personal foul


: a foul in a game (such as basketball) involving usually physical contact with or deliberate roughing of an opponent compare technical foul

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The competition committee has several rules proposals, including: Making tripping a personal foul. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2023 Laura Harper had seen this ending before. Against Pittsburgh on Nov. 25, the Towson women’s basketball team had a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter until leading scorer Kylie Kornegay-Lucas picked up her fourth personal foul. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 13 Dec. 2022 And footage from the clip shows exactly that: Bryant lowers his shoulder into Gasol's screen while guarding another opponent, knocking Gasol to the ground and earning a personal foul. Tommy Mcardle, Peoplemag, 24 Sep. 2022 Such outbursts are more than a personal foul. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 This slide was just the latest personal foul. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, 22 Mar. 2018 Mahomes was hit out of bounds by Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai, giving the Chiefs a personal foul penalty that moved the field goal closer for Butker to kick with three seconds left in the game. Safid Deen, USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2023 Nebraska took advantage of two personal foul penalties to complete a nine-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown reception by Trey Palmer from Casey Thompson. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 19 Nov. 2022 By the numbers: 3, number of first downs Vigor had in the first half; 4, number of personal foul penalties called against Vigor in the first half; 6, number of penalties Vigor had in the first half; 17, total first downs for Gulf Shores; 42, number of net first-half rushing yards for Vigor. Arthur L. Mack, al, 22 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'personal foul.' 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

circa 1829, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of personal foul was circa 1829

Dictionary Entries Near personal foul

Cite this Entry

“Personal foul.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!