[fawr-i-jing, for-]


the acquisition of food by hunting, fishing, or the gathering of plant matter.


characterized by or dependent upon the acquisition of food by such means; food-gathering: a foraging people.


[fawr-ij, for-]


food for horses or cattle; fodder; provender.
the seeking or obtaining of such food.
the act of searching for provisions of any kind.
a raid.

verb (used without object), for·aged, for·ag·ing.

to wander or go in search of provisions.
to search about; seek; rummage; hunt: He went foraging in the attic for old mementos.
to make a raid.

verb (used with object), for·aged, for·ag·ing.

to collect forage from; strip of supplies; plunder: to forage the countryside.
to supply with forage.
to obtain by foraging.

Origin of forage

1275–1325; Middle English < Old French fourrage, derivative of fuerre fodder (from Germanic)
Related formsfor·ag·er, nounun·for·aged, adjective

Synonym study

1. See feed. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for foraging

rummage, comb, scour, scrounge, pilfer, rake, raid, grub, beat, hunt, ravage, plunder, explore, seek, ransack

Examples from the Web for foraging

Contemporary Examples of foraging

Historical Examples of foraging

  • A squadron was engaged in covering the operations of a foraging party.

  • The man was dressed like a traveller, in a foraging cap with fur about it, and a heap of cloak.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • All the girls in the town are in love with me, or my foraging cap.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • We are spending our time mostly in foraging, scouting, and patrolling.

  • And the gaze he turned upon his foraging horses was quite preoccupied.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for foraging



food for horses or cattle, esp hay or straw
the act of searching for food or provisions
military a raid or incursion


to search (the countryside or a town) for food, provisions, etc
(intr) military to carry out a raid
(tr) to obtain by searching about
(tr) to give food or other provisions to
(tr) to feed (cattle or horses) with such food
Derived Formsforager, noun

Word Origin for forage

C14: from Old French fourrage, probably of Germanic origin; see food, fodder
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 foraging



early 14c. (late 13c. as Anglo-Latin foragium), from Old French forrage "fodder, foraging, pillaging, looting" (12c., Modern French fourrage), from fuerre "hay, straw, forage, fodder" (Modern French feurre) "fodder, straw," from Frankish *fodr "food" or a similar Germanic source (cf. Old High German fuotar, Old English fodor); see fodder). Military forage cap attested by 1827.



early 15c., from Middle French fourrager, from fourage (Old French forrage; see forage (n.)). Related: Foraged; foraging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper