the hard-to-cook sardine on front-runner Kennedy, which meant Reagan was able to make salmon. Kturnqui, oregonlive, 31 Aug. 2023 In an open letter, Unity exec Marc Whitten sought to cool tempers, admitting management had not consulted enough before foisting the new price changes onto unsuspecting customers. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 10 Oct. 2023 During one of several stints in rehab foisted upon her by her father, Spears suddenly realized a striking parallel between herself and her grandmother Jean, a victim of abuse at the hands of her husband who lost a son and eventually died by suicide at that child's grave. TIME, 20 Oct. 2023 Beware politicians who ignore causation and pivot to mitigation Political spending has foisted relentless gun and climate disinformation campaigns on the public, followed by smoke and mirrors to deflect the discourse away from causation and toward mitigation. Sabrina Haake, Chicago Tribune, 9 Sep. 2023 Patterson wondered whether natural beekeeping was just another human vanity that was being foisted on the bees. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of foist was circa 1587


Dictionary Entries Near foist

Cite this Entry

“Foist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to pass off (something false) as genuine

More from Merriam-Webster on foist

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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