for·ay | \ˈfȯr-ˌā, ˈfär- also fȯ-ˈrā or fə-ˈrā\
plural forays

Definition of foray 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sudden or irregular invasion or attack for war or spoils : raid a foray into enemy territory attempted sneak and surprise forays— D. D. Eisenhower

2 : an initial and often tentative attempt to do something in a new or different field or area of activity the novelist's foray into nonfiction Torres spearheaded his family's first foray into international wine production by purchasing land in Chile's Curicó Valley in 1979.— Michael Schachner


forayed; foraying; forays

Definition of foray (Entry 2 of 2)

1 intransitive : to make a raid or brief invasion forayed into enemy territory Nicaraguan troops were foraying along the frontier …— George Russell

2 intransitive : to do or attempt something outside one's accustomed sphere : to enter into a new or different field or area of activity Tesla, known for its high-end electric cars, has forayed into the trucking industry with a Nov. 16 reveal of its latest prototype, the Tesla Semi.— Meagan Nichols

3 transitive archaic : to ravage in search of spoils : pillage

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Other Words from foray


forayer noun plural forayers

Did You Know?


Foray comes from Middle English forrayen and probably traces back to an Anglo-French word that meant "raider" or "forager." It's related to the word forage, which usually means "to wander in search of food or forage." A foray, in its earliest sense, was a raid for plunder. Relatively recently, foray began to take on a broader meaning. In a sense, a foray is still a trip into a foreign territory. These days, though, looting and plundering needn't be involved in a foray. When you take a foray, you dabble in an area, occupation, or pastime that's new to you.

Examples of foray in a Sentence


a foray into enemy territory We made a quick foray into town for some supplies.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Musk’s foray into building tunnels for high-speed transportation is relatively new. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "Chicago mayor wants Elon Musk to build high-speed transit linking O'Hare and downtown," 14 June 2018 Anderson’s foray into the realm of human hooves doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Toe Shoes, the Most Hideous Footwear of All, Are Making an Actual Comeback," 30 May 2018 Denis’s foray into the often-goofy world of the rom-com is at once a cold bath of realism and a bewitching portrait of the power of love—however fleeting that feeling may be. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Let the Sunshine In Is a Very French Romantic Comedy," 29 Apr. 2018 But that resume proved ill-fitted for the Texas oil man’s foray into international diplomacy, Washington politics and the management of a foreign policy seemingly driven by the whim of a mercurial president. James Osborne And Kevin Diaz, San Antonio Express-News, "The long road to Trump’s firing of Rex Tillerson," 13 Mar. 2018 Jeff’s foray into guitar building was forced on him, in a way. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build Your Own Guitar (From a Clarinet Case)," 28 Feb. 2018 The White House could point to his wife’s foray into politics, as a Democrat, to cry bias and also could point to Trump’s promotion of McCabe, in May, to dispute any appearance of obstruction. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "A Trump spokesman's revealing comments about Andrew McCabe, hours before McCabe quit the FBI," 29 Jan. 2018 This role marks a second impressive foray into television for Lane. Rebecca Farley,, "Diane Lane Is Coming To FX In Pilot Y, About A Future Where There's Only One Man Left," 11 July 2018 Predictably, a foray back into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest almost ends in disaster. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "'Leave No Trace' Is Brutally Honest About Rewilding," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The American Cancer Society partnership isn’t Lyft’s only foray into medical transportation. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Lyft Is Offering Free Rides to Cancer Patients in Major U.S. Cities," 21 June 2018 There are plenty of his signature otaku flowers, but also forays into art history, including homages to the British master of angst Francis Bacon and the Edo-period Japanese painter Soga Shohaku. The New Yorker, "Takashi Murakami, Japan’s Answer to Andy Warhol," 18 May 2018 Romiguier is also on the hunt for similar genetic adaptations that have helped some ants foray into the ruthless world of slavemaking. Erica Tennenhouse, Science | AAAS, "How blood-red ants became slave snatchers," 11 Apr. 2018 Casper forayed into the pillow and sheets scene in 2016 to pretty great reviews. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "Trend Alert: The Most High-Tech Comforters And Sheets To Keep You Cool, Chic, And Comfy," 16 Feb. 2018 The actress Olivia Wilde, spokeswoman and model for H&M’s forays into sustainable fashion, was there wearing a new dress from the line. Alden Wicker, Newsweek, "Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis," 1 Sep. 2016 Schmidt also occasionally forayed into writing for Hollywood, composing scores for a film called A Texas Romance and the 1972 film Bad Company. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Harvey Schmidt, Composer of Longest-Running Musical in History, Dies at 88," 1 Mar. 2018 Stewart suggests that Locke’s forays into poetry and fiction were stunted by his inability to speak openly about his sexuality. Michael P. Jeffries, New York Times, "The Philosopher Who Believed That Art Was Key to Black Liberation," 22 Feb. 2018 Marissa Jaret Winokur Winokur, a Tony-award winning singer and actress best known for her star turn in Hairspray, first forayed in reality TV on season 6 of Dancing With the Stars. Michelle Profis, Country Living, "Here's Your First Look at the New Cast of 'Celebrity Big Brother'," 29 Jan. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for foray


see foray entry 2


Middle English forrayen, from Anglo-French forreyer, foreer, probably back-formation from *forrier, *forreour forager, raider, from fuerre, foer provender — more at forage

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for foray

The first known use of foray was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for foray



English Language Learners Definition of foray

: a sudden invasion or attack

: an attempt to do something especially for the first time

: a short journey

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