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  1. a person who feels enmity, hatred, or malice toward another; enemy: a bitter foe.
  2. a military enemy; hostile army.
  3. a person belonging to a hostile army or nation.
  4. an opponent in a game or contest; adversary: a political foe.
  5. a person who is opposed in feeling, principle, etc., to something: a foe to progress in civil rights.
  6. a thing that is harmful to or destructive of something: Sloth is the foe of health.
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Origin of foe

before 900; Middle English foo, Old English fāh hostile, gefāh enemy; cognate with Old High German gifēh at war. See feud1

Synonyms for foe

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1. See enemy. 1, 3–5. opponent, antagonist.

Antonyms for foe

1–3. friend.


  1. Fraternal Order of Eagles.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for foe

enemy, adversary, antagonist, rival, anti

Examples from the Web for foe

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Historical Examples of foe

British Dictionary definitions for foe


  1. formal, or literary another word for enemy
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Word Origin for foe

Old English fāh hostile; related to Old High German fēhan to hate, Old Norse feikn dreadful; see feud 1



abbreviation for
  1. Friends of the Earth
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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 foe


Old English gefa "foe, enemy, adversary in a blood feud" (the prefix denotes "mutuality"), from fah "at feud, hostile," from Proto-Germanic *fakhaz (cf. Old High German fehan "to hate," Gothic faih "deception"), probably from PIE root *peig- "evil-minded, treacherous, hostile" (cf. Sanskrit pisunah "malicious," picacah "demon;" Greek pikros "bitter;" Lithuanian piktas "wicked, angry," pekti "to blame"). Weaker sense of "adversary" is first recorded c.1600.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper