- forward (n.)
- Old English foreweard, "the fore or front part" of something, "outpost; scout;" see forward (adv.). The position in football so called since 1879.
- forwardness (n.)
- 1520s, "condition of being in advance," from forward + -ness. Meaning "presumptuousness" is from c. 1600. Old English foreweardness meant "a beginning."
- forwards (adv.)
- c. 1400, from forward (adv.) + adverbial genitive -s. British English until mid-20c. preserved the distinction between forward and forwards, the latter expressing "a definite direction viewed in contrast with other directions." In American English, however, forward prevails in all senses since Webster (1832) damned forwards as "a corruption."
- fosse (n.)
- "ditch, trench," early 14c. (late 13c. in place names), from Old French fosse "ditch, grave, dungeon" (12c.), from Latin fossa "ditch, trench, furrow," in full fossa terra, literally "dug earth," from fem. past participle of fodere "to dig" (see fossil). The Fosse-way (early 12c.), one of the four great Roman roads of Britain, probably was so named from the ditch on either side of it.
- fossil (n.)
- 1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging" (of coal, salt, etc.), from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig," from PIE root *bhedh- "to dig, pierce."
Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736 (the adjective in the sense "pertaining to fossils" is from 1660s); slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1833) preserves the earlier, broader sense.
- fossiliferous (adj.)
- by 1830, from fossil + -ferous "producing, containing," from ferre "to bear, carry" (see infer).
- fossilization (n.)
- noun of action from fossilize.
- fossilize (v.)
- 1794 (transitive), from fossil + -ize. Intransitive use from 1828. Figurative use from 1856. Related: Fossilized; fossilizing.
- foster (v.)
- Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostra-, from extended form of PIE root *pa- "to protect; feed" (see food).
Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c. 1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the word as an adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, fostorcild, fostormodoretc. Related: Fostered; fostering.
- fosterage (n.)
- 1610s, "the rearing of another's child as one's own," from foster (v.) + -age.
- past tense and past participle of fight (v.). The past participle form foughten (Old English fohten) has been archaic since 18c. but occasionally appears in the phrase foughten field.
- foul (adj.)
- Old English ful "rotten, unclean, vile, corrupt, offensive to the senses," from Proto-Germanic *fulaz (source also of Old Saxon and Old Frisian ful, Middle Dutch voul, Dutch vuil, Old High German fül, German faul, Gothic füls), from PIE *pu- (2) "to rot, decay," perhaps from the sound made in reaction to smelling something bad (see pus).
Old English ful occasionally meant "ugly" (as contrasted with fæger (adj.), modern fair (adj.)), and this sense became frequent in Middle English. The cognate in Swedish is the usual word for "ugly." Of weather from mid-14c. In the sporting sense of "irregular, unfair, contrary to established rule or practice" it is first attested 1797, though foul play is recorded from mid-15c. Baseball sense of "out of play" attested by 1860.
- foul (v.)
- Old English fulian "to become foul, rot, decay," from ful (see foul (adj.)). Transitive meaning "make foul, pollute" is from c. 1200. Meaning "become entangled" (chiefly nautical) is from 1832, probably from foul (adj.) in the sense "obstructed by anything fixed or attached" (late 15c.). "A term generally used in contrast to clear, and implies entangled, embarrassed or contrary to: e.g. to foul the helm, to find steerage impracticable owing to the rudder becoming entangled with rope or other gear" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]. Related: Fouled; fouling. Hence also foul anchor (1769), one with the slack of the cable twisted round the stock or a fluke; noted by 1832 as naval insignia.
- foul-mouthed (adj.)
- also foulmouthed, 1590s, apparently first in Shakespeare ["Henry IV," 1596]. Earlier were foul-tongued (1540s); foul-spoken (1580s).
- foully (adv.)
- Old English fullice; see foul (adj.) + -ly (2).
- foulmart (n.)
- "polecat," Middle English, from foul (adj.) + Old English mearþ "marten" (see marten).
- foulness (n.)
- Old English fulness "foulness, filthy smell;" see foul (adj.) + -ness. Similar formation in Old Frisian fulnisse, Dutch vuilnis, German fäulniss.
- found (v.1)
- "lay the basis of, establish," late 13c., from Old French fonder "found, establish; set, place; fashion, make" (12c.), from Latin fundare "to lay the bottom or foundation" of something, from fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Related: Founded; founding. Phrase founding fathers with reference to the creators of the American republic is attested from 1916.
- found (v.2)
- "to cast metal," late 14c., originally "to mix, mingle," from Old French fondre "pour out, melt, smelt" (12c.), from Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "melt, cast, pour out," from PIE root *gheu- "to pour" (source also of Greek khein "to pour," khoane "funnel," khymos "juice;" Gothic giutan, German gießen, Old English geotan "to pour;" Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails;" Old Norse geysa "to gush;" German Gosse "gutter, drain"). Meaning "to cast metal" is from 1560s. Related: Founded; founding.
- found (adj.)
- "discovered," late 14c., past participle adjective from find (v.). Expression and found attached to the wages or charges in old advertisements for job openings, travelling berths, etc., indicates that meals are provided. It comes from the expression to find one's self "to provide for one's self." "When a laborer engages to provide himself with victuals, he is said to find himself, or to receive day wages" [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. Hence, so much and found for "wages + meals provided."
- foundation (n.)
- late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion "foundation" (14c.) or directly from Late Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin fundare "to lay a bottom or foundation" (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol.
Specialized sense of "establishment of an institution with an endowment to pay for it" is from late 14c.; meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; meaning "funds endowed for benevolent or charitable purposes" is from early 15c. Sense of "solid base of a structure" is from early 15c.
- foundational (adj.)
- 1680s, from foundation + -al (1). Related: Foundationally.
- founder (v.)
- early 14c. "to send to the bottom" (transitive); late 14c., "to sink or fall" (intransitive), from Old French fondrer "collapse; submerge, sink, fall to the bottom" (Modern French fondrier), from fond "bottom" (12c.), from Latin fundus "bottom, foundation" (see fund (n.)). Not especially of ships in Middle English, where it typically meant "fall to the ground." Figurative use from 1580s. Related: Foundered; foundering.
- founder (n.1)
- "one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes (something)," mid-14c., from Anglo-French fundur, Old French fondeor "founder, originator" (Modern French fondateur), from Latin fundator, agent noun from fundare "to lay a foundation" (see found (v.1)). Fem. form foundress is from early 15c.; also fundatrix (1540s).
- founder (n.2)
- "one who casts metal," c. 1400, agent noun from found (v.2).
- foundling (n.)
- "deserted infant," c. 1300, from Middle English founden "found," past participle of finden (see find (v.)) + diminutive suffix -ling. Compare Dutch vondeling, German Findling. Middle English also had finding in this sense (late 14c.).
- foundry (n.)
- c. 1600, "art of casting metal," from French fonderei, from fondre "to cast" (see found (v.2)). Meaning "establishment for the founding of metallic articles" is from 1640s. Related: Foundryman.
- fount (n.)
- "spring of water," 1590s, probably a shortening of fountain influenced by Middle French font "fount." Figurative use also is from 1590s.
- fountain (n.)
- early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Medieval Latin fontana "fountain, a spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from post-classical noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water)," from PIE root *dhen- (1) "to run, flow" (source also of Sanskrit dhanayati, Old Persian danuvatiy "flows, runs").
The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c. 1500. Hence also fountain-pen (by 1823), so called for the reservoir that supplies a continuous flow of ink. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley]. Fountain of youth, and the story of Ponce de Leon's quest for it, seem to have been introduced in American English by Hawthorne's "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (January 1837).
"Did you never hear of the 'Fountain of Youth'?" asked Dr. Heidegger, "which Ponce de Leon, the Spanish adventurer, went in search of two or three centuries ago?"
- fountainhead (n.)
- also fountain-head, "spring from which a stream flows," 1580s, from fountain + head (n.). Figurative use is from c. 1600.
- four (n., adj.)
- Old English feower "four; four times," from Proto-Germanic *fedwor- (source also of Old Saxon fiuwar, Old Frisian fiower, fiuwer, Frankish *fitter-, Dutch vier, Old High German fior, German vier, Old Norse fjorir, Danish fire, Swedish fyra, Gothic fidwor "four"), from PIE *kwetwer- "four" (source also of Sanskrit catvarah, Avestan čathwaro, Persian čatvar, Greek tessares, Latin quattuor, Oscan petora, Old Church Slavonic četyre, Lithuanian keturi, Old Irish cethir, Welsh pedwar). The phonetic evolution of the Germanic forms has not been fully explained; Watkins explains the -f- as being from the following number (Modern English five).
To be on all fours is from 1719; earlier on all four (14c.). Four-letter word as a euphemism for one of the short words generally regarded as offensive or objectionable is attested from 1923; four-letter man is recorded from 1920 (apparently as a euphemism for a shit). Compare Latin homo trium litterarum, literally "three-letter man," a euphemism for fur "a thief." A four-in-hand (1793) was a carriage drawn by four horses driven by one person; in the sense of "loosely tied necktie" it is attested from 1892. To study The History of the Four Kings (1760, compare French Livres des Quatre Rois) contains an old euphemistic slang phrase for "a pack of cards," from the time when card-playing was considered a wicked pastime for students. Slang 4-1-1 "essential information" (by 1993) is from the telephone number called to get customer information. The four-color problem so called from 1879. The four-minute mile was attained 1954.
- four-corners (n.)
- old form of bowling, 1801, from four + corner (n.). So called because the four pins in it were set at the corners of a square.
- four-door (adj.)
- of cars, 1957, from four + door.
- four-eyes (n.)
- "person who wears glasses," slang, 1874; see four + eye (n.).
- four-flusher (n.)
- "cheat, dishonest person," 1900, from verb four-flush "to bluff a poker hand, claim a flush (n.) while holding only four cards in the suit" (1896).
- four-footed (adj.)
- c. 1300, fourefoted; see four + foot (n.). Replacing forms from Old English feowerfote.
- four-poster (n.)
- bedstead with high corner posts, 1836, from four + post (n.).
- four-square (adj.)
- also foursquare, c. 1300, "having four equal sides," from four + square (adj.). As an adverb, in figurative use, "forthrightly, honestly" from 1845.
- four-wheeled (adj.)
- Old English feowerhweolod; see four + wheel (n.).
- fourchette (n.)
- 1754, in reference to anatomical structures, from French fourchette, diminutive of fourche "a fork" (see fork (n.)).
- fourfold (adj.)
- Old English feowerfeald; see four + -fold. As an adverb from 1530s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fiuwerfald, Dutch viervoudig, Old High German fiervalt, German vierfältig, Danish firfold, Gothic fidurfalþs.
- Fourierism (n.)
- 1841, in reference to ideas of French socialist François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), whose plan also was called phalansterianism. Related: Fourierist. In scientific use, Fourier refers to French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830).
- fourscore (n.)
- "eighty, four times twenty," mid-13c., "formerly current as an ordinary numeral" [OED], from four + score (n.). Archaic by the time Lincoln used it at Gettysburg in 1863. Related: Fourscorth "eightieth."
- foursome (n.)
- "four in company," early 14c., from four + -some (1). Specific golf sense is from 1858.
- fourteen (n.)
- c. 1300, from Old English feowertyne; see four + -teen. Compare Old Saxon fiertein, Old Frisian fiuwertine, Dutch veertien, Old High German fiorzehan, German vierzehn, Danish fjorten, Gothic fidwortaihun.
- fourteenth (adj.)
- c. 1300, fourtenethe; see fourteen + -th (1). By influence of fourteen, replacing or modifying fourtende, fowrtethe, from Old English feowerteoða, Old Norse *feowertandi "fourteenth." Compare Dutch veertiende, German vierzehnte.
- fourth (adj.)
- mid-15c., alteration (by influence of four), of ferthe, from Old English feorða "fourth," from Proto-Germanic *fe(d)worthon- (source also of Old Saxon fiortho, Old Norse fiorðe, Dutch vierde, Old High German fiordo, German vierte); see four + -th (1). As a noun from 1590s, both of fractions and in music.
Among the old Quakers, who rejected the pagan weekday names, fourth day was Wednesday, often a secondary day of meeting for worship. Fourth-dimension attested from 1844. The theatrical fourth wall is from 1807. The celebration of the Fourth of July as the epoch of American independence is attested from 1777.
That there is due to Daniel Smith, of the city tavern, for his bill of expences of Congress, on the 4 of July last, including a balance of an old account, the sum of 729 68/90 dollars; also a bill for materials, workmanship, &c furnished for the fire works on the 4 July, the sum of 102 69/90 dollars .... [Auditor General's report, Aug. 8, 1777, "Journals of Congress," vol. VII]
- fourth estate (n.)
- "the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, -- as they are now justly styled, -- a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]
- fovea (n.)
- "depression or shallow pit in a surface," 1849, Latin, literally "small pit," related to favissae "underground reservoirs;" which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Etruscan. Related: Foveal; foveated.
- fowl (n.)
- Old English fugel "bird, feathered vertebrate," from Proto-Germanic *fuglaz, the general Germanic word for "bird" (source also of Old Saxon fugal, Old Frisian fugel, Old Norse fugl, Middle Dutch voghel, Dutch vogel, German vogel, Gothic fugls "a fowl, a bird"), perhaps a dissimilated form meaning literally "flyer," from PIE *pleuk- (see fly (v.1)).
Displaced in its original sense by bird (n.); narrower sense of "barnyard hen or rooster" (the main modern meaning) is first recorded 1570s; in U.S. this was extended to domestic ducks and geese.