Free & Quick Proofreading from Grammarly!

foul Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun an act that violates the rules of a sport
  2. verb hit a foul ball
  3. verb make impure
    pollute; contaminate.
    • The industrial wastes polluted the lake
  4. verb become or cause to become obstructed
    clog; congest; choke; clog up; choke off; back up.
    • The leaves clog our drains in the Fall
    • The water pipe is backed up
  5. verb commit a foul; break the rules
  6. verb spot, stain, or pollute
    defile; maculate; befoul.
    • The townspeople defiled the river by emptying raw sewage into it
  7. verb make unclean
    • foul the water
  8. verb become soiled and dirty
  9. adjective satellite highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
    distasteful; skanky; disgusting; loathly; loathsome; repellant; repellent; disgustful; repelling; yucky; revolting; wicked.
    • a disgusting smell
    • distasteful language
    • a loathsome disease
    • the idea of eating meat is repellent to me
    • revolting food
    • a wicked stench
  10. adjective satellite offensively malodorous
    stinking; foul-smelling; foetid; funky; smelly; noisome; fetid; ill-scented.
    • a foul odor
    • the kitchen smelled really funky
  11. adjective satellite violating accepted standards or rules
    unsportsmanlike; cheating; dirty; unsporting.
    • a dirty fighter
    • used foul means to gain power
    • a nasty unsporting serve
    • fined for unsportsmanlike behavior
  12. adjective (of a baseball) not hit between the foul lines
  13. adjective satellite (of a manuscript) defaced with changes
    dirty; marked-up.
    • foul (or dirty) copy
  14. adjective satellite characterized by obscenity
    smutty; nasty; cruddy; filthy.
    • had a filthy mouth
    • foul language
    • smutty jokes
  15. adjective satellite disgustingly dirty; filled or smeared with offensive matter
    nasty; filthy.
    • as filthy as a pigsty
    • a foul pond
    • a nasty pigsty of a room
  16. adjective satellite especially of a ship's lines etc
    fouled; afoul.
    • with its sails afoul
    • a foul anchor

Foul noun
See Fowl.
  1. A bird. Obs. Chaucer.
Foul adjective
OE. foul, ful, AS. f&umac;l; akin to D. vuil, G. faul rotten, OHG. f&umac;l, Icel. f&umac;l foul, fetid; Dan. fuul, Sw. ful foul, Goth. f&umac;ls fetid, Lith. puti to be putrid, L. putere to stink, be putrid, pus pus, Gr. py`on pus, to cause to rot, Skr. p&umac;y to stink. *82. Cf. Defile to foul, File to foul, Filth, Pus, Putrid.
comparative Fouler superlative Foulest
  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.
    My face is foul with weeping. Job. xvi. 16.
  2. Scurrilous; obscene or profane; abusive; as, foul words; foul language.
  3. Hateful; detestable; shameful; odious; wretched. "The foul with Sycorax." Shak.
    Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? Milton.
  4. Loathsome; disgusting; as, a foul disease.
  5. Ugly; homely; poor. Obs. Chaucer.
    Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares. Shak.
  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.
    So foul a sky clears not without a storm. Shak.
  7. Not conformed to the established rules and customs of a game, conflict, test, etc.; unfair; dishonest; dishonorable; cheating; as, foul play.
  8. 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.
Foul transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Fouled ; present participle & verbal noun Fouling
  1. To make filthy; to defile; to daub; to dirty; to soil; as, to foul the face or hands with mire.
  2. (Mil.) To incrust (the bore of a gun) with burnt powder in the process of firing.
  3. To cover (a ship's bottom) with anything that impered its sailing; as, a bottom fouled with barnacles.
  4. To entangle, so as to impede motion; as, to foul a rope or cable in paying it out; to come into collision with; as, one boat fouled the other in a race.
Foul intransitive verb
  1. To become clogged with burnt powder in the process of firing, as a gun.
  2. To become entagled, as ropes; to come into collision with something; as, the two boats fouled.
Foul noun
  1. An entanglement; a collision, as in a boat race.
  2. (Baseball) See Foul ball, under Foul, a.

Webster 1913