verb (used with object)

to make dirty or filthy; soil; defile; sully: a bird that befouls its own nest.

Origin of befoul

First recorded in 1275–1325, befoul is from the Middle English word bi-foulen. See be-, foul
Related formsbe·foul·er, nounbe·foul·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for befoul

defile, pollute, soil, malign, slander, dirty, corrupt, stain

Examples from the Web for befoul

Contemporary Examples of befoul

  • Adolf Hitler, despite being the most evil force ever to befoul mankind, was also a kind and conscientious employer.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Secrets of Nazi Secretaries

    Andrew Roberts

    August 30, 2011

Historical Examples of befoul

  • You see I have put gloves on, that I may not befoul myself by touching you.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • They will close in on you tomorrow—you and all the dirty vermin that befoul these cliffs.

    Wappin' Wharf

    Charles S. Brooks

  • I could not prevent myself from saying, "Do you think it is nice to befoul your own nest?"

  • And they deface and spoil the beauty of the land and befoul the water courses.

  • Can anything be so bad as the living bush which bleeds and talks, or the Harpies who befoul Aeneas's dinner?

British Dictionary definitions for befoul



(tr) to make dirty or foul; soil; defile
Derived Formsbefouler, nounbefoulment, noun
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 befoul

early 14c., from be- + foul (v.). Related: Befouled; befouling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper