afoul

[ uh-foul ]
/ əˈfaʊl /

adverb, adjective

in a state of collision or entanglement: a ship with its shrouds afoul.

Idioms for afoul

    run/come/fall afoul of,
    1. to become entangled with: The boat ran afoul of the seaweed.
    2. to come into conflict with: The business had fallen afoul of the new government regulations.

Origin of afoul

An Americanism dating back to 1800–10; a-1 + foul

Definition for run afoul of (2 of 3)

Origin of run

before 900; (v.) Middle English rinnen, rennen, partly < Old Norse rinna, renna, partly continuing Old English rinnan; cognate with German rinnen; form run orig. past participle, later extended to present tense; (noun and adj.) derivative of the v.

OTHER WORDS FROM run

Definition for run afoul of (3 of 3)

Origin of foul

before 900; (adj. and noun) Middle English ful, foul, Old English fūl; cognate with Gothic fuls, Old Norse fūll, Old High German fūl; akin to Latin pūs pus, pūtēre to stink, Greek pýon pus; (adv.) Middle English fule, foule, derivative of the adj.; (v.) Middle English fulen, derivative of the adj.

SYNONYMS FOR foul

ANTONYMS FOR foul

3, 24 clean.
5, 6 clear.

OTHER WORDS FROM foul

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH foul

foul fowl

synonym study for foul

3. See dirty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for run afoul of (1 of 3)

afoul
/ (əˈfaʊl) /

adverb, adjective (postpositive)

(usually foll by of) in or into a state of difficulty, confusion, or conflict (with)
(often foll by of) in or into an entanglement or collision (with) (often in the phrase run afoul of)a yacht with its sails afoul; the boat ran afoul of a steamer

British Dictionary definitions for run afoul of (2 of 3)

See also foul up

Derived forms of foul

foully, adverb

Word Origin for foul

Old English fūl; related to Old Norse fūll, Gothic fūls smelling offensively, Latin pūs pus, Greek puol pus

British Dictionary definitions for run afoul of (3 of 3)

run
/ (rʌn) /

verb runs, running, ran or run

noun

Word Origin for run

Old English runnen, past participle of (ge) rinnan; related to Old Frisian, Old Norse rinna, Old Saxon, Gothic, Old High German rinnan
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

Idioms and Phrases with run afoul of (1 of 3)

run afoul of

Also, run foul of. Come into conflict with, as in If you keep parking illegally you'll run afoul of the police. This expression originated in the late 1600s, when it was applied to a vessel colliding or becoming entangled with another vessel, but at the same time it was transferred to non-nautical usage. Both senses remain current.

Idioms and Phrases with run afoul of (2 of 3)

foul

In addition to the idioms beginning with foul

  • foul one's nest
  • foul play
  • foul up

also see:

  • run afoul of

Idioms and Phrases with run afoul of (3 of 3)

run

In addition to the idioms beginning with run

  • run across
  • run a fever
  • run afoul of
  • run after
  • run against
  • run along
  • run amok
  • run an errand
  • run a risk
  • run around
  • run around in circles
  • run around like a chicken
  • run around with
  • run a temperature
  • run a tight ship
  • run away
  • run away with
  • run by someone
  • run circles around
  • run counter to
  • run down
  • run dry
  • run for it
  • run for one's money, a
  • run foul
  • run high
  • run in
  • run in place
  • run interference
  • run in the blood
  • run into
  • run into a stone wall
  • run into the ground
  • run its course
  • run like clockwork
  • running on empty
  • running start
  • run off
  • run off at the mouth
  • run off with
  • run of luck
  • run of the mill
  • run on
  • run one ragged
  • run one's eyes over
  • run one's head against the wall
  • run one's own show
  • run out
  • run out of
  • run out on
  • run over
  • run rings around
  • run riot
  • run scared
  • run short
  • run someone in
  • run someone off his or her feet
  • run the gamut
  • run the gauntlet
  • run the show
  • run through
  • run to
  • run to earth
  • run to form
  • run to seed
  • run up
  • run wild
  • run with

also see:

  • beat (run) one's head against the wall
  • cut and run
  • dry run
  • eat and run
  • end run
  • go (run) around in circles
  • great minds (run in the same channel)
  • home run
  • in the long run
  • like clockwork, run
  • make a break (run) for
  • make one's blood run cold
  • (run) off someone's feet
  • on the run
  • still waters run deep
  • tight ship, run a
  • well's run dry

Also see underrunning.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.