foil

1
[foil]
||

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.

Nearby words

  1. foh,
  2. foi,
  3. foia,
  4. foible,
  5. foie gras,
  6. foilborne,
  7. foiled,
  8. foilsman,
  9. foin,
  10. foism

Origin of foil

1
1250–1300; Middle English foilen, < Anglo-French foller, Old French fuler to trample, full (cloth). See full2

Related formsfoil·a·ble, adjectiveun·foil·a·ble, adjective

foil

2
[foil]

noun

metal in the form of very thin sheets: aluminum foil.
the metallic backing applied to glass to form a mirror.
a thin layer of metal placed under a gem in a closed setting to improve its color or brilliancy.
a person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast: The straight man was an able foil to the comic.
Architecture. an arc or a rounded space between cusps, as in the tracery of a window or other ornamentation.

verb (used with object)

to cover or back with foil.
to set off by contrast.

Origin of foil

2
1350–1400; Middle English foille, foil < Old French fuelle, fueille, foille (< Latin folia leaves), fuel, fueil, foil (< Latin folium leaf, blade)

foil

3
[foil]

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for foil


British Dictionary definitions for foil

foil

1

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 Formsfoilable, adjective

Word Origin for foil

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

noun

metal in the form of very thin sheetsgold foil; tin foil
the thin metallic sheet forming the backing of a mirror
a thin leaf of shiny metal set under a gemstone to add brightness or colour
a person or thing that gives contrast to another
architect a small arc between cusps, esp as used in Gothic window tracery
short for aerofoil, hydrofoil

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

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

Word Origin and History for foil
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper