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[fawr-muh n, fohr-] /ˈfɔr mən, ˈfoʊr-/
noun, plural foremen.
a person in charge of a particular department, group of workers, etc., as in a factory or the like.
the member of a jury selected to preside over and speak for all the jurors on the panel.
Origin of foreman
1175-1225; Middle English forman chief servant, steward. See fore-, man1
Related forms
foremanship, noun
subforeman, noun, plural subforemen.
subforemanship, noun
Usage note
See -man. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for foremen
Historical Examples
  • The foremen are specialists in their particular departments.

  • Wherever there is a factory, you will find all the foremen Protestants—that is, Saxons.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • They will not work under Irish foremen, if they can help it.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Not one of the engineers and foremen escaped fever, and many died.

  • Organize work-gangs, and promote the best and most intelligent to foremen.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • He stayed on the dam all the morning, watching the shale and rock and directing the foremen.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Drinking at the bar were two white men whom Jim recognized as foremen.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Inspectors and foremen have frequent disputes over these questions.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • While Bob was with him, he told off one of the foremen in his business to go about with the boy.

    Held Fast For England

    G. A. Henty
  • I beg my readers—those who have them—to get your foremen together.

    Fundamentals of Prosperity Roger W. Babson
British Dictionary definitions for foremen


noun (pl) -men
a person, often experienced, who supervises other workmen Gender-neutral form supervisor
(law) the principal juror, who presides at the deliberations of a jury Female equivalent forewoman
Derived Forms
foremanship, noun


George. born 1949, US boxer: world heavyweight champion (1973–74); retired in 1977 but re-entered the ring in 1987 and won the heavyweight championship in 1994 at age 45
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for foremen



1530s in the sense of "principal juror;" 1570s in the sense of "principal workman;" from fore- + man (n.). Earliest attested meaning (early 13c.) was "a leader." In 17c., a slang word for "penis."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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