• "Choked and strangled by the foul breath of the chimneys over there."
    "Choked and strangled by the foul breath of the chimneys over there."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj foul especially of a ship's lines etc "with its sails afoul","a foul anchor"
    • adj foul disgustingly dirty; filled or smeared with offensive matter "as filthy as a pigsty","a foul pond","a nasty pigsty of a room"
    • adj foul characterized by obscenity "had a filthy mouth","foul language","smutty jokes"
    • adj foul (of a baseball) not hit between the foul lines
    • adj foul violating accepted standards or rules "a dirty fighter","used foul means to gain power","a nasty unsporting serve","fined for unsportsmanlike behavior"
    • adj foul offensively malodorous "a foul odor","the kitchen smelled really funky"
    • adj foul (of a manuscript) defaced with changes "foul (or dirty) copy"
    • adj foul highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust "a disgusting smell","distasteful language","a loathsome disease","the idea of eating meat is repellent to me","revolting food","a wicked stench"
    • v foul become soiled and dirty
    • v foul make unclean "foul the water"
    • v foul spot, stain, or pollute "The townspeople defiled the river by emptying raw sewage into it"
    • v foul make impure "The industrial wastes polluted the lake"
    • v foul commit a foul; break the rules
    • v foul hit a foul ball
    • v foul become or cause to become obstructed "The leaves clog our drains in the Fall","The water pipe is backed up"
    • n foul an act that violates the rules of a sport
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Basketball great Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out of a game
    • n Foul foul A bird.
    • Foul An entanglement; a collision, as in a boat race.
    • Foul 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."
    • Foul Hateful; detestable; shameful; odious; wretched. "The foul with Sycorax.""Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?"
    • Foul 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 In various games or sports, an act done contrary to the rules; a foul stroke, hit, play, or the like.
    • Foul Loathsome; disgusting; as, a foul disease.
    • Foul Not conformed to the established rules and customs of a game, conflict, test, etc.; unfair; dishonest; dishonorable; cheating; as, foul play.
    • Foul 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."
    • Foul Scurrilous; obscene or profane; abusive; as, foul words; foul language.
    • Foul (Baseball) See Foul ball, under Foul a.
    • Foul To become clogged with burnt powder in the process of firing, as a gun.
    • Foul To become entagled, as ropes; to come into collision with something; as, the two boats fouled .
    • Foul To cover (a ship's bottom) with anything that impered its sailing; as, a bottom fouled with barnacles.
    • Foul 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 (Mil) To incrust (the bore of a gun) with burnt powder in the process of firing.
    • Foul To make filthy; to defile; to daub; to dirty; to soil; as, to foul the face or hands with mire.
    • Foul Ugly; homely; poor. "Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The blow of a whale has a strong, foul odor. It apparently smells like a combination of spoiled fish and old oil. Because whales have such terrible breath, sailors believed at one time that a whiff of it could cause brain disorders.
    • foul Grossly offensive to the senses; of a filthy or noxious character or quality; noisome; disgusting: as, foul matter or exudations; a foul smell; foul breath.
    • foul Of a harmful or mischievous character; causing trouble or annoyance; obnoxious; obstructive; clogging: as, foul weeds; foul weather; a foul wind.
    • foul Affected by noisome or defiling matter; in a filthy state or condition; unclean; dirty; turbid; defiled: as, foul clothing; foul den; a foul stream.
    • foul Affected by harmful matter or things; obstructed by anything fixed or attached; clogged; choked: as, a foul garden (one full of weeds); a foul chimney (one choked with soot); the ship's bottom is foul (clogged with seaweeds or barnacles); the channel has a foul bottom (one cumbered by rocks, wrecks, or the like).
    • foul Clogged or impeded as by collision or entanglement; in a state of obstructing contact or involvement: with of before the obstructive object: as, the ship is foul of a rock or of another ship; a rope or an anchor is foul from being jammed, entangled, or clogged in any way.
    • foul Contrary to or violating rule or established usage; done, acting, or acted upon improperly; irregular; disorderly; unfair: as, a foul blow or stroke: a foul player or fighter; a foul attack. See foul play, below.
    • foul Grossly offensive or loathsome in a moral sense; manifesting, or prompted or actuated by, base or vicious feeling; vile; odious; shameful; revolting: as, foul thoughts or actions; foul language; a foul slander, murder, conspiracy, etc.; a foul slanderer or conspirator.
    • foul Extremely bad as to effect or result; unfavorable; unlucky; pernicious; distressing: us, a foul accident; a foul prospect or omen.
    • foul Coarse; common; of little value.
    • foul Ill-favored; ugly; homely.
    • foul To attack; make an assault upon. See afoul.
    • n foul The act of fouling, colliding, or otherwise impeding due motion or progress; specifically, in a contest of any kind, a violation of the governing rules.
    • n foul In base-ball, a hit which makes the ball land outside the lines from home to first or to third base continued indefinitely; a foul ball or a foul hit. See base-ball.
    • n foul An ulcer in a cow's foot; a disease that produces ulcers.
    • foul In a foul manner.
    • foul To make foul, in any sense; befoul. To defile; duty; soil.
    • foul Nautical, to entangle.
    • foul To become foul or dirty: as, a gun. fouls from long use.
    • foul Nautical, to come into collision, as two boats; become entangled or clogged: as, the rope fouled; the block fouled.
    • foul In base-ball, to strike a foul ball
    • n foul An obsolete spelling of fowl.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Foul fowl filthy: loathsome: obscene: impure: stormy: unfair: running against: distressing, pernicious: choked up, entangled:
    • v.t Foul to make foul: to soil: to effect a collision
    • v.i Foul to come into collision:—pr.p. foul′ing; pa.p. fouled
    • n Foul act of fouling: any breach of the rules in games or contests
    • adj Foul fowl (Shak.) homely, ugly
    • ***


  • Jean Paul Richter
    “Every man has a rainy corner of his life whence comes foul weather which follows him.”
  • William Shakespeare
    “For nothing can seem foul to those that win.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    “Don't foul, don't flinch. Hit the line hard.”
  • Samuel Butler
    “Evil is like water, it abounds, is cheap, soon fouls, but runs itself clear of taint.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.”
  • William Shakespeare
    “We wound our modesty and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.”


Foul play - If the police suspect foul play, they think a crime was committed.
No harm, no foul - There's no problem when no harm or damage is done, such as the time my sister-in-law stole the name we'd chosen for a boy and we both ended up having girls.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. foul, ful, AS. fūl,; akin to D. vuil, G. faul, rotten, OHG. fūl, Icel. fūl, foul, fetid; Dan. fuul, Sw. ful, foul, Goth. fūls, fetid, Lith. puti, to be putrid, L. putere, to stink, be putrid, pus, pus, Gr. py`on pus, to cause to rot, Skr. pūy, to stink. √82. Cf. Defile to foul, File to foul, Filth Pus Putrid
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. fúl; Ger. faul, Goth. fûls.


In literature:

You suspect foul play?
"The Seven Secrets" by William Le Queux
But it was only a foul, and, though Russell tried desperately to get it, he could not.
"Baseball Joe in the Big League" by Lester Chadwick
"The Ocean Waifs" by Mayne Reid
The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly.
"A Budget of Christmas Tales by Charles Dickens and Others" by Various
Oh, undoubtedly a case of foul play, Mr. Narkom.
"Cleek, the Master Detective" by Thomas W. Hanshew
And now, a rocking cinder, fouls the skies.
"Hypolympia" by Edmund Gosse
The child of a foul traitor.
"The Cryptogram" by James De Mille
But none of my forefathers had anything to do with the foul deed you tell of.
"The Saracen: Land of the Infidel" by Robert Shea
The brook was fouled near the highroad from the passing of heavy carts and wagons, so Robin pushed down it into the thicker wood.
"Robin Hood" by Paul Creswick
The right act or true thought sets its stamp of beauty in the features; the wrong act or foul thought sets its seal of distortion.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis

In poetry:

The jests that lit our hours by night
And made them gay,
Soiled a sweet and ignorant soul
And fouled its play.
"To A Cabaret Dancer" by Djuna Barnes
Though ways be foul, and days are dim,
He makes no lamentation;
The primal "fount" of woe to him
Is--want of occupation:
"The Happy Printer" by Henry Austin Dobson
"With him I sweetly liv'd in love
A twelvemonth and a day;
When, lo! a foul and treacherous priest
Y-wrought our loves' decay.
"Valentine and Ursine" by Anonymous British
"The Kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim,
And leevith on Mahound;
And pitye it were that fayre ladye
Shold marrye a heathen hound."
"King Estmere" by Anonymous British
Thanks for all things that are,
For the fair, the foul, the fell;
Thanks for the Morning—star,
And the nethermost murk of Hell.
"A Te Deum" by Alfred Austin
"Now naye, nowe naye, good Sir Gawaine,
My sister's sonne yee bee;
This lothlye ladye's all too grimme,
And all too foule for yee.
"The Marriage of Sir Gawaine" by Anonymous British

In news:

Hulu To Stream UK's Foul-Mouthed Comedy 'The Thick of It' Uncensored.
Foul-mouthed politicians: Some candidates on the East Coast recently engaged in questionabl language practices to get their points across.
In Wiggins' Foul-Mouthed Rant at Tour de France, Doubt, Hope, and Trust Take Spotlight.
The 'Ted' Test: Can a Foul-Mouthed Teddy Bear Save Big-Budget Comedies.
'Ted': How Seth MacFarlane animated his foul-mouthed bear.
In Teen Books, Foul-Mouthed Characters Are Rich, Cool, and Hot.
Superheroes, action flicks and one foul-mouthed teddy bear.
Fracking is too important to foul up.
The Fowl Foul-Up On Thanksgiving Day.
Frustrated with a fouled paddle-wheel speed transducer.
Harm or Not, You Fouled up on Privacy.
What to do about oil- fouled plugs.
My partner, Lou, and I just had our Piper PA 28 235 overhauled and are having problems with the lower plugs getting oil fouled .
It took only 13 seconds for DeMarcus Cousins to be called for his first foul.
Lakers are all fouled up in opener.

In science:

To do this, however, it will be necessary to devise some scheme for treating these very small scales that does not fall foul of the Courant time constraint discussed previously.
The First Stars
One particular setting is a referee deciding whether a player has committed a foul using his or her noisy observation as well as prior experience.
Quantization of Prior Probabilities for Hypothesis Testing
Players commit fouls at different rates; some players are dirtier or more aggressive than others.
Quantization of Prior Probabilities for Hypothesis Testing
It is this rate which is the prior probability for the ‘foul committed’ state.
Quantization of Prior Probabilities for Hypothesis Testing
Let us consider the particular setting for human decision making mentioned in Section I: a referee determining whether a player has committed a foul or not using both his or her noisy observation and prior experience.
Quantization of Prior Probabilities for Hypothesis Testing