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[fawr-ey, for-ey] /ˈfɔr eɪ, ˈfɒr eɪ/
a quick raid, usually for the purpose of taking plunder:
Vikings made a foray on the port.
a quick, sudden attack:
The defenders made a foray outside the walls.
an initial venture:
a successful foray into politics.
verb (used without object)
to make a raid; pillage; maraud.
to invade or make one's way, as for profit or adventure:
foreign industries foraying into U.S. markets.
verb (used with object)
to ravage in search of plunder; pillage.
Origin of foray
1350-1400; Middle English forraien, apparently by back formation from forrayour, forreour, forrier < Old French forrier, fourrier, equivalent to fo(u)rr(er), derivative of fuerre provender (see forage) + -ier -ier2
Related forms
forayer, noun
1. attack, assault, invasion, incursion, sortie. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for foray
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Night had turned the place into a dark pit, and the mosquitoes were abroad on their nightly foray.

    The Voodoo Gold Trail Walter Walden
  • The season of the foray had opened and flocks must be guarded by day and night.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • Indeed it was she who led the first foray, in which she was herself severely wounded, as will be seen.

    Poor Relations Compton Mackenzie
  • He determined, therefore, on every account, to make a foray into Macedon.

    Pyrrhus Jacob Abbott
  • From her half-whispered sentences the professor learned that her father and mother had both been killed in a foray of the Muras.

    The Inca Emerald Samuel Scoville
British Dictionary definitions for foray


a short raid or incursion
a first attempt or new undertaking
to raid or ravage (a town, district, etc)
Derived Forms
forayer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from forrayen to pillage, from Old French forreier, from forrier forager, from fuerre fodder; see forage
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 foray

late 14c., Scottish, from the verb (14c.), perhaps a back-formation of Middle English forreyer "raider, forager" (mid-14c.), from Old French forrier, from forrer "to forage" (see forage (n.)). Disused by 18c.; revived by Scott.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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