from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae and especially of the genus Vulpes, found worldwide and characteristically having upright ears, a pointed snout, and a long bushy tail.
  • noun The fur of one of these mammals.
  • noun A crafty, sly, or clever person.
  • noun Slang A sexually attractive person.
  • noun Nautical Small cordage made by twisting together two or more strands of tarred yarn.
  • noun Archaic A sword.
  • intransitive verb To trick or fool by ingenuity or cunning; outwit.
  • intransitive verb To baffle or confuse.
  • intransitive verb To make (beer) sour by fermenting.
  • intransitive verb To repair (a shoe) by attaching a new upper.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To intoxicate.
  • intransitive verb To act slyly or craftily.
  • intransitive verb To turn sour in fermenting. Used of beer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To intoxicate; fuddle; stupefy.
  • To become drunk.
  • To repair, as a shoe, by renewing the front upper-leather; also, to cover the upper of (a shoe) with a piece of ormnamental leather.
  • noun A sword.
  • To become discolored: said of timber or of paper. See foxed, foxfire.
  • To turn sour: said of beer when it sours in fermenting.
  • To make sour, as beer in fermenting.
  • To hunt the fox.
  • To employ crafty means; act with dissimulation.
  • To steal.
  • noun A carnivorous quadruped of the family Canidœ and of the vulpine or alope-coid series of canines, especially of the restricted genus Vulpes, as V. vulgaris of Europe.
  • noun Hence A sly, cunning fellow.
  • noun The gemmous dragonet: chiefly applied to the females and young males. Also called foxfish. [Local, Eng.]
  • noun Nautical, a seizing made by twisting several rope-yarns together and rubbing them down.
  • noun A drain carried under another watercourse by means of a depressed culvert forming an inverted siphon. Commonly called a dip-culvert or a dive-culvert.
  • noun One of the northern constellations (Vulpecula), situated between the Constellations Of the Swan and the Dolphin.
  • noun A freshman in a German university.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To turn sour; -- said of beer, etc., when it sours in fermenting.
  • transitive verb To intoxicate; to stupefy with drink.
  • transitive verb To make sour, as beer, by causing it to ferment.
  • transitive verb To repair the feet of, as of boots, with new front upper leather, or to piece the upper fronts of.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A carnivorous animal of the genus Vulpes, family Canidæ, of many species. The European fox (V. vulgaris or V. vulpes), the American red fox (V. fulvus), the American gray fox (V. Virginianus), and the arctic, white, or blue, fox (V. lagopus) are well-known species.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The European dragonet.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The fox shark or thrasher shark; -- called also sea fox. See Thrasher shark, under Shark.
  • noun colloq. A sly, cunning fellow.
  • noun (Naut.) Rope yarn twisted together, and rubbed with tar; -- used for seizings or mats.
  • noun obsolete A sword; -- so called from the stamp of a fox on the blade, or perhaps of a wolf taken for a fox.
  • noun (Ethnol.) A tribe of Indians which, with the Sacs, formerly occupied the region about Green Bay, Wisconsin; -- called also Outagamies.
  • noun A game with sixteen checkers, or some substitute for them, one of which is called the fox, and the rest the geese; the fox, whose first position is in the middle of the board, endeavors to break through the line of the geese, and the geese to pen up the fox.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large fruit bat of the genus Pteropus, of many species, inhabiting Asia, Africa, and the East Indies, esp. P. medius of India. Some of the species are more than four feet across the outspread wings. See Fruit bat.
  • noun a bolt having a split end to receive a fox wedge.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the tail of a fox.
  • noun a disease in which the hair falls off; alopecy.
  • noun (Bot.) the name of two species of American grapes. The northern fox grape (Vitis Labrusca) is the origin of the varieties called Isabella, Concord, Hartford, etc., and the southern fox grape (Vitis vulpina) has produced the Scuppernong, and probably the Catawba.
  • noun A horse ridden in a fox chase.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the thrasher shark. See Thrasher shark, under Thrasher.


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

[Middle English, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fox, from Old English fox ("fox"), from Proto-Germanic *fuhsaz (“fox”), from Pre-Germanic *puḱsos (“tailed one”), from Proto-Indo-European *puḱ- (“tail”). Cognate with Scots fox ("fox"), West Frisian foks ("fox"), North Frisian Fering-Öömrang dialect foos, and Sölring and Heligoland dialects fos, Dutch vos ("fox"), Low German vos ("fox"), German Fuchs ("fox"), Icelandic fóa ("fox"), Tocharian B päkā ("tail, chowrie"), Russian пух (puch, "down, fluff"), Torwali pūš ("fox"), Hindi पूंछ (pū̃ch, "tail").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word fox.


  • Yet I heard only the other day of a woman who boasted that she had been among the few "in at the death" one day in fox - hunting, and that when the brush was given to her, her face was _spattered with the blood of the fox_.

    Memoir and Letters of Francis W. Newman Giberne Sieveking

  • July 31st, 2006 at 1: 30 pm matthew says: at least a fox is an appropriate annalogy (not REAL foxes mind you, real foxes are cool, I mean the steriotypical-anthropomorphized-media version of the fox)

    Think Progress » Congressman Brags About Sabotaged Minimum Wage Bill: ‘You Have Seen Us Really Outfox You’ 2006

  • We did not answer, because now, for the first time, it came over all of us, in a rush of blushes and uncomfortableness, that burying a fox is a suspicious act.

    The Wouldbegoods Edith 1901

  • When he had prepared twenty or more of those pieces of poisoned tallow, he put them in what he called a fox bed, of oat chaff, behind that old barn.

    A Busy Year at the Old Squire's 1887

  • The peasants of that country have a small dog, which, from their foxy appearance, they term fox-dogs.

    The Dog William Youatt 1811

  • "It's what we call a fox-tail skimmer and it's connected to a roller and a squeegee system," he says.

    NPR Topics: News 2010

  • "It's what we call a fox-tail skimmer and it's connected to a roller and a squeegee system," he says.

    NPR Topics: News 2010

  • "It's what we call a fox-tail skimmer and it's connected to a roller and a squeegee system," he says.

    NPR Topics: News 2010

  • The black fox is in fact a red fox which is going through a phase where the colour of its fur is particularly dark.

    ‘Unlucky’ Rare Black Fox Spotted in Britain | Disinformation 2008

  • He is free to go and join fox oops fix news or the tea party movement.

    John King to replace Lou Dobbs 2009


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Han hade en räv bakom örat - He had a fox behind his ear, Swedish saying equivalent to "He had something up his sleeve."

    September 26, 2009

  • And you could hide a pretty big alert carnivorous mammal with pointed muzzle and ears and a bushy tail behind those appendages of yours, big-ears!

    But why the tag 'sixth rate'? Perhaps a certain ursine would like to comment, before I have to take you-know-what?

    *crouches, poised, besides the umbrage cellar*

    September 26, 2009

  • Sixth-rate? Whahahaha!

    It's probably because of your news channel :-(

    September 26, 2009

  • And what kind of interspecies massacring is google ads encouraging with this kind of thing:

    Fox coats & Fox jackets

    Financing Available

    Additional 10% discount coupon


    Fox Hunting Ireland

    Experience the thrill of the chase

    Variety of packages on offer


    September 26, 2009

  • Look at my new fox fur ear warmers!

    September 26, 2009

  • Psst... it means that sionnach carries between 20 and 24 nine-pounder guns on a single deck. I'd watch your whahahas if I were you. ;)

    September 27, 2009

  • I wasn't even aware that sionnach had a deck. *ponders*

    October 1, 2009

  • From Radio Prague:

    Tady dávají lišky dobrou noc - literally, “the foxes give goodnights here,�? which means there’s nothing going on here, you’ve found yourself in such an armpit of the world, that there is no one to talk to you, and only foxes left to tell you goodnight.

    October 9, 2009