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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
  • Like Gotham Court, it was originally built as a model tenement, but speedily came to rival the Court in foulness.

    How the Other Half Lives Jacob A. Riis
  • "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
  • I am protecting the church from foulness and trying to keep it free of vice.

    Master Olof August Strindberg
  • It has shut out from me all the foulness of that past; and yet I am unworthy.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • It belonged to that time of degradation and stinting and foulness.

  • And doing it just as a hog wallows in foulness—for the love of it.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • They have apparently been compelled to give up the custom on account of the foulness of the brooks.

    The Cynic's Word Book Ambrose Bierce
  • Tell them of the foulness, of the cruelty, of the senselessness of it all.

    All Roads Lead to Calvary Jerome K. Jerome
  • If the after taste of the herring is insipid, more insipid still is the smell of this foulness.

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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