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From Middle English forage, from Old French fourage, forage, a derivative of fuerre (fodder, straw), of Germanic origin, from Frankish *fōdar (fodder, sheath), from Proto-Germanic *fōdrą (fodder, feed, sheath), from Proto-Indo-European *patrom (fodder), *pat- (to feed), *pāy- (to guard, graze, feed). Cognate with Old High German fuotar (German Futter (fodder, feed)), Old English fōdor, fōþor (food, fodder, covering, case, basket), Dutch voeder (forage, food, feed), Danish foder (fodder, feed), Icelandic fóðr (fodder, sheath). More at fodder, food.



forage (countable and uncountable, plural forages)

  1. Fodder for animals, especially cattle and horses.
    • 1819, Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:[1]
      “The hermit was apparently somewhat moved to compassion by the anxiety as well as address which the stranger displayed in tending his horse; for, muttering something about provender left for the keeper's palfrey, he dragged out of a recess a bundle of forage, which he spread before the knight's charger.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  2. An act or instance of foraging.
    • c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “Loues Labour’s Lost”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
      He [the lion] from forage will incline to play.
    • (Can we date this quote by Marshall and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Mawhood completed his forage unmolested.
    • 1860 September, “A Chapter on Rats”, in The Knickerbocker, volume 56, number 3, page 304:
      ‘My dears,’ he discourses to them — how he licks his gums, long toothless, as he speaks of his forages into the well-stored cellars: []
  3. (obsolete) The demand for fodder etc by an army from the local population


External links[edit]


forage (third-person singular simple present forages, present participle foraging, simple past and past participle foraged)

  1. To search for and gather food for animals, particularly cattle and horses.
    • 1841, James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer, Chapter 8:
      The message said that the party intended to hunt and forage through this region, for a month or two, afore it went back into the Canadas.
  2. To rampage through, gathering and destroying as one goes.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1, Scene 2:
      And your great-uncle's, Edward the Black Prince, / Who on the French ground play'd a tragedy, / Making defeat on the full power of France, / Whiles his most mighty father on a hill / Stood smiling to behold his lion's whelp / Forage in blood of French nobility.
  3. To rummage.
    • 1898, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Wrecker:
      Using the blankets for a basket, we sent up the books, instruments, and clothes to swell our growing midden on the deck; and then Nares, going on hands and knees, began to forage underneath the bed.
  4. Of an animal, to seek out and eat food.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



From forer +‎ -age



forage m (plural forages)

  1. drilling (act of drilling)

Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Old French fourage; the first element is cognate to fodder.


  • IPA(key): /fɔːˈraːdʒ(ə)/, /fɔˈraːdʒ(ə)/


forage (uncountable)

  1. forage (especially dry)


  • English: forage