afoul

[ uh-foul ]
/ əˈfaʊl /

adverb, adjective

in a state of collision or entanglement: a ship with its shrouds afoul.

Nearby words

  1. aforehand,
  2. aforementioned,
  3. aforesaid,
  4. aforethought,
  5. aforetime,
  6. afoul of,
  7. afp,
  8. afr,
  9. afr-,
  10. afr.

Idioms

    run/come/fall afoul of,
    1. to become entangled with: The boat ran afoul of the seaweed.
    2. to come into conflict with: The business had fallen afoul of the new government regulations.

Origin of afoul

An Americanism dating back to 1800–10; a-1 + foul

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for afoul


British Dictionary definitions for afoul

afoul

/ (əˈfaʊl) /

adverb, adjective (postpositive)

(usually foll by of) in or into a state of difficulty, confusion, or conflict (with)
(often foll by of) in or into an entanglement or collision (with) (often in the phrase run afoul of)a yacht with its sails afoul; the boat ran afoul of a steamer
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

Word Origin and History for afoul

afoul

adv.

"entangled," 1809, originally nautical, now mainly in phrase to run afoul of; from a- (1) + foul.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper