For centuries, foray referred only to a sudden or irregular invasion or attack, but in the late 19th century it began to venture into gentler semantic territory. While the newer sense of foray still involves a trek into a foreign territory, the travel is figurative: when you make this kind of foray, you dabble in an area, occupation, or pastime that’s new to you. Take the particularly apt example (stay tuned) of mushroom hunting. The likely ancestor of foray is an Anglo-French word referring to the violent sort who do invasion forays, but that word could also refer to a forager—that is, one who wanders in search of food. (Forage has the same etymological source.) Interestingly, foray has seen a resurgence of use connected to its foraging roots, as evidenced by the growing popularity of mycophile-led mushroom “forays” that have been lately popping up like toadstools.
a foray into enemy territory
We made a quick foray into town for some supplies.
Recent Examples on the Web
These platforms have already garnered significant attention and user bases, prompting AWS's foray into a market that demands distinctiveness to stand out.—Johan Moreno, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Mack attack The Bruins’ leading scorer is a fearless freshman whose forays to the basket are usually instant offense.—Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 One of the most recent uploads involved photos of her first foray into fancy dress for Halloween.—Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 The fresh tracks join the impressive roster of rock luminaries who joined Parton on her first foray into rock after more than six decades ruling the country charts.—Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 20 Nov. 2023 These forays, coupled with a campaign of missile and drones strikes on Russian military infrastructure, appear to be increasingly important tactics as Ukraine tries to keep the pressure on Moscow.—Matthew Mpoke Bigg, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 More importantly, 10 times the number of young spruces now grow above and beyond the tree line than during our first field forays.—David J. Cooper, The Conversation, 3 Nov. 2023 The 23-year-old artist who is a new face of Theory’s holiday campaign has officially marked her foray into the fashion industry.—Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 2 Nov. 2023 Dyson 360 Vis Nav Robot Vacuum: Dyson is finally making its foray into the robot vacuum realm with its new 360 Vis Nav.—Camryn Rabideau, Peoplemag, 15 Nov. 2023
The meeting was Putin’s first public assessment of the conflict since Ukrainian forces took the war into Russian territory, with drone strikes on Moscow on May 1 and again on May 30 and shelling and forays across the border in the Belgorod region on May 22.—Peter Rutland, Fortune, 20 June 2023 The streaming landscape is littered with shows assembled from recognizable spare parts, forays far more cynical than Flanagan’s affectionate odes to the literary masters of horror.—Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023 In recent years, she’s made headlines for testing her chops in dramatic fare, forays into music, becoming a producer and prepping her directorial debut.—Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Oct. 2023 Some pairs — like Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel —met prior to foraying into Shondaland, while others — like Kevin McKidd and Danielle Savre — had crossover storylines that turned into real-life love.—Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 14 July 2023 Rather, come for rich Polynesian cultural encounters and forays into lush rainforests to hike to thundering waterfalls.—Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 10 July 2023 McDonald’s isn’t the only big name in the fast food space to have forayed into the wedding industry.—Chloe Taylor, Fortune, 7 July 2023 Advertisement In the 1980s, MRF forayed into sports sponsorship, while extending its business to paints and toys.—Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 14 June 2023 Manning's desire to foray into dentistry as a career stems from her passion and intrigue with people's teeth.—Yolanda Baruch, Forbes, 6 Mar. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foray.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Verb and Noun
Middle English forrayen, from Anglo-French forreyer, foreer, probably back-formation from *forrier, *forreour forager, raider, from fuerre, foer provender — more at forage