\ 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 People canceled their flights and then airlines dragged their feet on the refunds or tried to foist a credit on them. Christopher Elliott, Forbes, "Airline Complaints Soared To A New High In 2020. Here's What It Means.," 28 Feb. 2021 So why not, proponents argue, foist the cost of the epic global recession caused by the pandemic onto those who can most afford it? Washington Post, "Should the rich pay for the pandemic? Argentina thinks so. Other countries are taking a look.," 16 Feb. 2021 Politicians here continue to rack up huge debt burdens and foist an ever-increasing tab on taxpayers, even as taxpayers get less and less for their money. Adam Schuster, National Review, "Illinois’s Proposed ‘Fair Tax’ Gets Its Just Deserts," 12 Nov. 2020 His comments directly contradicted Republicans’ efforts to foist blame onto Ms. Pelosi and Democrats as the impasse has dragged on for months. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Republicans Clash on Stimulus as Trump Says ‘Go Big’ and McConnell Demurs," 15 Oct. 2020 Wynne became overwhelmed with the demand for more and better puzzles, and eventually foisted the whole thing off onto his secretary, Margaret Petherbridge, a refined graduate of Smith College. Peter Sagal, New York Times, "Here’s Looking at You, Grid: A History of Crosswords and Their Fans," 17 Mar. 2020 Is the idea that games should kick off on Saturdays not simply the tradition of one generation being foisted upon another? Rory Smith, New York Times, "When All You Ever Wanted Is No Longer Enough," 6 Mar. 2020 For some, to have such great responsibility foisted upon them will be as terrible a gift as a goldfish to a 10-year-old. Kevin Pang, Saveur, "Give a Jar of No-Knead Sourdough for Others To Feed," 27 Apr. 2018 The tax burden EagleExit would foist upon residents of Eagle River and north is a deal breaker. Anchorage Daily News, "14 questions: Anchorage Assembly candidate Chris Constant," 28 Mar. 2020

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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Statistics for foist

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for foist



English Language Learners Definition of foist

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

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Nglish: Translation of foist for Spanish Speakers

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