WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
foul /faʊl/USA pronunciation adj.
offensive to the senses;WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
disgusting:a foul smell from the river.
marked by offensive matter or qualities:The city air had become foul with pollution.
very dirty; filthy:foul rags.
clogged with foreign matter:a foul pipeline.
stormy; inclement:foul weather.
irritable:in a foul temper.
morally offensive:the foul crime of murder.
profane; obscene:foul language.
Gamescontrary to the rules or practices, as in a sport or game.
in a foul manner.
Gamesa violation of the rules of a sport or game:disqualified for too many fouls.
[~ + object] to make foul; defile;
soil:a river fouled with pollution.
[~ + object] to clog;
obstruct:The valves were fouled with dirt.
to (cause to) become entangled or caught, such as a rope: [no object]The ropes fouled in the wind.[~ + object]The wind and tides fouled the ropes.
[~ + object] to dishonor; disgrace:Scandal fouled his good name.
Sport[no object] to commit a foul in a sport or game.
foul up, to make a mess;
bungle: [no object]really fouled up during the interview.[~ + up + object]really fouled up the interview.[~ + object + up]had really fouled it up this time.
foul•ness, n. [uncountable]
(foul), adj., -er, -est, adv., n., v.
grossly offensive to the senses;
noisome:a foul smell.
containing or characterized by offensive or noisome matter:foul air; foul stagnant water.
filthy or dirty, as places, receptacles, clothes, etc.
muddy, as a road.
clogged or obstructed with foreign matter:a foul gas jet.
unfavorable or stormy:foul weather.
contrary, violent, or unfavorable, as the wind.
grossly offensive in a moral sense.
abominable, wicked, or vile, as deeds, crime, slander, etc.
scurrilous, profane, or obscene; offensive:foul language.
Gamescontrary to the rules or established usages, as of a sport or game;
unfair:a foul blow.
Sport[Baseball.]pertaining to a foul ball or a foul line.
limited in freedom of movement by obstruction, entanglement, etc.:a foul anchor.
abounding in errors or in marks of correction, as a printer's proof, manuscript, or the like.
- (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.
Scottish Terms[North Eng. and Scot.]not fair; ugly or unattractive.
in a foul manner;
- (of the bottom of a body of water) affording a poor hold for an anchor (opposed to clean).
Sport[Baseball.]into foul territory;
so as to be foul:It looked like a homer when he hit it, but it went foul.
fall foul or afoul of:
- to collide with, as ships.
- to come into conflict with;
Idiomsrun foul or afoul of, to come into collision or controversy with:to run foul of the press.
something that is foul.
a collision or entanglement:a foul between two racing sculls.
Gamesa violation of the rules of a sport or game:The referee called it a foul.
Sport[Baseball.]See foul ball.
to make foul; defile;
- to make an attack;
to clog or obstruct, as a chimney or the bore of a gun.
to collide with.
to cause to become entangled or caught, as a rope.
disgrace:His reputation had been fouled by unfounded accusations.
Naval Terms[Naut.](of barnacles, seaweed, etc.) to cling to (a hull) so as to encumber.
Sport[Baseball.]to hit (a pitched ball) foul (often fol. by off or away):He fouled off two curves before being struck out on a fastball.
to become foul.
Naval Terms[Naut.]to come into collision, as two boats.
to become entangled or clogged:The rope fouled.
Sport[Sports.]to make a foul play;
give a foul blow.
Sport Baseball. to hit a foul ball.
Idiomsfoul one's nest. to dishonor one's own home, family, or the like.
- [Baseball.]to be put out by hitting a foul ball caught on the fly by a player on the opposing team.
Informal Termsfoul up, [Informal.]to cause confusion or disorder;
- [Basketball.]to be expelled from a game for having committed more fouls than is allowed.
1 . pleasant.3, 26 . clean.5, 6 . clear.
(adjective, adjectival and noun, nominal) 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;
(adverb, adverbial) Middle English fule, foule, derivative of the adjective, adjectival;
(verb, verbal) Middle English fulen, derivative of the adjective, adjectival
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
foul /faʊl/ adj
- offensive to the senses; revolting
- offensive in odour; stinking
- charged with or full of dirt or offensive matter; filthy
- (of food) putrid; rotten
- morally or spiritually offensive; wicked; vile
- obscene; vulgar: foul language
- (esp of weather) unpleasant or adverse
- blocked or obstructed with dirt or foreign matter: a foul drain
- (of the bottom of a vessel) covered with barnacles and other growth that slow forward motion
- informal unsatisfactory or uninteresting; bad: a foul book
- a violation of the rules
- (as modifier): a foul shot, a foul blow
- an entanglement or collision, esp in sailing or fishing
- to make or become dirty or polluted
- to become or cause to become entangled or snarled
- (transitive) to disgrace or dishonour
- to become or cause to become clogged or choked
- (transitive) (of underwater growth) to cling to (the bottom of a vessel) so as to slow its motion
- (transitive) to commit a foul against (an opponent)
- (intransitive) to infringe the rules
- to collide with (a boat, etc)
Etymology: Old English fūl; related to Old Norse fūll, Gothic fūls smelling offensively, Latin pūs pus, Greek puol pusˈfoully adv
- in a foul or unfair manner
- fall foul of ⇒ to come into conflict with
- to come into collision with
'foul' also found in these entries: