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90s Slang You Should Know

foul play

any treacherous or unfair dealing, especially involving murder:
We feared that he had met with foul play.
unfair conduct in a game.
Origin of foul play
First recorded in 1600-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for foul play
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But whatever may be the meaning of this mystery, if there has been foul play here, the grey lady is quite innocent of it.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • It was just possible that they had been the victims of foul play.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • It is a significant comment on the period, that amid the commotion at the inn the first thought was of foul play.

  • And also makes plain that poor Mrs. Courtenay met with foul play?

    The Seven Secrets William Le Queux
  • To the outside world there was no suspicion whatever of foul play.

    The Doctor of Pimlico William Le Queux
British Dictionary definitions for foul play

foul play

unfair or treacherous conduct esp with violence
a violation of the rules in a game or sport
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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Idioms and Phrases with foul play

foul play

Unfair or treacherous action, especially involving violence. For example, The police suspected he had met with foul play. This term originally was and still is applied to unfair conduct in a sport or game and was being used figuratively by the late 1500s. Shakespeare used it in The Tempest (1:2): “What foul play had we, that we came from thence?”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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