foil 1 of 2


2 of 2


as in contrast
something or someone that is different from another especially in a pleasing way This cool, refreshing salad is the perfect foil for spicy foods.

Synonyms & Similar Words

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb foil differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of foil are baffle, balk, frustrate, and thwart. While all these words mean "to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal," foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort.

foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her

When would baffle be a good substitute for foil?

The words baffle and foil are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling.

baffled by the maze of rules and regulations

When is balk a more appropriate choice than foil?

While the synonyms balk and foil are close in meaning, balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances.

officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime

In what contexts can frustrate take the place of foil?

While in some cases nearly identical to foil, frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent.

frustrated attempts at government reform

When might thwart be a better fit than foil?

The synonyms thwart and foil are sometimes interchangeable, but thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing.

the army thwarted his attempt at a coup

Thesaurus Entries Near foil

Cite this Entry

“Foil.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on foil

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