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Etymology 1

From Old English fūl.


foul (comparative {{{1}}}, superlative {{{2}}})




  1. Covered with, or containing, extraneous matter which is injurious, noxious, offensive, or obstructive; filthy; dirty; not clean; polluted; nasty; defiled; as, a foul cloth; foul hands; a foul chimney; foul air; a ship's bottom is foul when overgrown with barnacles; a gun becomes foul from repeated firing; a well is foul with polluted water.
    Cap'n, she's all fouled up.
  2. Scurrilous; obscene or profane; abusive; as, foul words; foul language.
    The rascal spewed forth a series of foul pronouncements.
  3. Hateful; detestable; shameful; odious; wretched.
    He has a foul set of friends.
  4. Loathsome; disgusting; as, a foul disease.
    This foul food is making me retch.
  5. Ugly; homely; poor.
  6. Not favorable; unpropitious; not fair or advantageous; as, a foul wind; a foul road; cloudy or rainy; stormy; not fair; -- said of the weather, sky, etc.
    Some foul weather is brewing.
  7. Not conformed to the established rules and customs of a game, conflict, test, etc.; unfair; dishonest; dishonorable; cheating; as, foul play.
    Foul play is not suspected.
  8. (nautical) Having freedom of motion interfered with by collision or entanglement; entangled; -- opposed to clear; as, a rope or cable may get foul while paying it out.
    We've got a foul anchor.
  9. (baseball) Outside of the base lines.
    Jones hit foul ball after foul ball.
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Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Old English fūlian.


to foul

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to foul (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (transitive) To make dirty.
    He's fouled her diapers.
  2. (transitive) To besmirch.
    He's fouled his reputation.
  3. (transitive) To clog or obstruct.
    The hair has fouled the drain.
  4. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To entangle.
    The kelp has fouled the prop.
  5. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To make contact with an opposing player in order to gain advantage.
    Smith fouled him hard.
  6. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To hit outside of the baselines.
    Jones fouled the ball off the facing of the upper deck.
  7. (intransitive) To become clogged.
    The drain fouled.
  8. (intransitive) To become entangled.
    The prop fouled on the kelp.
  9. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To commit a foul.
    Smith fouled within the first minute of the quarter.
  10. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To hit a ball outside of the baselines.
    Jones fouled for strike one.




foul ({{{1}}})
  1. (sports) A breach of the rules of a game, especially one involving inappropriate contact with an opposing player in order to gain an advantage; as, for example, foot-tripping in soccer, or contact of any kind in basketball.
  2. (bowling) A (usually accidental) contact between a bowler and the lane before the bowler has released the ball.
  3. (baseball) A foul ball, a ball which has been hit outside of the base lines.
    Jones hit a foul up over the screen.

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