foul-up

noun \ ˈfau̇(-ə)l-ˌəp \
Updated on: 21 May 2018

Definition of foul-up

1 : a state of confusion or an error caused by ineptitude, carelessness, or mismanagement
  • foul-ups in transportation
2 : a mechanical difficulty

First Known Use of foul-up

1950

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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foul up

verb

Definition of foul up

1 : to make dirty : contaminate
2 : to spoil by making mistakes or using poor judgment : confuse
3 : entangle, block
  • fouled up communications
: to cause a foul-up : bungle
  • it was his fault. He had fouled up
  • —Pat Frank

Examples of foul up in a Sentence

  1. tried not to foul up the football play

  2. unfortunately, I fouled up and in my e-mail gave everyone the wrong date for the meeting

Recent Examples of foul up from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foul up.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of foul up

1947

in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

See Words from the same year
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FOUL-UP Defined for English Language Learners

foul-up

Definition of foul-up for English Language Learners

  • : a problem caused by someone making a mistake or being careless



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