fore·​close (ˌ)fȯr-ˈklōz How to pronounce foreclose (audio)
foreclosed; foreclosing; forecloses

transitive verb

: to shut out : preclude
: to hold exclusively
: to deal with or close in advance
: to subject to foreclosure proceedings

intransitive verb

: to foreclose a mortgage

Examples of foreclose in a Sentence

They've been unable to make their mortgage payments, and the bank has threatened to foreclose. The bank has threatened to foreclose their mortgage.
Recent Examples on the Web Portland officials are preparing to foreclose on a group of properties rife with code violations, nuisance complaints and unpaid liens totaling more than $1 million. oregonlive, 13 Sep. 2023 This foreclosed any thought Musk may have had about enabling Starlink in Crimea. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 In 2014, Wayne County foreclosed on more than 26,000 properties. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 29 Aug. 2023 One of the greatest concerns voiced was how AI would specifically foreclose working opportunities for up-and-coming voice actors trying to get their start in the field with smaller roles in animation and video games — roles that AI could easily replace. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 22 July 2023 But the county still foreclosed the most properties among Michigan counties that year. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 29 Aug. 2023 Pandora maintained that the arguments are foreclosed under findings in identical cases from federal judges in New York and Florida. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 July 2023 Texas laws also prohibit HOAs from foreclosing for fines, meaning homeowners cannot have their property taken from them for neglecting to pay an HOA fine, however, if dues are not paid, this can result in foreclosure depending on what is outlined in the HOA’s governing documents. Haeven Gibbons, Dallas News, 18 July 2023 The pause on student loan payments was already set to expire at the end of August, and Biden’s ability to extend the pause was foreclosed through debt ceiling negotiations. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 30 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French forclos, past participle of forclore, forsclore, from fors outside (from Latin foris) + clore to close — more at forum

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of foreclose was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near foreclose

Cite this Entry

“Foreclose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


fore·​close (ˈ)fōr-ˈklōz How to pronounce foreclose (audio)
: to take legal measures to end a mortgage and take possession of the mortgaged property because the conditions of the mortgage have not been met

Legal Definition


fore·​close fōr-ˈklōz How to pronounce foreclose (audio)

transitive verb

: to subject to foreclosure proceedings

intransitive verb

: to foreclose a mortgage or other security interest compare repossess, seize sense 2

Anglo-French forclos, past participle of foreclore to preclude, prevent, from fors outside + clore to close

More from Merriam-Webster on foreclose

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