Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A foe in battle; an enemy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An enemy; a foe in battle; an armed or unarmed adversary; a demon

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An enemy in war.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An active enemy; one who is in open enmity with or engaged in hostilities against another or others.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an armed adversary (especially a member of an opposing military force)

Etymologies

From Middle English foman ("an enemy, devil, demon"), from Old English fāhman ("enemy"), equivalent to foe +‎ man. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The reading of the 1st ed. and that of 1821; "foeman" in many recent eds.

    The Lady of the Lake

  • Exhaustively knowledgeable about the science of cognition, and a foeman who gives as good as he gets (if not better) in the nature-versus-nurture culture wars, Pinker seemed the perfect foil for some of my ideas about the IQ test.

    Boing Boing

  • They appreciated him as a foeman worthy of their intellect, and they listened intently, following every word.

    Chapter 38

  • I tell you, Watson, this time we have got a foeman who is worthy of our steel.

    The Seriously Deranged Writer and the Model Cars

  • I think I would have demurred, though, at invitations to sit with someone who had previously made wide and spectacularly false anti-union claims in the purest of bad faith, blatantly lied about me and my work, and shown himself, frankly, not to be a foeman worthy of my steel.

    Fascism

  • It is; for he was his country's foe, though not a foeman born.

    The Phoenissae

  • Ere the Christian could avail himself of this mishap, his nimble foeman sprung from the ground, and, calling on his steed, which instantly returned to his side, he leaped into his seat without touching the stirrup, and regained all the advantage of which the Knight of the Leopard hoped to deprive him.

    The Talisman

  • A third time he approached in the same manner, when the Christian knight, desirous to terminate this illusory warfare, in which he might at length have been worn out by the activity of his foeman, suddenly seized the mace which hung at his saddle-bow, and, with a strong hand and unerring aim, hurled it against the head of the Emir, for such and not less his enemy appeared.

    The Talisman

  • Some foeman draws anigh our host, or thieves maybe, or spies.

    Rhesus

  • Thou shalt see me smite some foeman through the shield.

    The Heracleidae

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Comments

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  • "He extracted from his quiver,
    Did the controversial Roman,
    An argument well fitted
    To the question as submitted,
    Then addressed it to the liver,
    Of the unpersuaded foeman."
    - 'The Devil's Dictionary', Ambrose Bierce (1911).

    December 7, 2007