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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)


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.
  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


foist (plural foists)

  1. (historical slang) A thief or pickpocket.
    • 1977, Gãmini Salgãdo, The Elizabethan Underworld, Folio Society 2006, p. 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Beaumont and Fletcher to this entry?)
    • These are mad boys, I tell you; these are things That will not strike their top-sails to a foist, And let a man of war, an argosy, Hull and cry cockles. (Beaumont and Fletcher, “Philaster”, Act the Fifth, Scene IV)

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]


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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.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, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)