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foil

1
[ foil ]
/ fɔɪl /
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See synonyms for: foil / foiled / foils on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
to prevent the success of; frustrate; balk: Loyal troops foiled his attempt to overthrow the government.
to keep (a person) from succeeding in an enterprise, plan, etc.
noun
Archaic. a defeat; check; repulse.
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Origin of foil

1
First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English foilen, fuylen “to trample, oppress, torment, mortify (the flesh),” irregular variant of fullen “to trample, full (cloth),” from Anglo-French foller, Old French fuler, from Vulgar Latin fullāre, from Latin fullō “fuller, launderer”; see full2

OTHER WORDS FROM foil

foil·a·ble, adjectiveun·foil·a·ble, adjective

Words nearby foil

Other definitions for foil (2 of 3)

foil2
[ foil ]
/ fɔɪl /

noun
verb (used with object)
to cover or back with foil.
to set off by contrast.

Origin of foil

2
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English foil, foille “leaf (of a plant or a book),” from Old French fuelle, fueille, foille (from Latin folia “leaves,” reinterpreted as a feminine singular noun) and from Old French fuel, fueil, foil (from Latin folium “leaf of a plant, blade”)

Other definitions for foil (3 of 3)

foil3
[ foil ]
/ fɔɪl /

noun Fencing.
a flexible four-sided rapier having a blunt point.
foils, the art or practice of fencing with this weapon, points being made by touching the trunk of the opponent's body with the tip of the weapon.

Origin of foil

3
First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use foil in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for foil (1 of 3)

foil1
/ (fɔɪl) /

verb (tr)
to baffle or frustrate (a person, attempt, etc)
hunting (of hounds, hunters, etc) to obliterate the scent left by a hunted animal or (of a hunted animal) to run back over its own trail
archaic to repulse or defeat (an attack or assailant)
noun
hunting any scent that obscures the trail left by a hunted animal
archaic a setback or defeat

Derived forms of foil

foilable, adjective

Word Origin for foil

C13 foilen to trample, from Old French fouler, from Old French fuler tread down, full ²

British Dictionary definitions for foil (2 of 3)

foil2
/ (fɔɪl) /

noun
verb (tr)
to back or cover with foil
Also: foliate architect to ornament (windows) with foils

Word Origin for foil

C14: from Old French foille, from Latin folia leaves, plural of folium

British Dictionary definitions for foil (3 of 3)

foil3
/ (fɔɪl) /

noun
a light slender flexible sword tipped by a button and usually having a bell-shaped guard

Word Origin for foil

C16: of unknown origin
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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