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 foully
Historical Examples of foully
For centuries the power has lain with the aristocrats, and they have most foully abused it.The Trampling of the Lilies
So foully stank the place that at first Gonzaga was moved to get him thence.Love-at-Arms
She saw them foully drunk, staggering off to their shameful assignations.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
Nay, not a whit do I, for thou didst strike him foully and like a coward!King Arthur's Knights
When she accused him of foully destroying her, I returned her no harsh words.A Book of Burlesques
H. L. Mencken
- 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