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foil1

[foil] /fɔɪl/
verb (used with object)
1.
to prevent the success of; frustrate; balk:
Loyal troops foiled his attempt to overthrow the government.
2.
to keep (a person) from succeeding in an enterprise, plan, etc.
noun
3.
Archaic. a defeat; check; repulse.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English foilen, < Anglo-French foller, Old French fuler to trample, full (cloth). See full2
Related forms
foilable, adjective
unfoilable, adjective
Synonyms
1. thwart; impede, hamper.

foil2

[foil] /fɔɪl/
noun
1.
metal in the form of very thin sheets:
aluminum foil.
2.
the metallic backing applied to glass to form a mirror.
3.
a thin layer of metal placed under a gem in a closed setting to improve its color or brilliancy.
4.
a person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast:
The straight man was an able foil to the comic.
5.
Architecture. an arc or a rounded space between cusps, as in the tracery of a window or other ornamentation.
6.
verb (used with object)
7.
to cover or back with foil.
8.
to set off by contrast.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English foille, foil < Old French fuelle, fueille, foille (< Latin folia leaves), fuel, fueil, foil (< Latin folium leaf, blade)
Synonyms
4. contrast, complement, counterpart.

foil3

[foil] /fɔɪl/
noun, Fencing.
1.
a flexible four-sided rapier having a blunt point.
2.
foils, the art or practice of fencing with this weapon, points being made by touching the trunk of the opponent's body with the tip of the weapon.
Origin
1585-95; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for foils
  • Once they get going, the only thing that foils the beetles' wild rides is a rough beach.
  • In conventional lithium-ion-battery manufacturing, electrode materials are applied in the form of slurry to metal foils.
  • True, they were present in the old iconography, but mainly as foils for the grey-hats.
  • He foils the treatment of a magnetic healer by concealing a bent silver spoon in his mouth.
  • The foils differed from the studied persons in the number and quality of non-thematic details that were added or deleted.
  • Each hull is comprised of symmetrical foils with integral buoyancy.
  • foils exposed to a rotating target disc were used to detect spontaneous fission activities.
  • Hot and cold rolling to produce metal foils from the mm to micron range thickness.
British Dictionary definitions for foils

foil1

/fɔɪl/
verb (transitive)
1.
to baffle or frustrate (a person, attempt, etc)
2.
(hunting) (of hounds, hunters, etc) to obliterate the scent left by a hunted animal or (of a hunted animal) to run back over its own trail
3.
(archaic) to repulse or defeat (an attack or assailant)
noun
4.
(hunting) any scent that obscures the trail left by a hunted animal
5.
(archaic) a setback or defeat
Derived Forms
foilable, adjective
Word Origin
C13 foilen to trample, from Old French fouler, from Old French fuler tread down, full²

foil2

/fɔɪl/
noun
1.
metal in the form of very thin sheets: gold foil, tin foil
2.
the thin metallic sheet forming the backing of a mirror
3.
a thin leaf of shiny metal set under a gemstone to add brightness or colour
4.
a person or thing that gives contrast to another
5.
(architect) a small arc between cusps, esp as used in Gothic window tracery
6.
short for aerofoil, hydrofoil
verb (transitive)
7.
to back or cover with foil
8.
(architect) Also foliate. to ornament (windows) with foils
Word Origin
C14: from Old French foille, from Latin folia leaves, plural of folium

foil3

/fɔɪl/
noun
1.
a light slender flexible sword tipped by a button and usually having a bell-shaped guard
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for foils

foil

v.

c.1300, foilen "to spoil a trace or scent by running over it," irregularly from Old French fouler "trample," from Vulgar Latin *fullare "to clean cloth" (by treading on it), from Latin fullo "one who cleans cloth, fuller," of unknown origin.

Hence, "to overthrow, defeat" (1540s). Sense of "frustrate the efforts of" first recorded 1560s. Related: Foiled; foiling. Foiled again! as a cry of defeat and dismay is from at least 1847.

n.

"thin sheet of metal," early 14c., from Old French fueille "leaf," from Latin folia "leaves," plural (mistaken for fem. singular) of folium "leaf" (see folio).

The sense of "one who enhances another by contrast" (1580s) is from the practice of backing a gem with metal foil to make it shine more brilliantly. The meaning "light sword used in fencing" (1590s) could be from this sense, or from foil (v.). The modern sense of "metallic food wrap" is from 1946.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for foils

foil

noun

A small packet of narcotics; bag (1960s+ Narcotics)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for foils

foil

in architecture, leaf-shaped, indented spaces which, combined with cusps (small, projecting arcs outlining the leaf design), are found especially in the tracery (decorative openwork) of Gothic windows. The term is derived from the Latin folium, meaning "leaf." A window or wall ornamented with foils is referred to as foiled. There are three kinds of such stylized foliated decoration: trefoil, quatrefoil, and cinquefoil, or three-, four-, and five-lobed leaves.

Learn more about foil with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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