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From Middle English forrayen (to pillage), a back-formation of forrayour, forreour, forrier (raider, pillager), from Old French forrier, fourrier, a derivative of fuerre (provender, fodder, straw), 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 fóður (fodder, sheath). More at fodder, food, forage.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɒ.ɹeɪ/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfɔːɹ.eɪ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


foray (plural forays)

  1. A sudden or irregular incursion in border warfare; hence, any irregular incursion for war or spoils; a raid.
  2. A brief excursion or attempt, especially outside one's accustomed sphere.
    • 2011 September 27, Alistair Magowan, “Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Man City”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Bastian Schweinsteiger and Muller were among many who should have added the third, and City were limited to rare forays with the excellent Boateng pinching the ball off Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov shooting wide in stoppage time.



foray (third-person singular simple present forays, present participle foraying, simple past and past participle forayed)

  1. (transitive) To scour (an area or place) for food, treasure, booty etc.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter IX, in Le Morte Darthur, book V:
      Thenne on a tyme the kynge called syr florence a knyght / and sayd to hym they lacked vytaylle / and not ferre from hens ben grete forestes and woodes / wherin ben many of myn enemyes with moche bestyayl / I wyl that thou make the redy and goo thyder in foreyeng / and take with the syr Gawayn my neuew
  2. (intransitive) To pillage; to ravage.