fall foul

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

fall foul

  1. (idiomatic, archaic) To collide; to conflict with; to attack (+ on, of, upon)
    • Burton
      If they be any ways offended, they fall foul.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, XV.v:
      He was, literally speaking, drunk; which circumstance, together with his natural impetuosity, could produce no other effect than his running immediately up to his daughter, upon whom he fell foul with his tongue in the most inveterate manner [...]
  2. (idiomatic) To be defeated or thwarted (by); to suffer ( + of)
    • 2008, The Guardian, Media Monkey, 4 Aug 2008:
      Sky News fell foul of its own woolly reporting on Tuesday, when it reported "human remains" had been found on Saddleworth Moor. Ever keen to spin a good yarn, they immediately linked the story to moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - only for the police to emerge seven hours later and announce that, after very careful inspection, they could confirm the carcass was not human [...]