Word of the Day: foil

Word of the Day
March 24, 2016
foil (noun, verb)
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A person fencing, using a foil.
Foil is a roll of extremely thin sheet metal used mainly to wrap food. It is also a person or a thing that serves as a contrast and makes another person or thing look better. As a verb, to foil means 'to frustrate and prevent the success of a plan.' A foil is also a flexible sword used in the sport fencing.


Example sentences
Jamie wrapped the leftovers in foil and put them in the fridge.
In famous comic duos, there is usually a "straight man" and a comedian. The straight man does not tell jokes and is a foil for the comedian.
Their plans for a picnic were foiled by bad weather.
The two women took up their foils and began to fence.


Multi-word forms
The food wrap is more fully known as aluminum foil in the US and aluminium foil in the UK. Especially in the UK, people also sometimes call it tinfoil.
Did you know?
Fencing has been practiced for centuries, mostly as a way men learned how to duel (ie, fight between two people with weapons) and defend themselves. Some believe that, at the end of the Roman Empire, German soldiers spread the practice of resolving arguments by dueling, so learning how to fight with a sword became essential. In some places, dueling was prohibited in the 15th century, but the tradition of fencing continued. It began to be seen as a sport in the 18th century, and it has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Olympic Games were held, in 1896.
As sheet metal, foil dates back to the second half of the 14th century and comes from the Latin word folium, meaning 'leaf' or 'blade,' the Old French words fuelle, fueille, foille, and the Middle English words foille or foil.
Foil in other languages
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