for·​ay | \ ˈfȯr-ˌā How to pronounce foray (audio) , 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

Noun a foray into enemy territory We made a quick foray into town for some supplies.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shares of legacy pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens sunk when Amazon announced its pickup of PillPack last June, sending shockwaves across an industry that's been wary of the tech giant's forays into the health care space for a while now. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Surescripts Throws Down the Gauntlet in Amazon PillPack Spat: Brainstorm Health," 29 July 2019 In fact, for all of our forays beyond our own atmosphere, there are more machines in space than humans. Anders Sandberg, Quartz, "We should stop sending humans into space to do a robot’s job," 19 July 2019 Some of China’s growing number of forays beyond its borders, notably bomber flights around Taiwan and over the South China Sea, indicate increasing co-ordination between air and naval forces. The Economist, "Xi Jinping wants China’s armed forces to be “world-class” by 2050," 27 June 2019 Cue all sorts of vivid forays into the capacity of rats for self-discipline, fairness, or generosity, and what one prairie vole might be willing to do for the love of another. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 June 2019 In terms of its exterior design, the BMW X7 does little to step outside the SUV norm, which is just fine for BMW’s first foray into the realm of three-row SUVs. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "BMW launches first-ever X7," 23 Aug. 2019 But this wasn’t Tribe’s first foray into nonsensical attacks on the pro-life movement. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "Laurence Tribe’s Fact-Free Defense of Abortion Rights," 13 Aug. 2019 As many are away, this isn’t Cole’s first foray into reality television. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Keyshia Cole Announces Her Baby Special Is Coming To BET," 22 July 2019 Of course, this isn’t Stormi’s first foray into the world of fashion. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Posts Video of Photo Shoot With Baby Stormi Webster," 9 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But what those who are still on the bandwagon have pointed out is that this is not the first time Styles has forayed into this very choppy hair territory. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Harry Styles Fans Are Mourning the Loss of His Long, Curly Hair," 3 Sep. 2019 Though best known for his classical arrangements, Jones recently forayed into the world of electronic music on Hulu’s series Harlots, which follows the women of two feuding brothels in 18th century London. Morena Duwe, Billboard, "Rael Jones Delivers Electronic Music to the 18th Century With His Score for Hulu's 'Harlots': Interview," 26 Aug. 2019 Credited with ushering the coffee cafe culture in the country in the 1990s, Coffee Day also forayed into smaller towns that had limited options for eating out. Niha Masih, Washington Post, "The man who introduced coffee culture to India is found dead," 1 Aug. 2019 Beyoncé joins a crew of fellow superstars who have forayed into the world of sportswear. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Beyhive, Rejoice! Adidas and Beyoncé Are Teaming Up on a Cool New Label," 4 Apr. 2019 And now, the mom of five is foraying into children's literature! Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Is Releasing Her First Children's Book—And Her Kids Helped Her Write It!," 14 Jan. 2019 To camp solo is to foray into wilderness that’s made wilder by the fact that one is alone in it. Cheryl Strayed, Vogue, "Is Glamping Camping? Wild’s Cheryl Strayed Tackles the Question—in Style," 17 July 2018 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

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

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

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Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for foray

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

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More Definitions for foray


How to pronounce foray (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on foray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foray

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foray

Spanish Central: Translation of foray

Nglish: Translation of foray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foray for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foray

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a calculated move

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