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Foul appears in the following pangram (a sentence using every letter of the alphabet at least once):

  • Ban foul, toxic smogs which quickly jeopardize lives. (44 letters)
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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the adjective foul:


Comparison of usage frequency between the adjective foul and its most common antonym:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb foul:


Foul is sometimes a misspelling of food.

Video footage: Having fun with mudflats. Feet were foul with mud.
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Definition of the adjective foul

What does foul mean as an attribute of a noun?

Foul is one of the top 1000 most common adjectives in the English language.

adjective - degrees: fouler | foulest

  1. highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
  2. offensively malodorous
  3. violating accepted standards or rules
  4. (of a baseball) not hit between the foul lines
  5. (of a manuscript) defaced with changes
  6. characterized by obscenity
  7. disgustingly dirty; filled or smeared with offensive matter
  8. especially of a ship's lines etc

Alternative definition of the adjective foul


  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.
  2. Scurrilous; obscene or profane; abusive; as, foul words; foul language.
  3. Hateful; detestable; shameful; odious; wretched.
  4. Loathsome; disgusting; as, a foul disease.
  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.
  7. Not conformed to the established rules and customs of a game, conflict, test, etc.; unfair; dishonest; dishonorable; cheating; as, foul play.
  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.
  9. [baseball] Outside of the base lines; in foul territory.

Definition of the noun foul

What does foul mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: fouls

  1. an act that violates the rules of a sport
    • domain: athletics / sport
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • more generic words: infringement / violation = an act that disregards an agreement or a right
    • more specific terms:
      • foul ball = a ball struck with the bat so that it does not stay between the lines (the foul lines) that define the width of the playing field
      • personal foul = a foul that involves unnecessarily rough contact
      • technical foul / technical = a foul that can be assessed on a player or a coach or a team for unsportsmanlike conduct

Alternative definition of the noun foul


  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.

Specialised definition of the noun foul

Glossary of sports

an illegal action against an opposing player, or an action that breaks the rules of a sport; to act illegally against an opposing player, or break a rule of a sport (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

behaviour violating the rules in sport. The rules of the individual sport disciplines determine what counts as a foul and what the corresponding penalty is. In some sports it is differentiated between a personal foul and technical foul (e.g. in basketball). Since the decision whether a foul was committed or not is a factual decision, the referees must be well-trained to avoid incorrect decisions. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / American football

a violation of football’s rules by a team or player, punishable by a penalty

Glossary of sports / athletics

an athlete fouls in the long jump and triple jump when his or her spikes imprint in or beyond the red section of the plasticine on the board; in the discus, hammer or shot put when he or she steps outside the circle or the throw lands outside the designated area; and in the javelin when he or she steps over the end of the runway, even after the javelin is released, or the throw lands outside the designated area. Fouls in all cases are designated by a red flag (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / billiards

an illegal shot that results in points awarded to one's opponent (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / boxing

an illegal move, such as holding onto one's opponent or hitting him below the belt or behind the head (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / Gaelic football

a transgression of the rules. Technical fouls, such as throwing the ball instead of passing it, lifting the ball straight off the ground, killing the ball, and wrestling the ball from an opponent who has caught the ball, are punishable by free kicks. Aggressive fouls, such as kicking an opponent, are punished by bookings and sendings-off (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / hockey / ice hockey

any infraction of the rules that will draw a penalty

Glossary of sports / soccer

an infringement of the rules resulting in a free kick (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Definition of the verb foul

What does foul mean as a doing word?

verb - inflections: fouled | fouling | fouls

  1. hit a foul ball
    • domain: ball / baseball / baseball game
    • lexical domain: Competition - verbs of fighting, athletic activities
    • more generic word: hit = cause to move by striking
    • more specific term: foul out = baseball: hit a ball such that it is caught from an out in foul territory
  2. make impure
  3. become or cause to become obstructed
  4. commit a foul; break the rules
    • lexical domain: Competition - verbs of fighting, athletic activities
    • more generic word: play = participate in games or sport
    • more specific words:
      • hack = kick on the shins
      • hack = kick on the arms
  5. spot, stain, or pollute
  6. make unclean
    • example: foul the water
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • more generic words: begrime / bemire / colly / dirty / grime / soil = make soiled, filthy, or dirty
  7. become soiled and dirty
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • more generic word: change = undergo a change; become different in essence

Alternative definition of the verb foul


  1. [transitive] To make dirty.
  2. [transitive] To besmirch.
  3. [transitive] To clog or obstruct.
  4. [transitive, nautical] To entangle.
  5. [transitive, basketball] To make contact with an opposing player in order to gain advantage.
  6. [transitive, baseball] To hit outside of the baselines.
  7. [intransitive] To become clogged.
  8. [intransitive] To become entangled.
  9. [intransitive, basketball] To commit a foul.
  10. [intransitive, baseball] To hit a ball outside of the baselines.


fOUL is a musical group.

  • albums: "A FOULFUL OF...", "Dostoevsky Groove"


"FOUL" is a composition.


  1. Foul: In basketball, a foul is an infraction of the rules more serious than a violation. Most fouls occur as a result of illegal personal contact with an opponent and/or unsportsmanlike behavior.
  2. Foul is a nautical term meaning to entangle or entwine, and more generally that something is wrong or difficult. The term dates back to usage with wind-driven sailing ships.
  3. Foul was a football fanzine that was first published in the United Kingdom in October 1972 by Cambridge University students. It is regarded as being the first recognisable football fanzine, and continued until 1976. One of its writers was Chris Lightbown. It was set up at a time when fanzines were being produced for a number of different topics, in order to provide a challenge to the mainstream media.

Phrases with Foul

Phrases starting with the word Foul:

  1. foul up
  2. foul-up
  3. foul out
  4. Foul tip
  5. foul ball
  6. foul line
  7. foul play
  8. foul shot
  9. Foul Tick
  10. foul wind
  11. Foul Anchor
  12. foul-spoken
  13. foul-mouthed
  14. foul language
  15. foul-smelling

Phrases ending with the word Foul:

  1. to foul
  2. fall foul
  3. To Fall Foul
  4. personal foul

Other phrase containing the word Foul:

  1. to foul up

View more phrases with the word Foul in thesaurus!

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Foul

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Google previewEnglish Plant Names from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century (1880)

by John Earle

The adjective foul means in English ...

Google previewUnited Editors Encyclopedia and Dictionary (1907)

A Library of Universal Knowledge and an Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language ...

FOUL, a. fowl 'Goth. fula,' Ice]. full, stinking, corrupt: Ger. foul, foul: S. fulan, to corrupt: comp. Gael. fual, urine; foill, deceit]: not clean; offensive; dirty; coarse; disgraceful; rainy or tempestuous—applied to weather; contrary, as a wind; entangled; ...

Google previewWebster's II Children's Dictionary (2003)

averb foul ...

Google previewThe Yankee Encyclopedia (2003)

by Mark Gallagher

Strike one (foul ball) (2) Ball two (3) Strike two (called) (4) Strike three (called) (5) Strike one (foul ball) (6) Ball...

Strike two (foul ball) (23) Ball ...

Google previewThe South African Dictionary of Sport (2003)

by Joel Alswang

All foul lines are in fair territory field see illustration fielder anv defensive plaver fielder's choice the act of a fielder who handles a fair ball and, instead of throwing to first base to put out the batter / runner, throws to another base in an attempt to ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Foul

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Photos about Foul

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View more pictures about Foul ball and Party Foul.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Flying out in foul weather.Small photo of A low tree in a forest in Negros Oriental growing beside a pile of coconut husks, originated from a purple flower (Amorphophallus paeoniifolus) that emits a foul smell at night to attract pollinators.Small photo of Surprised caucasian adults feeling foul smell of food from casseroleSmall photo of Surprised husband and wife feeling foul smell of food from casseroleSmall photo of Closeup of baseball foul poleSmall photo of Yellow foul poleSmall photo of Closeup of baseball foul pole More...

Video language resources about Foul

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View more videos about Foul Up, Foul tip, fall foul, Foul ball, foul line, Foul Play, Foul Shot, Foul Tick, foul wind, Foul Anchor, foul language, Personal foul, Technical foul, Professional foul, and Foul Bill of Health.

See also the pronunciation examples of Foul!

Quotes about Foul

For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. (John Maynard Keynes)
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Scrabble value of F4O1U1L1

The value of this 4-letter word is 7 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of FOUL

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