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[foul-nis] /ˈfaʊl nɪs/
the state or quality of being foul:
The foulness of the accusation incensed us all.
something that is foul; foul matter; filth.
Origin of foulness
before 1150; Middle English; Old English fūlnes. See foul, -ness Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for foulness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But not even that cloak could they cast upon their foulness.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • It has shut out from me all the foulness of that past; and yet I am unworthy.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • And doing it just as a hog wallows in foulness—for the love of it.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • Tell them of the foulness, of the cruelty, of the senselessness of it all.

    All Roads Lead to Calvary Jerome K. Jerome
  • "Yet they say this has to be done;" and he bowed under the weight of the foulness of this girl.

    En Route

    J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • He does not know that I am aware of all his foulness and villainy.

    Princess Zara Ross Beeckman
  • It was from within, apparently, that the foulness and horror had come.

  • Gangrene was in all the wards, the filth and foulness of the atmosphere were fearful.

    Woman's Work in the Civil War Linus Pierpont Brockett
  • Her interest in the disease overcame her disgust at the foulness of the revelation.

British Dictionary definitions for foulness


the state or quality of being foul
obscenity; vulgarity
viciousness or inhumanity
foul matter; filth


a flat marshy island in SE England, in Essex north of the Thames estuary
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 foulness

Old English fulness "foulness, filthy smell;" see foul (adj.) + -ness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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