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See also: froþ



Noun attested around 1300, from Old Norse froða, from Proto-Germanic *fruþǭ; Old English afreoðan ‎(to froth) is from same Germanic root. Verb attested from late 14th century.[1]



froth ‎(countable and uncountable, plural froths)

  1. foam
    • 1749, John Cleland, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Part 2
      He replaced her again breadthwise on the couch, unable to sit up, with her thighs open, between which I could observe a kind of white liquid, like froth, hanging about the outward lips of that recently opened wound, which now glowed with a deeper red.
    • 1922, Hugh Lofting, “8”, in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle:
      Shortly after we started, while still off the lower end of the island, we sighted a steep point on the coast where the sea was in a great state of turmoil, white with soapy froth.
    Froth is a very important feature of many types of coffee.
  2. (figuratively) unimportant events or actions; drivel
    • L'Estrange
      It was a long speech, but all froth.
    Thousands of African children die each day: why do the newspapers continue to discuss unnecessary showbiz froth?

Derived terms[edit]



froth ‎(third-person singular simple present froths, present participle frothing, simple past and past participle frothed)

  1. (transitive) To create froth in (a liquid).
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Book Two, Chapter 7, [1]
      One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches), poured the chocolate out.
    I like to froth my coffee for ten seconds exactly.
  2. (intransitive) (of a liquid) To bubble.
    • 1842, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Wreck of the Hesperus,” lines 21-4, [2]
      Colder and louder blew the wind,
      A gale from the Northeast,
      The snow fell hissing in the brine,
      And the billows frothed like yeast.
    • 1973, “Black Day in Brussels,” Time, 19 February, 1973, [3]
      English beer, along with European brews, is already the subject of an EEC investigation to determine whether additives like stabilizers (used to prevent frothing during shipment) should be allowed.
  3. (transitive) To spit, vent, or eject, as froth.
    • 1690, John Dryden, Don Sebastian, a Tragedy, Act I, Scene 1, [4]
      The Mufti reddens; mark that holy cheek.
      He frets within, froths treason at his mouth,
      And churns it thro’ his teeth []
    • 1859, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Merlin and Vivien” in Idylls of the King, [5]
      [] is your spleen frothed out, or have ye more?
  4. (intransitive) (literally) To spew saliva as froth; (figuratively) to rage, vent one's anger.
    • 1958, Nikos Kazantzakis, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (1938), translated by Kimon Friar, London: Secker and Warburg, Book XIII,
      The clumsy suckling struck out with her still soft claws,
      opened her frothing mouth until her milk teeth shone.
    • 1962, “Riding Crime's Crest” in Time, 25 April, 1962, [6]
      As doctors tried in vain to save April's right eye, news stories frothed at her assailant. He was “fiendish” (the Examiner), “sadistic” (the News-Call Bulletin), “probably a sexual psychopath” (the Chronicle).
  5. (transitive) To cover with froth.
    A horse froths his chain.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ froth” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).