foul line


: either of two straight lines extending from the rear corner of home plate through the outer corners of first and third base respectively and prolonged to the boundary of a baseball field
: a line across a bowling alley that a player must not step over when delivering the ball
: either of two lines on a basketball court parallel to and 15 feet from the backboards behind which a player must stand while shooting a free throw

Example Sentences

The ball landed just inside the right-field foul line.
Recent Examples on the Web His shooting splits are scintillating with 70 shot attempts in three games: 66% on two-pointers, 41.2% from three, and 85.7% at the foul line. Shane Young, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 Free-throw record The NBA has never had a better season from the foul line. Tim Reynolds, Chicago Tribune, 10 Apr. 2023 The All-Star and Olympic gold medalist sliced up defenders off the dribble drive and scored 51 points on 20-of-30 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 8-of-10 at the foul line. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 30 Mar. 2023 To avoid this lead getting any more uncomfortable, Xavier should look to attack the basket and made generate some points at the foul line. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 19 Mar. 2023 Lake went 12-for-16 from the foul line, salting the game away from the stripe. Scott Sepich, oregonlive, 11 Mar. 2023 The Cardinals also went 10 for 12 from the foul line, while Virginia Tech went 25 for 27. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 5 Mar. 2023 After going 4 for 4 from the foul line, Pinkston’s two-point lead had turned into a 16-point deficit. Dallas News, 25 Feb. 2023 Stat sheet: Hoover – The Bucs shot 48 percent overall, 33.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, and were 12-for-13 at the foul line. Evan Dudley, al, 17 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of foul line was in 1868

Dictionary Entries Near foul line

Cite this Entry

“Foul line.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

foul line

: either of two straight lines running from the rear corner of home plate through first and third base on to the boundary of a baseball field
: a line across which a player must not step (as when bowling or shooting a free throw)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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