- The definition of foul is someone or something very unpleasant, dirty, rotten or obscene.
- An example of foul used as an adjective is a foul odor such as the smell of a dirty cat litter box.
- An example of foul is the smell of fish that's been laying out in the sun.
- An example of foul is language calling a young woman a slut.
A dead fish can smell pretty foul.
- so offensive to the senses as to cause disgust; stinking; loathsome: a foul odor
- extremely dirty or impure; disgustingly filthy
- full of or blocked up with dirt or foreign objects: a foul pipe
- putrid; rotten: said of food
- not decent; obscene; profane: foul language
- very wicked; abominable: a foul murder
- not clear; stormy; unfavorable: foul weather, winds, etc.
- tangled or snarled; caught: a foul rope
- not according to the rules of a game; unfair, by either accident or intention
- treacherous; dishonest
- Chiefly Brit., Now Dial. ugly
- Informal unpleasant, disagreeable, etc.
- ☆ Baseball of or having to do with the part of the field that lies outside the foul lines
- Printing containing errors or marked with changes: foul copy or proof
Origin of foulMiddle English ; from Old English ful, akin to German faul, rotten, lazy ; from Indo-European base an unverified form pū-, an unverified form pu-, to stink (; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps exclamation of disgust) from source Classical Latin putere, to rot, Classical Greek pyon, pus
- in a foul way
- Baseball in or into the part of the field that lies outside the foul lines
- a collision of boats, contestants, etc.
- an infraction of the rules, as of a game or sport
- Baseball foul ball
- to make foul; dirty; soil; defile
- to dishonor or disgrace
- to impede or obstruct; specif.,
- to fill up; encrust; choke: to foul a drain with grease
- to cover (the bottom of a ship) with barnacles, seaweed, etc.
- to entangle; catch: a rope fouled in the shrouds
- to make a foul against in a contest or game
- ☆ Baseball to bat (the ball) so that it falls outside the foul lines
- to become dirty, filthy, or rotten
- to be clogged or choked
- to become tangled
- to break the rules of a game
- Baseball to bat the ball so that it falls outside the foul lines or is caught there: to foul to the third baseman
- Baseball to be retired as batter by the catch of a foul ball
- Basketball to be disqualified from further play for having committed a specified number of personal fouls
run foul ofor fall foul of
- to collide with or become entangled in
- to get into trouble with
- a. Offensive to the senses; revolting: “a foul little creature with greedy eyes and slobbering mouth” (J.R.R. Tolkien).b. Having a bad odor or taste: foul breath; food that tasted foul.c. Rotten or putrid: foul meat.
- a. Containing dirt, impurities, or other foreign matter; foul water.b. Clogged or bestrewn with unwanted material: The bay is foul with old sunken vessels.c. Overgrown or encrusted with weeds, barnacles, or other organisms. Used of a ship's bottom.d. Entangled or enwrapped: a foul anchor.
- a. Morally detestable; wicked: foul deeds.b. Vulgar or obscene: foul language.c. Violating accepted standards or rules; dishonorable: used foul means to gain power.
- a. Very disagreeable or displeasing; horrid: a foul movie.b. Inclement or unfavorable: in fair weather or foul.c. Irritable or upset: in a foul mood.
- a. Sports Contrary to the rules of a game or sport: a foul boxing punch.b. Baseball Outside the foul lines: a foul fly ball.
- Marked with editorial changes or corrections: foul copy.
- Archaic Ugly; unattractive.
- Abbr. Fa. Sports An infraction or a violation of the rules of play.b. Baseball A foul ball.
- An entanglement or a collision.
- An instance of clogging or obstructing.
- A foul copy of a document.
verbfouled, foul·ing, fouls
- To make dirty or foul; pollute. See Synonyms at contaminate.
- To bring into dishonor; besmirch.
- To clog or obstruct.
- To entangle or catch (a rope, for example).
- To encrust (a ship's hull) with foreign matter, such as barnacles.
- a. Sports To commit a foul against.b. Baseball To hit (a ball) outside the foul lines.
- To become foul.
- a. Sports To commit a foul.b. Baseball To hit a ball outside the foul lines: fouled twice and then struck out; fouled out to the catcher.
- To become entangled or twisted: The anchor line fouled on a rock.
- To become clogged or obstructed.
Origin of foulMiddle English, from Old English fūl; see p&ubremac;- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative fouler, superlative foulest)
- Covered with, or containing unclean matter; polluted; nasty; defiled
- This cloth is too foul to use as a duster.
- His foul hands got dirt all over the kitchen.
- The air was so foul nobody could breathe.
- A ship's bottom is foul when overgrown with barnacles
- A well is foul with polluted water.
- obscene or profane; abusive.
- The rascal spewed forth a series of foul words.
- His foul language causes many people to believe he is uneducated.
- Hateful; detestable; unpleasant
- He has a foul set of friends.
- Loathsome; disgusting; as, a foul disease.
- This foul food is making me retch.
- There was a foul smell coming from the toilet.
- 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.
- Not conforming to the established rules and customs of a game, conflict, test, etc.; unfair; dishonest; dishonorable; cheating.
- Foul play is not suspected.
- (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.
- (baseball) Outside of the base lines; in foul territory.
- Jones hit foul ball after foul ball.
- Nouns to which "foul" is often applied: play, ball, language, breath, smell, odor, water, weather, deed.
From Middle English, from Old English fūl (“foul, unclean, impure, vile, corrupt, rotten, guilty”), from Proto-Germanic *fūlaz (“foul, rotten”), from Proto-Indo-European *pū- (“to rot”). Cognate with Dutch vuil (“foul”), German faul (“rotten, putrid”), Danish and Swedish ful (“foul”), and through Indo-European, with Albanian fëlliq (“filth,dirt”), Latin puter (“rotten”). More at putrid.
(third-person singular simple present fouls, present participle fouling, simple past and past participle fouled)
- To make dirty.
- to foul the face or hands with mire
- She's fouled her diaper.
- To besmirch.
- He's fouled his reputation.
- To clog or obstruct.
- The hair has fouled the drain.
- (nautical) To entangle.
- The kelp has fouled the prop.
- (basketball) To make contact with an opposing player in order to gain advantage.
- Smith fouled him hard.
- (baseball) To hit outside of the baselines.
- Jones fouled the ball off the facing of the upper deck.
- (intransitive) To become clogged.
- The drain fouled.
- (intransitive) To become entangled.
- The prop fouled on the kelp.
- (intransitive, basketball) To commit a foul.
- Smith fouled within the first minute of the quarter.
- (intransitive, baseball) To hit a ball outside of the baselines.
- Jones fouled for strike one.
- (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.
- (bowling) A (usually accidental) contact between a bowler and the lane before the bowler has released the ball.
- (baseball) A foul ball, a ball which has been hit outside of the base lines.
- Jones hit a foul up over the screen.
From Old English fūlian.