adjective, foul·er, foul·est.
- (of the underwater portion of a hull) encrusted and impeded with barnacles, seaweed, etc.
- (of a mooring place) involving inconveniences and dangers, as of colliding with vessels or other objects when swinging with the tide.
- (of the bottom of a body of water) affording a poor hold for an anchor (opposed to clean).
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- Baseball.to be put out by hitting a foul ball caught on the fly by a player on the opposing team.
- Basketball.to be expelled from a game for having committed more fouls than is allowed.
- to collide with, as ships.
- to come into conflict with; quarrel.
- to make an attack; assault.
Origin of foul
Synonyms for foul
Antonyms for foul
Examples from the Web for fouled
Contemporary Examples of fouled
Instead, she fouled out by trying to defend Obama and downplay the deportation crisis.Hillary Clinton’s Latino Problem
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
June 24, 2014
The AHA stepped up to the plate, but instead of an out-of-the-ballpark home run, it fouled out.The AHA’s Absurd Saturated Fat Obsession
Dr. Barbara H. Roberts
June 3, 2014
He once fouled Barack on the Harvard Law School basketball courts, but voted for him in 2008.Meet Anthony Scaramucci, Mitt's Man on Wall Street
August 30, 2012
Americans long for a straight-talking businessman who can save the country from the political class that fouled everything up.Why Candidate Trump Is Leading the Polls
April 13, 2011
Historical Examples of fouled
It was the dead man's sacret too, and she's fouled the ould man's memory.The Manxman
He let two wide ones pass, and fouled when a bender cut a corner.Rival Pitchers of Oakdale
Certainly, five men at least were living before we fouled the ice.
Or if the ice on which she floated, fouled some other berg it might cost us all our spars.
Something had fouled her, and she had failed, for Corinne swept by at that moment.A Little Miss Nobody
Amy Bell Marlowe
- a violation of the rules
- (as modifier)a foul shot; a foul blow
- to come into conflict with
- nauticalto come into collision with
Word Origin for foul
Old English ful "rotten, unclean, vile, corrupt, offensive to the senses," from Proto-Germanic *fulaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian ful, Middle Dutch voul, Dutch vuil, Old High German fül, German faul, Gothic füls), from root *fu-, corresponding to PIE *pu-, perhaps from the sound made in reaction to smelling something bad (cf. Sanskrit puyati "rots, stinks," putih "foul, rotten;" Greek puon "discharge from a sore;" Latin pus "putrid matter," putere "to stink," putridus "rotten;" Lithuanian puviu "to rot").
Old English ful occasionally meant "ugly" (as contrasted with fæger (adj.), modern fair (adj.)), a sense frequently found in Middle English, and the cognate in Swedish is the usual word for "ugly." Of weather, first recorded late 14c. In the sporting sense of "irregular, unfair" it is first attested 1797, though foul play is recorded from mid-15c. Baseball sense of "out of play" attested by 1860. Foulmart was a Middle English word for "polecat" (from Old English mearð "marten").
Old English fulian "to become foul, rot," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Related: Fouled; fouling.
In addition to the idioms beginning with foul
- foul one's nest
- foul play
- foul up
- run afoul of