foul

adjective
\ ˈfau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce foul (audio) \

Definition of foul

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : offensive to the senses : loathsome the foul odor of rotten eggs
b : filled or covered with offensive matter foul bins of filth
2 : being odorous and impure : polluted foul air
3a : morally or spiritually odious : detestable a foul crime
b : notably unpleasant or distressing : wretched, horrid in a foul mood
4 : obscene, abusive foul language
5a : being wet and stormy foul weather
b : obstructive to navigation a foul tide
6a : treacherous, dishonorable fair means or foul
b : constituting an infringement (see infringe sense 1) of rules in a game or sport a foul blow in boxing
7 : being outside the foul lines in baseball … a foul fly that was snagged by a fan in the stands.— E. M. Swift
8 : containing marked-up corrections a foul manuscript foul proofs
9 : full of dirt or mud
10 : encrusted, clogged, or choked with a foreign substance the chimney was foul and smoked badly
11 : placed in a situation that impedes physical movement : entangled a foul fishing line
12 dialectal British : homely, ugly

foul

noun

Definition of foul (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : an infringement of the rules in a game or sport
2 : foul ball
3 : an entanglement or collision especially in angling or sailing
4 archaic : something foul

foul

verb
fouled; fouling; fouls

Definition of foul (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to make foul: such as
a : to make dirty : pollute
b : to tangle or come into collision with
c : to encrust with a foreign substance a ship's bottom fouled with barnacles
3 : to commit a foul against
4 : to hit (a baseball) foul

intransitive verb

1 : to commit a violation of the rules in a sport or game
2 : to hit a foul ball
3 : to become or be foul: such as
a : decompose, rot
b : to become encrusted, clogged, or choked with a foreign substance
c : to become entangled or come into collision

foul

adverb

Definition of foul (Entry 4 of 4)

: in a foul manner : so as to be foul

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Other Words from foul

Adjective

foully \ ˈfau̇(l)-​lē How to pronounce foul (audio) \ adverb
foulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for foul

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for foul

Adjective

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it. a dirty littered street filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears. a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking. a foul-smelling open sewer nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness. it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable. had a nasty fall his answer gave her a nasty shock squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect. squalid slums All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness don't ask me to do your dirty work , while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior filthy street language a foul story of lust and greed , and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness. a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness. engaged in a series of squalid affairs

Examples of foul in a Sentence

Adjective the foul odor of rotten eggs The medicine left a foul taste in my mouth. The weather has been foul all week. Noun He hit several fouls in a row. Verb pollutants that foul the air She fouled on her first long jump attempt. He was fouled as he attempted the shot. He kept fouling pitches into the stands.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Durant, with two Olympic gold medals and an MVP award from the 2010 world basketball championship, never got in a rhythm while battling foul trouble. Brian Mahoney, ajc, 26 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. Tim Reynolds, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant's foul trouble, led to big problems. Tim Reynolds, Star Tribune, 25 July 2021 Johnson turns tables of Westphal, getting him in foul trouble, and bounced back with a 27-point effort with 12 coming in transition. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 24 July 2021 Antetokounmpo was a huge factor despite foul trouble in this contest, which helped the Bucks take a 3-1 lead in the series after dropping Game 1. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 July 2021 Devin Booker scored 42 points for the Suns, but his foul trouble cost them a chance to build a big lead in the second half. Brian Mahoney, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nurkic picked up his fifth foul while setting a screen against Austin Rivers. oregonlive, 2 June 2021 Maybe if a foul is called on one or two of Clarkson’s shot attempts in the final 30 seconds or so, none of this becomes the conversation. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2021 LeBron James even tweeted that a foul should have been called. Doug Feinberg, Chron, 29 Mar. 2021 Hurley has been rather even keel despite the losing streak but wasn't short on words following the contest and thought a foul should have been called to send Martin to the line. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 21 Jan. 2021 But then Booker collected his fifth foul with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter, prompting Williams to sit Booker until the 5:55 mark. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, 15 July 2021 Ending the game with five fouls for the first time in the postseason, Ayton picked up his fourth foul with 10:25 left in the third quarter guarding Antetokounmpo with Phoenix down, 62-49. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 14 July 2021 Booker picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth, along with a technical for arguing the call. Beth Harris, ajc, 27 June 2021 The All-Star guard was whistled for his third foul with 25.9 seconds in the first half and took only two shots. Dan Gelston, baltimoresun.com, 20 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Too much for the Suns, who could only repeatedly foul him as opposed to giving up uncontested dunks and point-blank looks at the rim. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 July 2021 Stanford, who had taken the lead on a Haley Jones jump shot with 32 seconds left and then forced a South Carolina turnover, was just trying to inbound the ball and wait for the Gamecocks to foul in the closing seconds. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Apr. 2021 But the umpires, after protests from the Dodgers’ dugout, convened and changed the call to foul. Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2021 Simmons thought Gallinari would try to foul him — much as the Hawks did throughout the seven-game series victory to reach the Eastern Conference finals — and going to the line in the clutch was a risk the All-Star guard was not willing to take. Dan Gelston, Star Tribune, 21 June 2021 Had 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons caught the ball, the plan was to foul the career 59% free-throw shooter immediately. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2021 The Gamecocks defense swarmed to foul or create a steal, forcing a turnover at midcourt with about 5 seconds remaining. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Apr. 2021 On Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation, tribal president Andy Werk Jr. described the end of Keystone as a relief to Native Americans who stood against it out of concerns a line break could foul the Missouri River or other waterways. Matthew Brown, ajc, 9 June 2021 San Diego stretched the advantage to 11 late in the quarter when Vista was forced to foul. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Umpire Phil Cuzzi, well known in Minnesota for incorrectly calling foul a Joe Mauer hit down the left-field line during the 2009 playoffs in New York, was twice overturned by replay (which wasn't part of the MLB game in 2009) at first base Sunday. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, 25 July 2021 This Portland proclamation is sure to stir emotions and cries of foul across America, especially New York City. Forrest Brown, CNN, 17 July 2021 Martins released his final pitch just as the clock went from 0:05 to 0:04, and that’s the one Olson pulled foul. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 July 2021 Roaming through the swampy, inhospitable vastness of the Everglades, there exist foul-smelling, hairy, bipedal creatures that are purported to have glowing eyes, weigh 500 pounds and stand 6-8 feet tall. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 25 June 2021 The magnet holds each and every cap, which also prevents you from getting your caps all over the floor after every open — a major party foul in itself. Tim Kohut, BGR, 24 June 2021 The Wall Street Journal’s stopwatch review of Antetokounmpo’s free throws in their Game 7 win over the Brooklyn Nets last week clocked the average length of his foul-shot routine at 11.5 seconds. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 23 June 2021 The Sparks scored on a free throw after a Shey Peddy foul away from the play and Erica Wheeler hit a jumper with 8.9 seconds left to clinch the win at Los Angeles Convention Center. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 18 June 2021 Many in the crowd believed the ball had curved foul, and Hammond ultimately went to the third-base umpire for an explanation. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 17 June 2021

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for foul

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Old English fūl; akin to Old High German fūl rotten, Latin pus pus, putēre to stink, Greek pyon pus

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Time Traveler for foul

Time Traveler

The first known use of foul was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near foul

foujdar

foul

foul anchor

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Statistics for foul

Last Updated

29 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foul.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foul. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for foul

foul

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of foul

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: very unpleasant to taste or smell
: morally bad : very evil
: very bad or unpleasant

foul

noun

English Language Learners Definition of foul (Entry 2 of 3)

sports : an action that is against the rules and for which a player is given a penalty
baseball : a batted ball that lands outside the foul lines : a foul ball

foul

verb

English Language Learners Definition of foul (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make (a substance, place, etc.) dirty
: to commit a foul
: to commit a foul against (another player)

foul

adjective
\ ˈfau̇l How to pronounce foul (audio) \
fouler; foulest

Kids Definition of foul

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : disgusting in looks, taste, or smell In the warm months, a foul odor rose …— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
2 : full of or covered with something that pollutes foul air
3 : being vulgar or insulting foul language
4 : being wet and stormy foul weather
5 : very unfair She would even use foul methods to get what she wanted.
6 : very unpleasant or bad a foul mood
7 : breaking a rule in a game or sport The boxer was warned for using a foul punch.
8 : being outside the foul lines He hit a foul ball.

foul

noun

Kids Definition of foul (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a ball in baseball that is batted outside the foul lines
2 : an act of breaking the rules in a game or sport

foul

verb
fouled; fouling

Kids Definition of foul (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to make or become foul or filthy foul the air foul a stream
2 : to make a foul in a game

More from Merriam-Webster on foul

Nglish: Translation of foul for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foul for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about foul

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