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Etymology 1[edit]

Probably from archaic Dutch vuisten (to take into one’s hand), from Middle Dutch vuysten, from vuyst (fist); akin to Old English fyst (fist).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /fɔɪst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪst


foist (third-person singular simple present foists, present participle foisting, simple past and past participle foisted)

  1. (transitive) To introduce or insert surreptitiously or without warrant.
    • 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Grove Press, published 1959, →OCLC:
      But apart from this, it is difficult for a man like Watt to tell a long story like Watt's without leaving out some things, and foisting in others.
    • a. 1896, William Alexander Clouston, Variants and Analogues of some of the Tales in the Supplemental Nights: Volume 2:
      the Tale of Zayn al-Asnám is one of two which Galland repudiated, as having been foisted into his 8th volume without his knowledge
    • 2006, Theodore Dalrymple, The Gift of Language[1]:
      attempts to foist alleged grammatical “correctness” on native speakers of an “incorrect” dialect are nothing but the unacknowledged and oppressive exercise of social control
  2. (transitive) To force another to accept especially by stealth or deceit.
    • 1961 May, “Editorial: Mr. M. presents Dr. B. - for a limited season only”, in Trains Illustrated, page 257:
      It is only a decade or so since the air was thick with muttering that L.M.S. influence was far too strong on the newly-born Railway Executive and that too many L.M.S. practices were being foisted on the rest of the system.
  3. (transitive) To pass off as genuine or worthy.
    • 1969, Jonathan Spivak, “Competitive Problems in the Drug Industry”, in The Wall Street Journal:
      foist costly and valueless products on the public
The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. For synonyms and antonyms you may use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}}.
Derived terms[edit]


foist (plural foists)

  1. (historical slang) A thief or pickpocket.
    • 1977, Gãmini Salgãdo, The Elizabethan Underworld, Folio Society, published 2006, page 54:
      The foist had lately arrived form the country and was known to be doing a thriving trade in and around Westminster Hall where many country folk and others came to see lawyers.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French fuste (stick, boat), from Latin fustis (cudgel).


foist (plural foists)

  1. (obsolete) A light and fast-sailing ship.
    Synonyms: fuste, fusta

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old French fust (whence also French fût), from Latin fustis.


foist (plural foists)

  1. (obsolete) A cask for wine.
  2. Fustiness; mustiness.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “Which dialect(s)?”)


foist (not comparable)

  1. Pronunciation spelling of first.
    • 1906, The Elevator Constructor, page 11:
      Cause if yer did the foist thing yer know along would come a blizzard an’ make yer out a liar.
    • 1911, Our Paper, page 491:
      Guess that brandy the doc give me was the foist thing set me straight.
    • 1913, Rupert Hughes, The Amiable Crimes of Dirk Memling, New York, N.Y., London: D. Appleton and Company, page 84:
      You know more about sculpture than what I do, Dirk, but you don’t know the foist thing about rugs.
    • 1933, James Reach, Tom Taggart, Oh! Clarissa!: A Comedy in Three Acts, page 54:
      Now, the foist thing we gotta do is put a guard on the door an’ see that nobody leaves the house.
    • 1936, Post Stories of 1936, pages 126 and 136:
      And the foist thing you know, he’s a musician, no less! [] They noticed I looked worried, and started givin’ me the third degree, and the foist thing you know they got it odda me.
    • 1939, The New Yorker, page 22:
      The foist thing is the govnement gung to take away a big bunch money fa texis, you shouldn’t go to jail.
    • 1996, Bill Hutton, A History of America, Coach House Books, page 18:
      The foist thing I’m gonna do when this mess is over is to find me a pretty strumpet in Paris and stay in bed for a Goddamn week!


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for foist”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)