British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
FA abbr. 1 (in the UK) Football Association. 2 = FANNY ADAMS 1.
fa var. of FAH.
FAA abbr. Fleet Air Arm.
fab adj. colloq. fabulous, marvellous. [abbr.]
Fabian n. & adj. --n. a member or supporter of the Fabian Society, an
organization of socialists aiming at a gradual rather than
revolutionary achievement of socialism. --adj. 1 relating to
or characteristic of the Fabians. 2 employing a cautiously
persistent and dilatory strategy to wear out an enemy (Fabian
tactics). ЬЬFabianism n. Fabianist n. [L Fabianus f. the name
of Q. Fabius Maximus Cunctator (= delayer), Roman general of
the 3rd c. BC, noted for cautious strategies]
fable n. & v. --n. 1 a a story, esp. a supernatural one, not based
on fact. b a tale, esp. with animals as characters, conveying a
moral. 2 (collect.) myths and legendary tales (in fable). 3 a
a false statement; a lie. b a thing only supposed to exist.
--v. 1 intr. tell fictitious tales. 2 tr. describe
fictitiously. 3 tr. (as fabled adj.) celebrated in fable;
famous, legendary. ЬЬfabler n. [ME f. OF fabler f. L fabulari
f. fabula discourse f. fari speak]
fabliau n. (pl. fabliaux) a metrical tale in early French poetry,
often coarsely humorous. [F f. OF dialect fabliaux, -ax pl. of
fablel dimin. (as FABLE)]
fabric n. 1 a a woven material; a textile. b other material
resembling woven cloth. 2 a structure or framework, esp. the
walls, floor, and roof of a building. 3 (in abstract senses)
the essential structure or essence of a thing (the fabric of
society). [ME f. F fabrique f. L fabrica f. faber metal-worker
fabricate v.tr. 1 construct or manufacture, esp. from prepared
components. 2 invent or concoct (a story, evidence, etc.). 3
forge (a document). ЬЬfabrication n. fabricator n. [L
fabricare fabricat- (as FABRIC)]
fabulist n. 1 a composer of fables. 2 a liar. [F fabuliste f. L
fabula: see FABLE]
fabulous adj. 1 incredible, exaggerated, absurd (fabulous wealth). 2
colloq. marvellous (looking fabulous). 3 a celebrated in fable.
b legendary, mythical. ЬЬfabulosity n. fabulously adv.
fabulousness n. [F fabuleux or L fabulosus (as FABLE)]
fa‡ade n. 1 the face of a building, esp. its principal front. 2 an
outward appearance or front, esp. a deceptive one. [F (as
face n. & v. --n. 1 the front of the head from the forehead to the
chin. 2 the expression of the facial features (had a happy
face). 3 composure, coolness, effrontery. 4 the surface of a
thing, esp. as regarded or approached, esp.: a the visible part
of a celestial body. b a side of a mountain etc. (the north
face). c the (usu. vertical) surface of a coal-seam. d Geom.
each surface of a solid. e the fa‡ade of a building. f the
plate of a clock or watch bearing the digits, hands, etc. 5 a
the functional or working side of a tool etc. b the distinctive
side of a playing card. c the obverse of a coin. 6 = TYPEFACE.
7 the outward appearance or aspect (the unacceptable face of
capitalism). 8 a person, esp. conveying some quality or
association (a face from the past; some young faces for a
change). --v. 1 tr. & intr. look or be positioned towards or
in a certain direction (face towards the window; facing the
window; the room faces north). 2 tr. be opposite (facing page
20). 3 tr. a (often foll. by out) meet resolutely or
defiantly; confront (face one's critics). b not shrink from
(face the facts). 4 tr. present itself to; confront (the
problem that faces us; faces us with a problem). 5 tr. a cover
the surface of a thing with a coating, extra layer, etc. b put
a facing on (a garment). 6 intr. & tr. turn or cause to turn in
a certain direction. Ьface-ache 1 neuralgia. 2 sl. a
mournful-looking person. face-card = court-card. face-cloth 1
a cloth for washing one's face. 2 a smooth-surfaced woollen
cloth. face-cream a cosmetic cream applied to the face to
improve the complexion. face down (or downwards) with the face
or surface turned towards the ground, floor, etc. face facts
(or the facts) recognize the truth. face-flannel = face-cloth
1. face-lift 1 (also face-lifting) cosmetic surgery to remove
wrinkles etc. by tightening the skin of the face. 2 a procedure
to improve the appearance of a thing. face the music colloq.
put up with or stand up to unpleasant consequences, esp.
criticism. face-pack a preparation beneficial to the
complexion, spread over the face and removed when dry.
face-powder a cosmetic powder for reducing the shine on the
face. face-saving preserving one's reputation, credibility,
etc. face to face (often foll. by with) facing; confronting
each other. face up (or upwards) with the face or surface
turned upwards to view. face up to accept bravely; confront;
stand up to. face value 1 the nominal value as printed or
stamped on money. 2 the superficial appearance or implication
of a thing. face-worker a miner who works at the coalface.
have the face be shameless enough. in one's (or the) face 1
straight against one; as one approaches. 2 confronting. in
face (or the face) of 1 despite. 2 confronted by. let's face
it colloq. we must be honest or realistic about it. on the
face of it as it would appear. put a bold (or brave) face on it
accept difficulty etc. cheerfully or with courage. put one's
face on colloq. apply make-up to one's face. put a good face
on make (a matter) look well. put a new face on alter the
aspect of. save face preserve esteem; avoid humiliation. save
a person's face enable a person to save face; forbear from
humiliating a person. set one's face against oppose or resist
with determination. to a person's face openly in a person's
presence. ЬЬfaced adj. (also in comb.). facing adj. (also in
comb.). [ME f. OF ult. f. L facies]
faceless adj. 1 without identity; purposely not identifiable. 2 lacking
character. 3 without a face. ЬЬfacelessly adv. facelessness
facer n. colloq. 1 a sudden difficulty or obstacle. 2 a blow in the
facet n. 1 a particular aspect of a thing. 2 one side of a
many-sided body, esp. of a cut gem. 3 one segment of a compound
eye. ЬЬfaceted adj. (also in comb.). [F facette dimin. (as
facetiae n.pl. 1 pleasantries, witticisms. 2 (in bookselling)
pornography. [L, pl. of facetia jest f. facetus witty]
facetious adj. 1 characterized by flippant or inopportune humour. 2 (of
a person) intending to be amusing, esp. inopportunely.
ЬЬfacetiously adv. facetiousness n. [F fac‚tieux f. fac‚tie
f. L facetia jest]
facia var. of FASCIA.
facial adj. & n. --adj. of or for the face. --n. a beauty treatment
for the face. ЬЬfacially adv. [med.L facialis (as FACE)]
-facient comb. form forming adjectives and nouns indicating an action or
state produced (abortifacient). [from or after L - faciens
-entis part. of facere make]
facies n. (pl. same) 1 Med. the appearance or facial expression of an
individual. 2 Geol. the character of rock etc. expressed by its
composition, fossil content, etc. [L, = FACE]
facile adj. usu. derog. 1 easily achieved but of little value. 2
(of speech, writing, etc.) fluent, ready, glib. ЬЬfacilely adv.
facileness n. [F facile or L facilis f. facere do]
v.tr. make easy or less difficult or more easily achieved.
ЬЬfacilitation n. facilitative adj. facilitator n. [F
faciliter f. It. facilitare f. facile easy f. L facilis]
facility n. (pl. -ies) 1 ease; absence of difficulty. 2 fluency,
dexterity, aptitude (facility of expression). 3 (esp. in pl.)
an opportunity, the equipment, or the resources for doing
something. 4 US a plant, installation, or establishment. [F
facilit‚ or L facilitas (as FACILE)]
facing n. 1 a a layer of material covering part of a garment etc. for
contrast or strength. b (in pl.) the cuffs, collar, etc., of a
military jacket. 2 an outer layer covering the surface of a
facsimile n. & v. --n. 1 an exact copy, esp. of writing, printing, a
picture, etc. (often attrib. : facsimile edition). 2 a
production of an exact copy of a document etc. by electronic
scanning and transmission of the resulting data (see also FAX).
b a copy produced in this way. --v.tr. (facsimiled,
facsimileing) make a facsimile of. Ьin facsimile as an exact
copy. [mod.L f. L fac imper. of facere make + simile neut. of
fact n. 1 a thing that is known to have occurred, to exist, or to be
true. 2 a datum of experience (often foll. by an explanatory
clause or phrase : the fact that fire burns; the fact of my
having seen them). 3 (usu. in pl.) an item of verified
information; a piece of evidence. 4 truth, reality. 5 a thing
assumed as the basis for argument or inference. Ьbefore (or
after) the fact before (or after) the committing of a crime. a
fact of life something that must be accepted. facts and figures
precise details. fact-sheet a paper setting out relevant
information. the facts of life information about sexual
functions and practices. in (or in point of) fact 1 in reality;
as a matter of fact. 2 (in summarizing) in short. [L factum f.
factice n. Chem. a rubber-like substance obtained by vulcanizing
unsaturated vegetable oils. [G Faktis f. L facticius
n. 1 a small organized dissentient group within a larger one,
esp. in politics. 2 a state of dissension within an
organization. [F f. L factio -onis f. facere fact- do, make]
n. a book, film, etc., using real events as a basis for a
fictional narrative or dramatization. [blend of FACT and
-faction comb. form forming nouns of action from verbs in -fy
(petrifaction; satisfaction). [from or after L -factio
-factionis f. - facere do, make]
factional adj. 1 of or characterized by faction. 2 belonging to a
faction. ЬЬfactionalism n. factionalize v.tr. & intr. (also
-ise). factionally adv. [FACTION(1)]
factious adj. of, characterized by, or inclined to faction.
ЬЬfactiously adv. factiousness n.
adj. 1 specially contrived, not genuine (factitious value). 2
artificial, not natural (factitious joy). ЬЬfactitiously adv.
factitiousness n. [L facticius f. facere fact- do, make]
factitive adj. Gram. (of a verb) having a sense of regarding or
designating, and taking a complement as well as an object (e.g.
appointed me captain). [mod.L factitivus, irreg. f. L factitare
frequent. of facere fact- do, make]
factoid n. & adj. --n. an assumption or speculation that is reported
and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact; a
simulated or imagined fact. --adj. being or having the
character of a factoid; containing factoids.
factor n. & v. --n. 1 a circumstance, fact, or influence contributing
to a result. 2 Math. a whole number etc. that when multiplied
with another produces a given number or expression. 3 Biol. a
gene etc. determining hereditary character. 4 (foll. by
identifying number) Med. any of several substances in the blood
contributing to coagulation (factor eight). 5 a a business
agent; a merchant buying and selling on commission. b Sc. a
land-agent or steward. c an agent or a deputy. 6 a company
that buys a manufacturer's invoices and takes responsibility for
collecting the payments due on them. --v.tr. 1 Math. resolve
into factors or components. 2 tr. sell (one's receivable debts)
to a factor. Ьfactor analysis Statistics a process by which the
relative importance of variables in the study of a sample is
assessed by mathematical techniques. ЬЬfactorable adj. [F
facteur or L factor f. facere fact- do, make]
factorage n. commission or charges payable to a factor.
factorial n. & adj. Math. --n. 1 the product of a number and all the
whole numbers below it (factorial four = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1).
°Symb.: ! (as in 4!). 2 the product of a series of factors in
an arithmetical progression. --adj. of a factor or factorial.
factorize v. (also -ise) Math. 1 tr. resolve into factors. 2 intr. be
capable of resolution into factors. ЬЬfactorization n.
factory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a building or buildings containing plant or
equipment for manufacturing machinery or goods. 2 hist. a
merchant company's foreign trading station. Ьfactory farm a
farm employing factory farming. factory farming a system of
rearing livestock using industrial or intensive methods.
factory floor workers in industry as distinct from management.
factory ship Brit. a fishing ship with facilities for immediate
processing of the catch. [Port. feitoria and LL factorium]
factotum n. (pl. factotums) an employee who does all kinds of work.
[med.L f. L fac imper. of facere do, make + totum neut. of totus
factual adj. 1 based on or concerned with fact or facts. 2 actual,
true. ЬЬfactuality n. factually adv. factualness n. [FACT,
factum n. (pl. factums or facta) Law 1 an act or deed. 2 a statement
of the facts. [F f. L: see FACT]
facture n. the quality of execution esp. of the surface of a painting.
[ME f. OF f. L factura f. facere fact- do, make]
facula n. (pl. faculae) Astron. a bright spot or streak on the sun.
ЬЬfacular adj. faculous adj. [L, dimin. of fax facis torch]
adj. 1 Law enabling an act to take place. 2 that may occur. 3
Biol. not restricted to a particular function, mode of life,
etc. 4 of a faculty. ЬЬfacultatively adv. [F facultatif -ive
faculty n. (pl. -ies) 1 an aptitude or ability for a particular
activity. 2 an inherent mental or physical power. 3 a a group
of university departments concerned with a major division of
knowledge (faculty of modern languages). b US the staff of a
university or college. c a branch of art or science; those
qualified to teach it. 4 the members of a particular
profession, esp. medicine. 5 authorization, esp. by a Church
authority. ЬFaculty of Advocates Law the society constituting
the Scottish Bar. [ME f. OF facult‚ f. L facultas -tatis f.
FAD abbr. flavin adenine dinucleotide.
fad n. 1 a craze. 2 a peculiar notion or idiosyncrasy. ЬЬfaddish
adj. faddishly adv. faddishness n. faddism n. faddist n.
[19th c. (orig. dial.): prob. f. fidfad f. FIDDLE-FADDLE]
faddy adj. (faddier, faddiest) having arbitrary likes and dislikes,
esp. about food. ЬЬfaddily adv. faddiness n.
fade v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. lose or cause to lose colour. 2
intr. lose freshness or strength; (of flowers etc.) droop,
wither. 3 intr. a (of colour, light, etc.) disappear
gradually; grow pale or dim. b (of sound) grow faint. 4 intr.
(of a feeling etc.) diminish. 5 intr. (foll. by away, out) (of
a person etc.) disappear or depart gradually. 6 tr. (foll. by
in, out) Cinematog. & Broadcasting a cause (a picture) to come
gradually in or out of view on a screen, or to merge into
another shot. b make (the sound) more or less audible. 7 intr.
(of a radio signal) vary irregularly in intensity. 8 intr. (of
a brake) temporarily lose effectiveness. 9 Golf a intr. (of a
ball) deviate from a straight course, esp. in a deliberate
slice. b tr. cause (a ball) to fade. --n. the action or an
instance of fading. Ьdo a fade sl. depart. fade away colloq.
languish, grow thin. fade-in Cinematog. & Broadcasting the
action or an instance of fading in a picture or sound. fade-out
1 colloq. disappearance, death. 2 Cinematog. & Broadcasting the
action or an instance of fading out a picture or sound.
ЬЬfadeless adj. fader n. (in sense 6 of v.). [ME f. OF fader
f. fade dull, insipid prob. ult. f. L fatuus silly + vapidus
fadge n. Austral. & NZ 1 a limp package of wool. 2 a loosely packed
wool bale. [16th-c. Engl. dial.: orig. uncert.]
faeces n.pl. (US feces) waste matter discharged from the bowels.
ЬЬfaecal adj. [L, pl. of faex dregs]
faerie n. (also faery) archaic 1 Fairyland; the fairies esp. as
represented by Spenser (the Faerie Queene). 2 (attrib.)
visionary, fancied. [var. of FAIRY]
Faeroese adj. & n. (also Faroese) --adj. of or relating to the Faeroes,
an island group in the N. Atlantic between Norway and Iceland.
--n. (pl. same) 1 a native of the Faeroes; a person of Faeroese
descent. 2 the Norse language of this people.
faff v. & n. Brit. colloq. --v.intr. (often foll. by about,
around) fuss, dither. --n. a fuss. [imit.]
fag(1) n. & v. --n. 1 esp. Brit. colloq. a piece of drudgery; a
wearisome or unwelcome task. 2 sl. a cigarette. 3 Brit. (at
public schools) a junior pupil who runs errands for a senior.
--v. (fagged, fagging) 1 a tr. (often foll. by out) tire out;
exhaust. b intr. toil. 2 intr. Brit. (in public schools) act
as a fag. 3 tr. Naut. (often foll. by out) fray (the end of a
rope etc.). Ьfag-end sl. 1 Brit. a cigarette-end. 2 an
inferior or useless remnant. [orig. unkn.: cf. FLAG(1)]
fag(2) n. US sl. often offens. a male homosexual. [abbr. of FAGGOT]
faggot n. & v. (US fagot) --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a ball or roll of
seasoned chopped liver etc., baked or fried. 2 a bundle of
sticks or twigs bound together as fuel. 3 a bundle of iron rods
for heat treatment. 4 a bunch of herbs. 5 sl. derog. a an
unpleasant woman. b US often offens. a male homosexual.
--v.tr. (faggoted, faggoting) 1 bind in or make into faggots.
2 join by faggoting (see FAGGOTING). ЬЬfaggoty adj. [ME f. OF
fagot, of uncert. orig.]
faggoting n. 1 embroidery in which threads are fastened together like a
faggot. 2 the joining of materials in a similar manner.
fagot US var. of FAGGOT.
fah n. (also fa) Mus. 1 (in tonic sol-fa) the fourth note of a
major scale. 2 the note F in the fixed-doh system. [ME fa f. L
famuli: see GAMUT]
Fahr. abbr. Fahrenheit.
adj. of or measured on a scale of temperature on which water
freezes at 32ш and boils at 212ш under standard conditions. [G.
Fahrenheit, Ger. physicist d. 1736]
faience n. decorated and glazed earthenware and porcelain, e.g. delft
or majolica. [F fa‹ence f. Faenza in Italy]
fail v. & n. --v. 1 intr. not succeed (failed in persuading; failed
to qualify; tried but failed). 2 a tr. & intr. be unsuccessful
in (an examination, test, interview, etc.); be rejected as a
candidate. b tr. (of a commodity etc.) not pass (a test of
quality). c tr. reject (a candidate etc.); adjudge
unsuccessful. 3 intr. be unable to; neglect to; choose not to
(I fail to see the reason; he failed to appear). 4 tr.
disappoint; let down; not serve when needed. 5 intr. (of
supplies, crops, etc.) be or become lacking or insufficient. 6
intr. become weaker; cease functioning; break down (her health
is failing; the engine has failed). 7 intr. a (of an
enterprise) collapse; come to nothing. b become bankrupt. --n.
a failure in an examination or test. Ьfail-safe reverting to a
safe condition in the event of a breakdown etc. without fail
for certain, whatever happens. [ME f. OF faillir (v.), fail(l)e
(n.) ult. f. L fallere deceive]
failed adj. 1 unsuccessful; not good enough (a failed actor). 2 weak,
deficient; broken down (a failed crop; a failed battery).
failing n. & prep. --n. a fault or shortcoming; a weakness, esp. in
character. --prep. in default of; if not.
failure n. 1 lack of success; failing. 2 an unsuccessful person,
thing, or attempt. 3 non-performance, non-occurrence. 4
breaking down or ceasing to function (heart failure; engine
failure). 5 running short of supply etc. 6 bankruptcy,
collapse. [earlier failer f. AF, = OF faillir FAIL]
fain adj. & adv. archaic --predic.adj. (foll. by to + infin.) 1
willing under the circumstances to. 2 left with no alternative
but to. --adv. gladly (esp. would fain). [OE f‘gen f. Gmc]
fain‚ant n. & adj. --n. an idle or ineffective person. --adj. idle,
inactive. [F f. fait does + n‚ant nothing]
faint adj., v., & n. --adj. 1 indistinct, pale, dim; not clearly
perceived. 2 (of a person) weak or giddy; inclined to faint. 3
slight, remote, inadequate (a faint chance). 4 feeble,
half-hearted (faint praise). 5 timid (a faint heart). 6 (also
feint) (of ruled paper) with inconspicuous lines to guide
writing. --v.intr. 1 lose consciousness. 2 become faint.
--n. a sudden loss of consciousness; fainting. Ьfaint-hearted
cowardly, timid. faint-heartedly in a faint-hearted manner.
faint-heartedness cowardliness, timidity. not have the faintest
colloq. have no idea. ЬЬfaintness n. [ME f. OF, past part. of
faintly adv. 1 very slightly (faintly amused). 2 indistinctly, feebly.
fair(1) adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. 1 just, unbiased, equitable; in
accordance with the rules. 2 blond; light or pale in colour or
complexion. 3 a of (only) moderate quality or amount; average.
b considerable, satisfactory (a fair chance of success). 4 (of
weather) fine and dry; (of the wind) favourable. 5 clean,
clear, unblemished (fair copy). 6 beautiful, attractive. 7
archaic kind, gentle. 8 a specious (fair speeches). b
complimentary (fair words). 9 Austral. & NZ complete,
unquestionable. --adv. 1 in a fair manner (play fair). 2
exactly, completely (was hit fair on the jaw). --n. 1 a fair
thing. 2 archaic a beautiful woman. --v. 1 tr. make (the
surface of a ship, aircraft, etc.) smooth and streamlined. 2
intr. dial. (of the weather) become fair. Ьfair and square
adv. & adj. 1 exactly. 2 straightforward, honest, above-board.
fair crack of the whip see CRACK. a fair deal equitable
treatment. fair dos colloq. fair shares. fair enough colloq.
that is reasonable or acceptable. fair game a thing or person
one may legitimately pursue, exploit, etc. fair-minded just,
impartial. fair-mindedly justly, impartially. fair-mindedness
a sense of justice; impartiality. fair name a good reputation.
fair play reasonable treatment or behaviour. fair rent the
amount of rent which a tenant may reasonably be expected to pay
according to established guidelines. the fair sex women.
fair's fair colloq. all involved should act fairly.
fair-spoken courteous. a fair treat colloq. a very enjoyable
or attractive thing or person. fair-weather friend a friend or
ally who is unreliable in times of difficulty. for fair US sl.
completely. in a fair way to likely to. ЬЬfairish adj.
fairness n. [OE f‘ger f. Gmc]
fair(2) n. 1 a gathering of stalls, amusements, etc., for public (usu.
outdoor) entertainment. 2 a periodical gathering for the sale
of goods, often with entertainments. 3 an exhibition, esp. to
promote particular products. [ME f. OF feire f. LL feria sing.
f. L feriae holiday]
n. an outdoor area where a fair is held.
n. 1 a streamlining structure added to a ship, aircraft,
vehicle, etc. 2 the process of streamlining. [FAIR(1) v. 1 +
n. Brit. archaic a present bought at a fair.
Fair Isle n. (also attrib.) a piece of knitwear knitted in a
characteristic particoloured design. [Fair Isle in the
Shetlands, where the design was first devised]
fairlead n. Naut. a device to guide rope etc., e.g. to prevent cutting
fairly adv. 1 in a fair manner; justly. 2 moderately, acceptably
(fairly good). 3 to a noticeable degree (fairly narrow). 4
utterly, completely (fairly beside himself). 5 actually (fairly
jumped for joy). Ьfairly and squarely = fair and square (see
fairwater n. a structure on a ship etc. assisting its passage through
fairway n. 1 a navigable channel; a regular course or track of a ship.
2 the part of a golf-course between a tee and its green, kept
free of rough grass.
fairy n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a small imaginary being with
magical powers. 2 sl. derog. a male homosexual. --adj. of
fairies, fairy-like, delicate, small. Ьfairy cake a small
individual iced sponge cake. fairy cycle a small bicycle for a
child. fairy godmother a benefactress. fairy lights small
coloured lights esp. for outdoor decoration. fairy ring a ring
of darker grass caused by fungi. fairy story (or tale) 1 a tale
about fairies. 2 an incredible story; a fabrication.
ЬЬfairy-like adj. [ME f. OF faerie f. fae FAY]
fairyland n. 1 the imaginary home of fairies. 2 an enchanted region.
n. a thing that has been done and is past arguing against or
faith n. 1 complete trust or confidence. 2 firm belief, esp. without
logical proof. 3 a a system of religious belief (the Christian
faith). b belief in religious doctrines. c spiritual
apprehension of divine truth apart from proof. d things
believed or to be believed. 4 duty or commitment to fulfil a
trust, promise, etc. (keep faith). 5 (attrib.) concerned with a
supposed ability to cure by faith rather than treatment
(faith-healing). Ьbad faith intent to deceive. good faith
honesty or sincerity of intention. [ME f. AF fed f. OF feid f.
faithful adj. 1 showing faith. 2 (often foll. by to) loyal,
trustworthy, constant. 3 accurate; true to fact (a faithful
account). 4 (the Faithful) the believers in a religion, esp.
Muslims and Christians. ЬЬfaithfulness n.
adv. in a faithful manner. Ьyours faithfully a formula for
ending a business or formal letter.
faithless adj. 1 false, unreliable, disloyal. 2 without religious faith.
ЬЬfaithlessly adv. faithlessness n.
fake(1) n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a thing or person that is not genuine.
2 a trick. --adj. counterfeit; not genuine. --v.tr. 1 make (a
false thing) appear genuine; forge, counterfeit. 2 make a
pretence of having (a feeling, illness, etc.). ЬЬfaker n.
fakery n. [obs. feak, feague thrash f. G fegen sweep, thrash]
fake(2) n. & v. Naut. --n. one round of a coil of rope. --v.tr. coil
(rope). [ME: cf. Scottish faik fold]
fakir n. (also faquir) a Muslim or (rarely) Hindu religious mendicant
or ascetic. [Arab. fakir needy man]
falafel var. of FELAFEL.
Falange n. the Fascist movement in Spain, founded in 1933. ЬЬFalangism
n. Falangist n. [Sp., = PHALANX]
falcate adj. Anat. curved like a sickle. [L falcatus f. falx falcis
falchion n. hist. a broad curved sword with a convex edge. [ME
fauchoun f. OF fauchon ult. f. L falx falcis sickle]
falciform adj. Anat. curved like a sickle. [L falx falcis sickle]
falcon n. 1 any diurnal bird of prey of the family Falconidae, having
long pointed wings, and sometimes trained to hunt small game for
sport. 2 (in falconry) a female falcon (cf. TERCEL). [ME f.
OF faucon f. LL falco -onis, perh. f. L falx scythe or f. Gmc]
falconer n. 1 a keeper and trainer of hawks. 2 a person who hunts with
hawks. [ME f. AF fauconer, OF fauconier (as FALCON)]
falconet n. 1 hist. a light cannon. 2 Zool. a small falcon. [sense 1
f. It. falconetto dimin. of falcone FALCON: sense 2 f. FALCON
falconry n. the breeding and training of hawks; the sport of hawking.
[F fauconnerie (as FALCON)]
falderal n. (also folderol) 1 a gewgaw or trifle. 2 a nonsensical
refrain in a song. [perh. f. falbala trimming on a dress]
faldstool n. 1 a bishop's backless folding chair. 2 Brit. a small
movable desk for kneeling at prayer. [OE f‘ldestol f. med.L
faldistolium f. WG (as FOLD(1), STOOL)]
fall v. & n. --v.intr. (past fell; past part. fallen) 1 a go or
come down freely; descend rapidly from a higher to a lower level
(fell from the top floor; rain was falling). b drop or be
dropped (supplies fell by parachute; the curtain fell). 2 a
(often foll. by over) cease to stand; come suddenly to the
ground from loss of balance etc. b collapse forwards or
downwards esp. of one's own volition (fell into my arms; fell
over the chair). 3 become detached and descend or disappear. 4
take a downward direction: a (of hair, clothing, etc.) hang
down. b (of ground etc.) slope. c (foll. by into) (of a river
etc.) discharge into. 5 a find a lower level; sink lower. b
subside, abate. 6 (of a barometer, thermometer, etc.) show a
lower reading. 7 occur; become apparent or present (darkness
fell). 8 decline, diminish (demand is falling; standards have
fallen). 9 a (of the face) show dismay or disappointment. b
(of the eyes or a glance) look downwards. 10 a lose power or
status (the government will fall). b lose esteem, moral
integrity, etc. 11 commit sin; yield to temptation. 12 take or
have a particular direction or place (his eye fell on me; the
accent falls on the first syllable). 13 a find a place; be
naturally divisible (the subject falls into three parts). b
(foll. by under, within) be classed among. 14 occur at a
specified time (Easter falls early this year). 15 come by
chance or duty (it fell to me to answer). 16 a pass into a
specified condition (fall into decay; fell ill). b become (fall
asleep). 17 a (of a position etc.) be overthrown or captured;
succumb to attack. b be defeated; fail. 18 die (fall in
battle). 19 (foll. by on, upon) a attack. b meet with. c
embrace or embark on avidly. 20 (foll. by to + verbal noun)
begin (fell to wondering). 21 (foll. by to) lapse, revert
(revenues fall to the Crown). --n. 1 the act or an instance of
falling; a sudden rapid descent. 2 that which falls or has
fallen, e.g. snow, rocks, etc. 3 the recorded amount of
rainfall etc. 4 a decline or diminution. 5 overthrow, downfall
(the fall of Rome). 6 a succumbing to temptation. b (the Fall)
the sin of Adam and its consequences, as described in Genesis.
7 (of material, land, light, etc.) a downward direction; a
slope. 8 (also Fall) US autumn. 9 (esp. in pl.) a waterfall,
cataract, or cascade. 10 Mus. a cadence. 11 a a
wrestling-bout; a throw in wrestling which keeps the opponent on
the ground for a specified time. b a controlled act of falling,
esp. as a stunt or in judo etc. 12 a the birth of young of
certain animals. b the number of young born. 13 a rope of a
hoisting-tackle. Ьfall about colloq. be helpless, esp. with
laughter. fall apart (or to pieces) 1 break into pieces. 2 (of
a situation etc.) disintegrate; be reduced to chaos. 3 lose
one's capacity to cope. fall away 1 (of a surface) incline
abruptly. 2 become few or thin; gradually vanish. 3 desert,
revolt; abandon one's principles. fall back retreat. fall-back
(attrib.) emergency, esp. (of wages) the minimum paid when no
work is available. fall back on have recourse to in difficulty.
fall behind 1 be outstripped by one's competitors etc.; lag. 2
be in arrears. fall down (often foll. by on) colloq. fail;
perform poorly; fail to deliver (payment etc.). fall for
colloq. 1 be captivated or deceived by. 2 admire; yield to the
charms or merits of. fall foul of come into conflict with;
quarrel with. fall guy sl. 1 an easy victim. 2 a scapegoat.
fall in 1 a take one's place in military formation. b (as int.)
the order to do this. 2 collapse inwards. falling star a
meteor. fall in love see LOVE. fall into line 1 take one's
place in the ranks. 2 conform or collaborate with others. fall
into place begin to make sense or cohere. fall in with 1 meet
by chance. 2 agree with; accede to; humour. 3 coincide with.
fall off 1 (of demand etc.) decrease, deteriorate. 2 withdraw.
fall-off n. a decrease, deterioration, withdrawal, etc. fall
out 1 quarrel. 2 (of the hair, teeth, etc.) become detached. 3
Mil. come out of formation. 4 result; come to pass; occur.
fall out of gradually discontinue (a habit etc.). fall over
oneself colloq. 1 be eager or competitive. 2 be awkward,
stumble through haste, confusion, etc. fall-pipe a downpipe.
fall short 1 be or become deficient or inadequate. 2 (of a
missile etc.) not reach its target. fall short of fail to reach
or obtain. fall through fail; come to nothing; miscarry. fall
to begin an activity, e.g. eating or working. [OE fallan,
feallan f. Gmc]
fallacy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a mistaken belief, esp. based on unsound
argument. 2 faulty reasoning; misleading or unsound argument.
3 Logic a flaw that vitiates an argument. ЬЬfallacious adj.
fallaciously adv. fallaciousness n. [L fallacia f. fallax
-acis deceiving f. fallere deceive]
fallen past part. of FALL v. --adj. 1 (attrib.) having lost one's
honour or reputation. 2 killed in war. ЬЬfallenness n.
fallfish n. US a N. American freshwater fish like the chub.
fallible adj. 1 capable of making mistakes. 2 liable to be erroneous.
ЬЬfallibility n. fallibly adv. [med.L fallibilis f. L fallere
n. Anat. either of two tubes in female mammals along which ova
travel from the ovaries to the uterus. [Fallopius, Latinized
name of G. Fallopio, It. anatomist d. 1562]
fallout n. 1 radioactive debris caused by a nuclear explosion or
accident. 2 the adverse side-effects of a situation etc.
fallow(1) adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 a (of land) ploughed and harrowed but
left unsown for a year. b uncultivated. 2 (of an idea etc.)
potentially useful but not yet in use. 3 inactive. 4 (of a
sow) not pregnant. --n. fallow or uncultivated land. --v.tr.
break up (land) for sowing or to destroy weeds. ЬЬfallowness n.
[ME f. OE fealh (n.), fealgian (v.)]
fallow(2) adj. of a pale brownish or reddish yellow. Ьfallow deer any
small deer of the genus Dama, having a white-spotted
reddish-brown coat in the summer. [OE falu, fealu f. Gmc]
false adj. & adv. --adj. 1 not according with fact; wrong, incorrect
(a false idea). 2 a spurious, sham, artificial (false gods;
false teeth; false modesty). b acting as such; appearing to be
such, esp. deceptively (a false lining). 3 illusory; not
actually so (a false economy). 4 improperly so called (false
acacia). 5 deceptive. 6 (foll. by to) deceitful, treacherous,
or unfaithful. 7 illegal (false imprisonment). --adv. in a
false manner (esp. play false). Ьfalse acacia see ACACIA.
false alarm an alarm given needlessly. false bedding Geol. =
CROSS-BEDDING. false colours deceitful pretence. false dawn a
transient light in the east before dawn. false gharial see
GHARIAL. false pretences misrepresentations made with intent to
deceive (esp. under false pretences). false rib = floating rib.
false start 1 an invalid or disallowed start in a race. 2 an
unsuccessful attempt to begin something. false step a slip; a
mistake. false topaz = CITRINE. ЬЬfalsely adv. falseness n.
falsity n. (pl. -ies). [OE fals and OF fals, faus f. L falsus
past part. of fallere deceive]
falsehood n. 1 the state of being false, esp. untrue. 2 a false or
untrue thing. 3 a the act of lying. b a lie or lies.
falsetto n. (pl. -os) 1 a method of voice production used by male
singers, esp. tenors, to sing notes higher than their normal
range. 2 a singer using this method. [It., dimin. of falso
falsework n. a temporary framework or support used during building to
form arches etc.
falsies n.pl. colloq. padded material to increase the apparent size of
falsify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 fraudulently alter or make false (a
document, evidence, etc.). 2 misrepresent. 3 make wrong;
pervert. 4 show to be false. 5 disappoint (a hope, fear,
etc.). ЬЬfalsifiable adj. falsifiability n. falsification n.
[ME f. F falsifier or med.L falsificare f. L falsificus making
false f. falsus false]
falter v. 1 intr. stumble, stagger; go unsteadily. 2 intr. waver;
lose courage. 3 tr. & intr. stammer; speak hesitatingly.
ЬЬfalterer n. falteringly adv. [ME: orig. uncert.]
fame n. 1 renown; the state of being famous. 2 reputation. 3
archaic public report; rumour. Ьhouse of ill fame archaic a
brothel. ill fame disrepute. [ME f. OF f. L fama]
famed adj. 1 (foll. by for) famous; much spoken of (famed for its
good food). 2 archaic currently reported.
familial adj. of, occurring in, or characteristic of a family or its
members. [F f. L familia FAMILY]
familiar adj. & n. --adj. 1 a (often foll. by to) well known; no longer
novel. b common, usual; often encountered or experienced. 2
(foll. by with) knowing a thing well or in detail (am familiar
with all the problems). 3 (often foll. by with) a well
acquainted (with a person); in close friendship; intimate. b
sexually intimate. 4 excessively informal; impertinent. 5
unceremonious, informal. --n. 1 a close friend or associate.
2 RC Ch. a person rendering certain services in a pope's or
bishop's household. 3 (in full familiar spirit) a demon
supposedly attending and obeying a witch etc. ЬЬfamiliarly adv.
[ME f. OF familier f. L familiaris (as FAMILY)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being well known (the familiarity
of the scene). 2 (foll. by with) close acquaintance. 3 a close
relationship. 4 a sexual intimacy. b (in pl.) acts of physical
intimacy. 5 familiar or informal behaviour, esp. excessively
so. [ME f. OF familiarit‚ f. L familiaritas -tatis (as
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 (foll. by with) make (a person) conversant
or well acquainted. 2 make (a thing) well known.
ЬЬfamiliarization n. [F familiariser f. familiaire (as
famille n. a Chinese enamelled porcelain with a predominant colour:
(famille jaune) yellow, (famille noire) black, (famille rose)
red, (famille verte) green. [[F, = family]]
family n. (pl. -ies) 1 a set of parents and children, or of
relations, living together or not. 2 a the members of a
household, esp. parents and their children. b a person's
children. c (attrib.) serving the needs of families (family
butcher). 3 a all the descendants of a common ancestor. b a
race or group of peoples from a common stock. 4 all the
languages ultimately derived from a particular early language,
regarded as a group. 5 a brotherhood of persons or nations
united by political or religious ties. 6 a group of objects
distinguished by common features. 7 Math. a group of curves
etc. obtained by varying one quantity. 8 Biol. a group of
related genera of organisms within an order in taxonomic
classification. Ьfamily allowance Brit. a former name for
child benefit. family credit (or income supplement) (in the UK)
a regular payment by the State to a family with an income below
a certain level. Family Division (in the UK) a division of the
High Court dealing with adoption, divorce, etc. family man a
man having a wife and children, esp. one fond of family life.
family name a surname. family planning birth control. family
tree a chart showing relationships and lines of descent. in the
family way colloq. pregnant. [ME f. L familia household f.
famine n. 1 a extreme scarcity of food. b a shortage of something
specified (water famine). 2 archaic hunger, starvation. [ME f.
OF f. faim f. L fames hunger]
famish v.tr. & intr. (usu. in passive) 1 reduce or be reduced to
extreme hunger. 2 colloq. feel very hungry. [ME f. obs. fame
f. OF afamer ult. f. L fames hunger]
famous adj. 1 (often foll. by for) celebrated; well known. 2 colloq.
excellent. ЬЬfamousness n. [ME f. AF, OF fameus f. L famosus
f. fama fame]
famously adv. 1 colloq. excellently (got on famously). 2 notably.
famulus n. (pl. famuli) hist. an attendant on a magician or scholar.
[L, = servant]
fan(1) n. & v. --n. 1 an apparatus, usu. with rotating blades, giving
a current of air for ventilation etc. 2 a device, usu. folding
and forming a semicircle when spread out, for agitating the air
to cool oneself. 3 anything spread out like a fan, e.g. a
bird's tail or kind of ornamental vaulting (fan tracery). 4 a
device for winnowing grain. 5 a fan-shaped deposit of alluvium
esp. where a stream begins to descend a gentler slope. 6 a
small sail for keeping the head of a windmill towards the wind.
--v. (fanned, fanning) 1 tr. a blow a current of air on, with
or as with a fan. b agitate (the air) with a fan. 2 tr. (of a
breeze) blow gently on; cool. 3 tr. a winnow (grain). b
winnow away (chaff). 4 tr. sweep away by or as by the wind from
a fan. 5 intr. & tr. (usu. foll. by out) spread out in the
shape of a fan. Ьfan belt a belt that drives a fan to cool the
radiator in a motor vehicle. fan dance a dance in which the
dancer is (apparently) nude and partly concealed by fans. fan
heater an electric heater in which a fan drives air over an
element. fan-jet = TURBOFAN. fan palm a palm-tree with
fan-shaped leaves. ЬЬfanlike adj. fanner n. [OE fann (in
sense 4 of n.) f. L vannus winnowing-fan]
fan(2) n. a devotee of a particular activity, performer, etc. (film
fan; football fan). Ьfan club an organized group of devotees.
fan mail letters from fans. ЬЬfandom n. [abbr. of FANATIC]
fanatic n. & adj. --n. a person filled with excessive and often
misguided enthusiasm for something. --adj. excessively
enthusiastic. ЬЬfanatical adj. fanatically adv. fanaticism n.
fanaticize v.intr. & tr. (also -ise). [F fanatique or L
fanaticus f. fanum temple (orig. in religious sense)]
fancier n. a connoisseur or follower of some activity or thing
fanciful adj. 1 existing only in the imagination or fancy. 2 indulging
in fancies; whimsical, capricious. 3 fantastically designed,
ornamented, etc.; odd-looking. ЬЬfancifully adv. fancifulness
fancy n., adj., & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an individual taste or
inclination (take a fancy to). 2 a caprice or whim. 3 a thing
favoured, e.g. a horse to win a race. 4 an arbitrary
supposition. 5 a the faculty of using imagination or of
inventing imagery. b a mental image. 6 delusion; unfounded
belief. 7 (prec. by the) those who have a certain hobby;
fanciers, esp. patrons of boxing. --adj. (usu. attrib.)
(fancier, fanciest) 1 ornamental; not plain. 2 capricious,
whimsical, extravagant (at a fancy price). 3 based on
imagination, not fact. 4 US (of foods etc.) above average
quality. 5 (of flowers etc.) particoloured. 6 (of an animal)
bred for particular points of beauty etc. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied)
1 (foll. by that + clause) be inclined to suppose; rather think.
2 Brit. colloq. feel a desire for (do you fancy a drink?). 3
Brit. colloq. find sexually attractive. 4 colloq. have an
unduly high opinion of (oneself, one's ability, etc.). 5 (in
imper.) an exclamation of surprise (fancy their doing that!). 6
picture to oneself; conceive, imagine. Ьcatch (or take) the
fancy of please; appeal to. fancy dress fanciful costume, esp.
for masquerading as a different person or as an animal etc. at a
party. fancy-free without (esp. emotional) commitments. fancy
goods ornamental novelties etc. fancy man sl. derog. 1 a
woman's lover. 2 a pimp. fancy woman sl. derog. a mistress.
fancy-work ornamental sewing etc. ЬЬfanciable adj. (in sense 3
of v.). fancily adv. fanciness n. [contr. of FANTASY]
fandangle n. 1 a fantastic ornament. 2 nonsense, tomfoolery. [perh. f.
FANDANGO after newfangle]
fandango n. (pl. -oes or -os) 1 a a lively Spanish dance for two. b
the music for this. 2 nonsense, tomfoolery. [Sp.: orig. unkn.]
fane n. poet. = TEMPLE(1). [ME f. L fanum]
fanfare n. 1 a short showy or ceremonious sounding of trumpets, bugles,
etc. 2 an elaborate welcome. [F, imit.]
n. 1 arrogant talk; brag. 2 a fanfare. [F fanfaronnade f.
fanfaron braggart (as FANFARE)]
fang n. 1 a canine tooth, esp. of a dog or wolf. 2 the tooth of a
venomous snake, by which poison is injected. 3 the root of a
tooth or its prong. 4 Brit. colloq. a person's tooth.
ЬЬfanged adj. (also in comb.). fangless adj. [OE f. ON fang f.
a Gmc root = to catch]
fanlight n. a small, orig. semicircular window over a door or another
fanny n. (pl. -ies) 1 Brit. coarse sl. the female genitals. 2 US
sl. the buttocks. °Usually considered a taboo word in Brit.
use. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. Brit. sl. 1 (also sweet Fanny Adams) nothing at all.
°Sometimes understood as a euphemism for fuck all. 2 Naut. a
tinned meat. b stew. [name of a murder victim c.1870]
fantail n. 1 a pigeon with a broad-shaped tail. 2 any flycatcher of
the genus Rhipidura, with a fan-shaped tail. 3 a fan-shaped
tail or end. 4 the fan of a windmill. 5 the projecting part of
a boat's stern. ЬЬfantailed adj.
fan-tan n. 1 a Chinese gambling game in which players try to guess the
remainder after the banker has divided a number of hidden
objects into four groups. 2 a card-game in which players build
on sequences of sevens. [Chin., = repeated divisions]
fantasia n. a musical or other composition free in form and often in
improvisatory style, or which is based on several familiar
tunes. [It., = FANTASY]
fantasize v. (also phantasize, -ise) 1 intr. have a fantasy or fanciful
vision. 2 tr. imagine; create a fantasy about. ЬЬfantasist n.
fantast n. (also phantast) a visionary; a dreamer. [med.L f. Gk
phantastes boaster f. phantazomai make a show f. phaino show]
fantastic adj. (also fantastical) 1 colloq. excellent, extraordinary. 2
extravagantly fanciful; capricious, eccentric. 3 grotesque or
quaint in design etc. ЬЬfantasticality n. fantastically adv.
[ME f. OF fantastique f. med.L fantasticus f. LL phantasticus f.
Gk phantastikos (as FANTAST)]
v.tr. make fantastic. ЬЬfantastication n.
fantasy n. & v. (also phantasy) --n. (pl. -ies) 1 the faculty of
inventing images, esp. extravagant or visionary ones. 2 a
fanciful mental image; a day-dream. 3 a whimsical speculation.
4 a fantastic invention or composition; a fantasia. --v.tr.
(-ies, -ied) imagine in a visionary manner. [ME f. OF fantasie
f. L phantasia appearance f. Gk (as FANTAST)]
Fanti n. (also Fante) (pl. same or Fantis) 1 a member of a Black
tribe native to Ghana. 2 the language of this tribe. [native
FAO abbr. Food and Agriculture Organization (of the United
far adv. & adj. (further, furthest or farther, farthest) --adv. 1
at or to or by a great distance (far away; far off; far out). 2
a long way (off) in space or time (are you travelling far?; we
talked far into the night). 3 to a great extent or degree; by
much (far better; far the best; far too early). --adj. 1
situated at or extending over a great distance in space or time;
remote (a far cry; a far country). 2 more distant (the far end
of the hall). Ьas far as 1 to the distance of (a place). 2 to
the extent that (travel as far as you like). by far by a great
amount. far and away by a very large amount. far and near
everywhere. far and wide over a large area. far-away 1 remote;
long-past. 2 (of a look) dreamy. 3 (of a voice) sounding as if
from a distance. far be it from me (foll. by to + infin.) I am
reluctant to (esp. express criticism etc.). far cry a long way.
the Far East China, Japan, and other countries of E. Asia. Far
Eastern of or in the Far East. far-fetched (of an explanation
etc.) strained, unconvincing. far-flung extending far; widely
distributed. far from very different from being; tending to the
opposite of (the problem is far from being solved). far gone 1
advanced in time. 2 colloq. in an advanced state of illness,
drunkenness, etc. far-off remote. far-out 1 distant. 2
avant-garde, unconventional, excellent. far-reaching 1 widely
applicable. 2 having important consequences or implications.
far-seeing shrewd in judgement; prescient. go far 1 achieve
much. 2 contribute greatly. 3 be adequate. go too far go
beyond the limits of what is reasonable, polite, etc. how far
to what extent. so far 1 to such an extent or distance; to this
point. 2 until now. so (or in so) far as (or that) to the
extent that. so far so good progress has been satisfactory up
to now. ЬЬfarness n. [OE feorr]
farad n. Electr. the SI unit of capacitance, such that one coulomb
of charge causes a potential difference of one volt. °Abbr.: F.
[shortening of FARADAY]
faraday n. (also Faraday's constant) Electr. the quantity of electric
charge carried by one mole of electrons. °Abbr.: F. ЬFaraday
cage Electr. an earthed metal screen used for excluding
electrostatic influences. Faraday effect Physics the rotation
of the plane of polarization of electromagnetic waves in certain
substances in a magnetic field. [M. Faraday, Engl. physicist
farandole n. 1 a lively Proven‡al dance. 2 the music for this. [F f.
mod. Prov. farandoulo]
farce n. 1 a a coarsely comic dramatic work based on ludicrously
improbable events. b this branch of drama. 2 absurdly futile
proceedings; pretence, mockery. [F, orig. = stuffing, f. OF
farsir f. L farcire to stuff, used metaph. of interludes etc.]
farceur n. 1 a joker or wag. 2 an actor or writer of farces. [F f.
farcer act farces]
farcical adj. 1 extremely ludicrous or futile. 2 of or like farce.
ЬЬfarcicality n. farcically adv.
farcy n. glanders with inflammation of the lymph vessels. Ьfarcy bud
(or button) a small lymphatic tumour as a result of farcy. [ME
f. earlier & OF farcin f. LL farciminum f. farcire to stuff]
farded adj. archaic (of a face etc.) painted with cosmetics. [past
part. of obs. fard f. OF farder]
fare n. & v. --n. 1 a the price a passenger has to pay to be
conveyed by bus, train, etc. b a passenger paying to travel in
a public vehicle. 2 a range of food provided by a restaurant
etc. --v.intr. literary 1 progress; get on (how did you
fare?). 2 happen; turn out. 3 journey, go, travel.
Ьfare-stage Brit. 1 a section of a bus etc. route for which a
fixed fare is charged. 2 a stop marking this. [OE f‘r, faru
journeying, faran (v.), f. Gmc]
farewell int. & n. --int. goodbye, adieu. --n. 1 leave-taking,
departure (also attrib. : a farewell kiss). 2 parting good
wishes. [ME f. imper. of FARE + WELL(1)]
farina n. 1 the flour or meal of cereal, nuts, or starchy roots. 2 a
powdery substance. 3 Brit. starch. ЬЬfarinaceous adj. [L f.
farl n. Sc. a thin cake, orig. quadrant-shaped, of oatmeal or
flour. [obs. fardel quarter (as FOURTH, DEAL(1))]
farm n. & v. --n. 1 an area of land and its buildings used under
one management for growing crops, rearing animals, etc. 2 a
place or establishment for breeding a particular type of animal,
growing fruit, etc. (trout-farm; mink-farm). 3 = FARMHOUSE. 4
a place for the storage of oil or oil products. 5 = sewage
farm. --v. 1 a tr. use (land) for growing crops, rearing
animals, etc. b intr. be a farmer; work on a farm. 2 tr. breed
(fish etc.) commercially. 3 tr. (often foll. by out) a delegate
or subcontract (work) to others. b contract (the collection of
taxes) to another for a fee. c arrange for (a person, esp. a
child) to be looked after by another, with payment. 4 tr. let
the labour of (a person) for hire. 5 tr. contract to maintain
and care for (a person, esp. a child) for a fixed sum.
Ьfarm-hand a worker on a farm. ЬЬfarmable adj. farming n. [ME
f. OF ferme f. med.L firma fixed payment f. L firmus FIRM(1):
orig. applied only to leased land]
farmer n. 1 a person who cultivates a farm. 2 a person to whom the
collection of taxes is contracted for a fee. 3 a person who
looks after children for payment. [ME f. AF fermer, OF fermier
f. med.L firmarius, firmator f. firma FIRM(2)]
farmhouse n. a dwelling-place (esp. the main one) attached to a farm.
farmstead n. a farm and its buildings regarded as a unit.
farmyard n. a yard or enclosure attached to a farmhouse.
faro n. a gambling card-game in which bets are placed on the order
of appearance of the cards. [F pharaon PHARAOH (said to have
been the name of the king of hearts)]
Faroese var. of FAEROESE.
farouche adj. sullen, shy. [F f. OF faroche, forache f. med.L
forasticus f. L foras out of doors]
farrago n. (pl. -os or US -oes) a medley or hotchpotch. ЬЬfarraginous
adj. [L farrago farraginis mixed fodder f. far corn]
farrier n. Brit. 1 a smith who shoes horses. 2 a horse-doctor.
ЬЬfarriery n. [OF ferrier f. L ferrarius f. ferrum iron,
farrow n. & v. --n. 1 a litter of pigs. 2 the birth of a litter.
--v.tr. (also absol.) (of a sow) produce (pigs). [OE fearh,
f‘rh pig f. WG]
farruca n. a type of flamenco dance. [Sp.]
Farsi n. the modern Persian language. [Pers.: cf. PARSEE]
adj. 1 having foresight, prudent. 2 esp. US = LONG-SIGHTED.
ЬЬfar-sightedly adv. far-sightedness n.
fart v. & n. coarse sl. --v.intr. 1 emit wind from the anus. 2
(foll. by about, around) behave foolishly; waste time. --n. 1
an emission of wind from the anus. 2 an unpleasant person.
°Usually considered a taboo word. [OE (recorded in feorting
verbal noun) f. Gmc]
farther var. of FURTHER (esp. with ref. to physical distance).
farthest var. of FURTHEST (esp. with ref. to physical distance).
farthing n. 1 (in the UK) a coin and monetary unit formerly worth a
quarter of an old penny. °Withdrawn in 1961. 2 the least
possible amount (it doesn't matter a farthing). [OE feorthing
f. feortha fourth]
n. hist. a hooped petticoat or a stiff curved roll to extend a
woman's skirt. [earlier vardingale, verd- f. F verdugale f. Sp.
verdugado f. verdugo rod]
fartlek n. Athletics a method of training for middle- and long-distance
running, mixing fast with slow work. [Sw. f. fart speed + lek
fasces n.pl. Rom.Hist. 1 a bundle of rods with a projecting
axe-blade, carried by a lictor as a symbol of a magistrate's
power. 2 hist. (in Fascist Italy) emblems of authority. [L,
pl. of fascis bundle]
fascia n. (also facia) 1 Brit. a the instrument panel of a motor
vehicle. b any similar panel or plate for operating machinery.
2 the upper part of a shop-front with the proprietor's name etc.
3 Archit. a a long flat surface between mouldings on the
architrave in classical architecture. b a flat surface, usu. of
wood, covering the ends of rafters. 4 a stripe or band. 5
Anat. a thin sheath of fibrous tissue. ЬЬfascial adj. [L, =
band, door-frame, etc.]
fasciate adj. (also fasciated) 1 Bot. (of contiguous parts) compressed
or growing into one. 2 striped or banded. ЬЬfasciation n. [L
fasciatus past part. of fasciare swathe (as FASCIA)]
fascicle n. 1 (also fascicule) a separately published instalment of a
book, usu. not complete in itself. 2 a bunch or bundle. 3
(also fasciculus) Anat. a bundle of fibres. ЬЬfascicled adj.
fascicular adj. fasciculate adj. fasciculation n. [L
fasciculus bundle, dimin. of fascis: see FASCES]
fascinate v.tr. 1 capture the interest of; attract irresistibly. 2 (esp.
of a snake) paralyse (a victim) with fear. ЬЬfascinated adj.
fascinating adj. fascinatingly adv. fascination n. fascinator
n. [L fascinare f. fascinum spell]
fascine n. a long faggot used for engineering purposes and (esp. in
war) for lining trenches, filling ditches, etc. [F f. L fascina
f. fascis bundle: see FASCES]
Fascism n. 1 the totalitarian principles and organization of the
extreme right-wing nationalist movement in Italy (1922-43). 2
(also fascism) a any similar nationalist and authoritarian
movement. b disp. any system of extreme right-wing or
authoritarian views. ЬЬFascist n. & adj. (also fascist).
Fascistic adj. (also fascistic). [It. fascismo f. fascio
political group f. L fascis bundle: see FASCES]
fashion n. & v. --n. 1 the current popular custom or style, esp. in
dress or social conduct. 2 a manner or style of doing something
(in a peculiar fashion). 3 (in comb.) in a specified manner
(walk crab-fashion). 4 fashionable society (a woman of
fashion). --v.tr. (often foll. by into) make into a particular
or the required form. Ьafter (or in) a fashion as well as is
practicable, though not satisfactorily. in (or out of) fashion
fashionable (or not fashionable) at the time in question.
ЬЬfashioner n. [ME f. AF fasun, OF fa‡on, f. L factio -onis f.
facere fact- do, make]
adj. 1 following, suited to, or influenced by the current
fashion. 2 characteristic of or favoured by those who are
leaders of social fashion. ЬЬfashionableness n. fashionably
fast(1) adj. & adv. --adj. 1 rapid, quick-moving. 2 capable of high
speed (a fast car). 3 enabling or causing or intended for high
speed (a fast road; fast lane). 4 (of a clock etc.) showing a
time ahead of the correct time. 5 (of a pitch or ground etc. in
a sport) likely to make the ball bounce or run quickly. 6 a (of
a photographic film) needing only a short exposure. b (of a
lens) having a large aperture. 7 a firmly fixed or attached. b
secure; firmly established (a fast friendship). 8 (of a colour)
not fading in light or when washed. 9 (of a person) immoral,
dissipated. --adv. 1 quickly; in quick succession. 2 firmly,
fixedly, tightly, securely (stand fast; eyes fast shut). 3
soundly, completely (fast asleep). Ьfast breeder (or fast
breeder reactor) a reactor using fast neutrons to produce the
same fissile material as it uses. fast buck see BUCK(2). fast
food food that can be prepared and served quickly and easily,
esp. in a snack bar or restaurant. fast neutron a neutron with
high kinetic energy, esp. not slowed by a moderator etc. fast
reactor a nuclear reactor using mainly fast neutrons. fast-talk
US colloq. persuade by rapid or deceitful talk. fast-wind wind
(magnetic tape) rapidly backwards or forwards. fast worker
colloq. a person who achieves quick results, esp. in love
affairs. pull a fast one colloq. try to deceive or gain an
unfair advantage. [OE f‘st f. Gmc]
fast(2) v. & n. --v.intr. abstain from all or some kinds of food or
drink, esp. as a religious observance. --n. an act or period of
fasting. ЬЬfaster n. [ON fasta f. Gmc (as FAST(1))]
fastback n. 1 a motor car with the rear sloping continuously down to the
bumper. 2 such a rear.
fasten v. 1 tr. make or become fixed or secure. 2 tr. (foll. by in,
up) lock securely; shut in. 3 tr. a (foll. by on, upon) direct
(a look, thoughts, etc.) fixedly or intently. b focus or direct
the attention fixedly upon (fastened him with her eyes). 4 tr.
(foll. by on, upon) fix (a designation or imputation etc.). 5
intr. (foll. by on, upon) a take hold of. b single out.
ЬЬfastener n. [OE f‘stnian f. Gmc]
fastening n. a device that fastens something; a fastener.
adj. 1 very careful in matters of choice or taste; fussy. 2
easily disgusted; squeamish. ЬЬfastidiously adv.
fastidiousness n. [ME f. L fastidiosus f. fastidium loathing]
adj. Bot. 1 having a conical or tapering outline. 2 having
parallel upright branches. [L fastigium gable-top]
fastness n. 1 a stronghold or fortress. 2 the state of being secure.
[OE f‘stnes (as FAST(1))]
fat n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a natural oily or greasy substance
occurring esp. in animal bodies. 2 the part of anything
containing this. 3 excessive presence of fat in a person or
animal; corpulence. 4 Chem. any of a group of natural esters of
glycerol and various fatty acids existing as solids at room
temperature. --adj. (fatter, fattest) 1 (of a person or
animal) having excessive fat; corpulent. 2 (of an animal) made
plump for slaughter; fatted. 3 containing much fat. 4 greasy,
oily, unctuous. 5 (of land or resources) fertile, rich;
yielding abundantly. 6 a thick, substantial in content (a fat
book). b substantial as an asset or opportunity (a fat cheque;
was given a fat part in the play). 7 a (of coal) bituminous. b
(of clay etc.) sticky. 8 colloq. iron. very little; not much
(a fat chance; a fat lot). --v.tr. & intr. (fatted, fatting)
make or become fat. Ьfat cat sl. 1 US a wealthy person, esp.
as a benefactor. 2 Austral. a highly paid executive or
official. fat-head colloq. a stupid person. fat-headed
stupid. fat-headedness stupidity. fat hen the white goosefoot,
Chenopodium album. the fat is in the fire trouble is imminent.
kill the fatted calf celebrate, esp. at a prodigal's return
(Luke 15). live off (or on) the fat of the land have the best
of everything. ЬЬfatless adj. fatly adv. fatness n. fattish
adj. [OE f‘t (adj.), f‘ttian (v.) f. Gmc]
fatal adj. 1 causing or ending in death (a fatal accident). 2 (often
foll. by to) destructive; ruinous; ending in disaster (was fatal
to their chances; made a fatal mistake). 3 fateful, decisive.
ЬЬfatally adv. fatalness n. [ME f. OF fatal or L fatalis (as
fatalism n. 1 the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore
inevitable. 2 a submissive attitude to events as being
inevitable. ЬЬfatalist n. fatalistic adj. fatalistically adv.
fatality n. (pl. -ies) 1 a an occurrence of death by accident or in war
etc. b a person killed in this way. 2 a fatal influence. 3 a
predestined liability to disaster. 4 subjection to or the
supremacy of fate. [F fatalit‚ or LL fatalitas f. L fatalis
fate n. & v. --n. 1 a power regarded as predetermining events
unalterably. 2 a the future regarded as determined by such a
power. b an individual's appointed lot. c the ultimate
condition or end of a person or thing (that sealed our fate). 3
death, destruction. 4 (usu. Fate) a goddess of destiny, esp.
one of three Greek or Scandinavian goddesses. --v.tr. 1 (usu.
in passive) preordain (was fated to win). 2 (as fated adj.)
doomed to destruction. Ьfate worse than death see DEATH. [ME
f. It. fato & L fatum that which is spoken, f. fari speak]
fateful adj. 1 important, decisive; having far-reaching consequences.
2 controlled as if by fate. 3 causing or likely to cause
disaster. 4 prophetic. ЬЬfatefully adv. fatefulness n.
father n. & v. --n. 1 a a man in relation to a child or children born
from his fertilization of an ovum. b (in full adoptive father)
a man who has continuous care of a child, esp. by adoption. 2
any male animal in relation to its offspring. 3 (usu. in pl.) a
progenitor or forefather. 4 an originator, designer, or early
leader. 5 a person who deserves special respect (the father of
his country). 6 (Fathers or Fathers of the Church) early
Christian theologians whose writings are regarded as especially
authoritative. 7 (also Father) a (often as a title or form of
address) a priest, esp. of a religious order. b a religious
leader. 8 (the Father) (in Christian belief) the first person
of the Trinity. 9 (Father) a venerable person, esp. as a title
in personifications (Father Time). 10 the oldest member or
doyen (Father of the House). 11 (usu. in pl.) the leading men
or elders in a city or State (city fathers). --v.tr. 1 beget;
be the father of. 2 behave as a father towards. 3 originate (a
scheme etc.). 4 appear as or admit that one is the father or
originator of. 5 (foll. by on) assign the paternity of (a
child, book) to a person. Ьfather-figure an older man who is
respected like a father; a trusted leader. father-in-law (pl.
fathers-in-law) the father of one's husband or wife. father of
chapel see CHAPEL. Father's Day a day (usu. the third Sunday in
June) established for a special tribute to fathers. Father Time
see TIME. ЬЬfatherhood n. fatherless adj. fatherlessness n.
fatherlike adj. & adv. fathership n. [OE f‘der with many Gmc
cognates: rel. to L pater, Gk pater]
n. one's native country.
fatherly adj. 1 like or characteristic of a father in affection, care,
etc. (fatherly concern). 2 of or proper to a father.
fathom n. & v. --n. (pl. often fathom when prec. by a number) 1 a
measure of six feet, esp. used in taking depth soundings. 2
Brit. a quantity of wood six feet square in cross-section.
--v.tr. 1 grasp or comprehend (a problem or difficulty). 2
measure the depth of (water) with a sounding-line. ЬЬfathomable
adj. fathomless adj. [OE f‘thm outstretched arms f. Gmc]
n. a type of echo-sounder.
fatigue n. & v. --n. 1 extreme tiredness after exertion. 2 weakness
in materials, esp. metal, caused by repeated variations of
stress. 3 a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle, organ,
etc., after prolonged activity. 4 an activity that causes
fatigue. 5 a a non-military duty in the army, often as a
punishment. b (in full fatigue-party) a group of soldiers
ordered to do fatigues. --v.tr. (fatigues, fatigued,
fatiguing) cause fatigue in; tire, exhaust. ЬЬfatiguable adj.
(also fatigable). fatiguability n. (also fatigability).
fatigueless adj. [F fatigue, fatiguer f. L fatigare tire out]
Fatiha n. (also Fatihah) the short first sura of the Koran, used by
Muslims as a prayer. [Arab. fatiha opening f. fataha to open]
Fatimid n. (also Fatimite) 1 a descendant of Fatima, the daughter of
Muhammad. 2 a member of a dynasty ruling in N. Africa in the
fatling n. a young fatted animal.
fatso n. (pl. -oes) sl. joc. or offens. a fat person. [prob. f.
FAT or the designation Fats]
fatstock n. livestock fattened for slaughter.
fatten v. 1 tr. & intr. (esp. with ref. to meat-producing animals)
make or become fat. 2 tr. enrich (soil).
fatty adj. & n. --adj. (fattier, fattiest) 1 like fat; oily, greasy.
2 consisting of or containing fat; adipose. 3 marked by
abnormal deposition of fat, esp. in fatty degeneration. --n.
(pl. -ies) colloq. a fat person (esp. as a nickname). Ьfatty
acid Chem. any of a class of organic compounds consisting of a
hydrocarbon chain and a terminal carboxyl group, esp. those
occurring as constituents of lipids. fatty oil = fixed oil.
ЬЬfattily adv. fattiness n.
fatuous adj. vacantly silly; purposeless, idiotic. ЬЬfatuity n. (pl.
-ies). fatuously adv. fatuousness n. [L fatuus foolish]
fatwa n. (in Islamic countries) an authoritative ruling on a
religious matter. [Arab. fatwa]
faubourg n. a suburb, esp. of Paris. [F: cf. med.L falsus burgus not
the city proper]
fauces n.pl. Anat. a cavity at the back of the mouth. ЬЬfaucial adj.
[L, = throat]
faucet n. esp. US a tap. °In Brit. use only in special applications.
[ME f. OF fausset vent-peg f. Prov. falset f. falsar to bore]
fault n. & v. --n. 1 a defect or imperfection of character or of
structure, appearance, etc. 2 a break or other defect in an
electric circuit. 3 a transgression, offence, or thing wrongly
done. 4 a Tennis etc. a service of the ball not in accordance
with the rules. b (in showjumping) a penalty for an error. 5
responsibility for wrongdoing, error, etc. (it will be your own
fault). 6 a defect regarded as the cause of something wrong
(the fault lies in the teaching methods). 7 Geol. an extended
break in the continuity of strata or a vein. --v. 1 tr. find
fault with; blame. 2 tr. declare to be faulty. 3 tr. Geol.
break the continuity of (strata or a vein). 4 intr. commit a
fault. 5 intr. Geol. show a fault. Ьat fault guilty; to
blame. fault-finder a person given to continually finding
fault. fault-finding continual criticism. find fault (often
foll. by with) make an adverse criticism; complain. to a fault
(usu. of a commendable quality etc.) excessively (generous to a
fault). [ME faut(e) f. OF ult. f. L fallere FAIL]
faultless adj. without fault; free from defect or error. ЬЬfaultlessly
adv. faultlessness n.
faulty (faultier, faultiest) adj. having faults; imperfect, defective.
ЬЬfaultily adv. faultiness n.
faun n. a Latin rural deity with a human face and torso and a goat's
horns, legs, and tail. [ME f. OF faune or L Faunus, a Latin god
identified with Gk Pan]
fauna n. (pl. faunae or faunas) 1 the animal life of a region or
geological period (cf. FLORA). 2 a treatise on or list of
this. ЬЬfaunal adj. faunist n. faunistic adj. [mod.L f. the
name of a rural goddess, sister of Faunus: see FAUN]
faute de mieux
adv. for want of a better alternative. [F]
fauteuil n. a kind of wooden seat in the form of an armchair with open
sides and upholstered arms. [F f. OF faudestuel, faldestoel
fauve n. a person who practises or favours fauvism.
fauvism n. a style of painting with vivid use of colour. ЬЬfauvist n.
[F fauve wild beast, applied to painters of the school of
faux pas n. (pl. same) 1 a tactless mistake; a blunder. 2 a social
indiscretion. [F, = false step]
fave n. & adj. sl. = FAVOURITE (esp. in show business). [abbr.]
favela n. a Brazilian shack, slum, or shanty town. [Port.]
favour n. & v. (US favor) --n. 1 an act of kindness beyond what is
due or usual (did it as a favour). 2 esteem, liking, approval,
goodwill; friendly regard (gained their favour; look with favour
on). 3 partiality; too lenient or generous treatment. 4 aid,
support (under favour of night). 5 a thing given or worn as a
mark of favour or support, e.g. a badge or a knot of ribbons.
6 archaic leave, pardon (by your favour). 7 Commerce archaic a
letter (your favour of yesterday). --v.tr. 1 regard or treat
with favour or partiality. 2 give support or approval to;
promote, prefer. 3 a be to the advantage of (a person). b
facilitate (a process etc.). 4 tend to confirm (an idea or
theory). 5 (foll. by with) oblige (favour me with a reply). 6
(as favoured adj.) having special advantages. 7 colloq.
resemble in features. Ьin favour 1 meeting with approval. 2
(foll. by of) a in support of. b to the advantage of. out of
favour lacking approval. ЬЬfavourer n. [ME f. OF f. L favor
-oris f. favere show kindness to]
adj. (US favorable) 1 a well-disposed; propitious. b
commendatory, approving. 2 giving consent (a favourable
answer). 3 promising, auspicious, satisfactory (a favourable
aspect). 4 (often foll. by to) helpful, suitable.
ЬЬfavourableness n. favourably adv. [ME f. OF favorable f. L
favorabilis (as FAVOUR)]
favourite adj. & n. (US favorite) --adj. preferred to all others (my
favourite book). --n. 1 a specially favoured person. 2 Sport
a competitor thought most likely to win. Ьfavourite son US a
person preferred as the presidential candidate by delegates from
the candidate's home State. [obs. F favorit f. It. favorito
past part. of favorire favour]
n. (US favoritism) the unfair favouring of one person or group
at the expense of another.
fawn(1) n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a young deer in its first year. 2 a
light yellowish brown. --adj. fawn-coloured. --v.tr. (also
absol.) (of a deer) bring forth (young). Ьin fawn (of a deer)
pregnant. [ME f. OF faon etc. ult. f. L fetus offspring: cf.
fawn(2) v.intr. 1 (often foll. by on, upon) (of a person) behave
servilely, cringe. 2 (of an animal, esp. a dog) show extreme
affection. ЬЬfawner n. fawning adj. fawningly adv. [OE
fagnian, f‘gnian (as FAIN)]
fax n. & v. --n. 1 facsimile transmission (see FACSIMILE n. 2).
2 a copy produced by this. --v.tr. transmit (a document) in
this way. [abbr. of FACSIMILE]
fay n. literary a fairy. [ME f. OF fae, faie f. L fata (pl.) the
faze v.tr. (often as fazed adj.) colloq. disconcert, perturb,
disorientate. [var. of feeze drive off, f. OE fesian, of unkn.
fealty n. (pl. -ies) 1 hist. a a feudal tenant's or vassal's
fidelity to a lord. b an acknowledgement of this. 2
allegiance. [ME f. OF feault‚ f. L fidelitas -tatis f. fidelis
faithful f. fides faith]
fear n. & v. --n. 1 a an unpleasant emotion caused by exposure to
danger, expectation of pain, etc. b a state of alarm (be in
fear). 2 a cause of fear (all fears removed). 3 (often foll.
by of) dread or fearful respect (towards) (had a fear of
heights). 4 anxiety for the safety of (in fear of their lives).
5 danger; likelihood (of something unwelcome) (there is little
fear of failure). --v. 1 a tr. feel fear about or towards (a
person or thing). b intr. feel fear. 2 intr. (foll. by for)
feel anxiety or apprehension about (feared for my life). 3 tr.
apprehend; have uneasy expectation of (fear the worst). 4 tr.
(usu. foll. by that + clause) apprehend with fear or regret (I
fear that you are wrong). 5 tr. a (foll. by to + infin.)
hesitate. b (foll. by verbal noun) shrink from; be apprehensive
about (he feared meeting his ex-wife). 6 tr. show reverence
towards. Ьfor fear of (or that) to avoid the risk of (or that).
never fear there is no danger of that. no fear colloq.
expressing strong denial or refusal. without fear or favour
impartially. [OE f. Gmc]
fearful adj. 1 (usu. foll. by of, or that + clause) afraid. 2
terrible, awful. 3 colloq. extremely unwelcome or unpleasant (a
fearful row). ЬЬfearfully adv. fearfulness n.
fearless adj. 1 courageous, brave. 2 (foll. by of) without fear.
ЬЬfearlessly adv. fearlessness n.
fearsome adj. appalling or frightening, esp. in appearance.
ЬЬfearsomely adv. fearsomeness n.
n. the state or degree of being feasible. Ьfeasibility study a
study of the practicability of a proposed project.
feasible adj. 1 practicable, possible; easily or conveniently done. 2
disp. likely, probable (it is feasible that it will rain).
ЬЬfeasibly adv. [ME f. OF faisable, -ible f. fais- stem of
faire f. L facere do, make]
feast n. & v. --n. 1 a large or sumptuous meal. 2 a gratification
to the senses or mind. 3 a an annual religious celebration. b
a day dedicated to a particular saint. 4 an annual village
festival. --v. 1 intr. partake of a feast; eat and drink
sumptuously. 2 tr. a regale. b pass (time) in feasting.
Ьfeast-day a day on which a feast (esp. in sense 3) is held.
feast one's eyes on take pleasure in beholding. feast of reason
intellectual talk. ЬЬfeaster n. [ME f. OF feste, fester f. L
feat n. a noteworthy act or achievement. [ME f. OF fait, fet (as
feather n. & v. --n. 1 any of the appendages growing from a bird's
skin, with a horny hollow stem and fine strands. 2 one or more
of these as decoration etc. 3 (collect.) a plumage. b
game-birds. --v. 1 tr. cover or line with feathers. 2 tr.
Rowing turn (an oar) so that it passes through the air edgeways.
3 tr. Aeron. & Naut. a cause (the propeller blades) to rotate
in such a way as to lessen the air or water resistance. b vary
the angle of incidence of (helicopter blades). 4 intr. float,
move, or wave like feathers. Ьfeather bed a bed with a mattress
stuffed with feathers. feather-bed v.tr. (-bedded, -bedding)
provide with (esp. financial) advantages. feather-bedding the
employment of excess staff. feather-brain (or -head) a silly or
absent-minded person. feather-brained (or -headed) silly,
absent-minded. feather-edge the fine edge of a wedge-shaped
board. a feather in one's cap an achievement to one's credit.
feather one's nest enrich oneself. feather-stitch ornamental
zigzag sewing. in fine (or high) feather colloq. in good
spirits. ЬЬfeathered adj. (also in comb.). featherless adj.
feathery adj. featheriness n. [OE fether, gefithrian, f. Gmc]
n. 1 bird's plumage. 2 the feathers of an arrow. 3 a
feather-like structure in an animal's coat. 4 Archit. cusps in
n. 1 a a weight in certain sports intermediate between
bantamweight and lightweight, in the amateur boxing scale 54-7kg
but differing for professionals, wrestlers, and weightlifters.
b a sportsman of this weight. 2 a very light person or thing.
3 (usu. attrib.) a trifling or unimportant thing.
feature n. & v. --n. 1 a distinctive or characteristic part of a
thing. 2 (usu. in pl.) a distinctive part of the face, esp.
with regard to shape and visual effect. 3 a distinctive or
regular article in a newspaper or magazine. 4 a (in full
feature film) a full-length film intended as the main item in a
cinema programme. b (in full feature programme) a broadcast
devoted to a particular topic. --v. 1 tr. make a special
display or attraction of; give special prominence to. 2 tr. &
intr. have as or be an important actor, participant, or topic in
a film, broadcast, etc. 3 intr. be a feature. ЬЬfeatured adj.
(also in comb.). featureless adj. [ME f. OF feture, faiture
form f. L factura formation: see FACTURE]
Feb. abbr. February.
febrifuge n. a medicine or treatment that reduces fever; a cooling drink.
ЬЬfebrifugal adj. [F f‚brifuge f. L febris fever + -FUGE]
febrile adj. of or relating to fever; feverish. ЬЬfebrility n. [F
f‚brile or med.L febrilis f. L febris fever]
February n. (pl. -ies) the second month of the year. [ME f. OF
feverier ult. f. L februarius f. februa a purification feast
held in this month]
feces US var. of FAECES.
feckless adj. 1 feeble, ineffective. 2 unthinking, irresponsible
(feckless gaiety). ЬЬfecklessly adv. fecklessness n. [Sc.
feck f. effeck var. of EFFECT]
feculent adj. 1 murky; filthy. 2 containing sediments or dregs.
ЬЬfeculence n. [F f‚culent or L faeculentus (as FAECES)]
fecund adj. 1 prolific, fertile. 2 fertilizing. ЬЬfecundability n.
fecundity n. [ME f. F f‚cond or L fecundus]
fecundate v.tr. 1 make fruitful. 2 = FERTILIZE. ЬЬfecundation n. [L
fecundare f. fecundus fruitful]
Fed n. US sl. a federal official, esp. a member of the FBI.
[abbr. of FEDERAL]
fed past and past part. of FEED. Ьfed up (or fed to death) (often
foll. by with) discontented or bored, esp. from a surfeit of
something (am fed up with the rain). fed-upness the state of
being fed up.
fedayeen n.pl. Arab guerrillas operating esp. against Israel. [colloq.
Arab. fida' iyin pl. f. Arab. fida' i adventurer]
federal adj. 1 of a system of government in which several States form a
unity but remain independent in internal affairs. 2 relating to
or affecting such a federation (federal laws). 3 relating to or
favouring centralized government. 4 (Federal) US of the
Northern States in the Civil War. 5 comprising an association
of largely independent units. Ьfederal reserve (in the US) a
national system of reserve cash available to banks.
ЬЬfederalism n. federalist n. federalize v.tr. (also -ise).
federalization n. federally adv. [L foedus -eris league,
federate v. & adj. --v.tr. & intr. organize or be organized on a
federal basis. --adj. having a federal organization.
ЬЬfederative adj. [LL foederare foederat- (as FEDERAL)]
n. 1 a federal group of States. 2 a federated society or
group. 3 the act or an instance of federating. ЬЬfederationist
n. [F f‚d‚ration f. LL foederatio (as FEDERAL)]
fedora n. a low soft felt hat with a crown creased lengthways.
[F‚dora, drama by V. Sardou (1882)]
fee n. & v. --n. 1 a payment made to a professional person or to a
professional or public body in exchange for advice or services.
2 money paid as part of a special transaction, for a privilege,
admission to a society, etc. (enrolment fee). 3 (in pl.) money
regularly paid (esp. to a school) for continuing services. 4
Law an inherited estate, unlimited (fee simple) or limited (fee
tail) as to the category of heir. 5 hist. a fief; a feudal
benefice. --v.tr. (fee'd or feed) 1 pay a fee to. 2 engage
for a fee. [ME f. AF, = OF feu, fieu, etc. f. med.L feodum,
feudum, perh. f. Frank.: cf. FEUD(2), FIEF]
feeble adj. 1 weak, infirm. 2 lacking energy, force, or
effectiveness. 3 dim, indistinct. 4 deficient in character or
intelligence. ЬЬfeebleness n. feeblish adj. feebly adv. [ME
f. AF & OF feble, fieble, fleible f. L flebilis lamentable f.
feed v. & n. --v. (past and past part. fed) 1 tr. a supply with
food. b put food into the mouth of. 2 tr. a give as food,
esp. to animals. b graze (cattle). 3 tr. serve as food for. 4
intr. (usu. foll. by on) (esp. of animals, or colloq. of people)
take food; eat. 5 tr. nourish; make grow. 6 a tr. maintain
supply of raw material, fuel, etc., to (a fire, machine, etc.).
b tr. (foll. by into) supply (material) to a machine etc. c
intr. (often foll. by into) (of a river etc.) flow into another
body of water. d tr. insert further coins into (a meter) to
continue its function, validity, etc. 7 intr. (foll. by on) a
be nourished by. b derive benefit from. 8 tr. use (land) as
pasture. 9 tr. Theatr. sl. supply (an actor etc.) with cues.
10 tr. Sport send passes to (a player) in a ball-game. 11 tr.
gratify (vanity etc.). 12 tr. provide (advice, information,
etc.) to. --n. 1 an amount of food, esp. for animals or
infants. 2 the act or an instance of feeding; the giving of
food. 3 colloq. a meal. 4 pasturage; green crops. 5 a a
supply of raw material to a machine etc. b the provision of
this or a device for it. 6 the charge of a gun. 7 Theatr. sl.
an actor who supplies another with cues. Ьfeed back produce
feedback. feed the fishes 1 meet one's death by drowning. 2 be
seasick. feeding-bottle a bottle with a teat for feeding
infants. feed up 1 fatten. 2 satiate (cf. fed up (see FED)).
ЬЬfeedable adj. [OE fedan f. Gmc]
feedback n. 1 information about the result of an experiment etc.;
response. 2 Electronics a the return of a fraction of the
output signal from one stage of a circuit, amplifier, etc., to
the input of the same or a preceding stage. b a signal so
returned. 3 Biol. etc. the modification or control of a
process or system by its results or effects, esp. by the
difference between the desired and the actual result.
feeder n. 1 a person or thing that feeds. 2 a person who eats in a
specified manner. 3 a child's feeding-bottle. 4 Brit. a bib
for an infant. 5 a tributary stream. 6 a branch road, railway
line, etc., linking outlying districts with a main communication
system. 7 Electr. a main carrying electricity to a distribution
point. 8 a hopper or feeding apparatus in a machine.
feel v. & n. --v. (past and past part. felt) 1 tr. a examine or
search by touch. b (absol.) have the sensation of touch (was
unable to feel). 2 tr. perceive or ascertain by touch; have a
sensation of (could feel the warmth; felt that it was cold). 3
tr. a undergo, experience (shall feel my anger). b exhibit or
be conscious of (an emotion, sensation, conviction, etc.). 4 a
intr. have a specified feeling or reaction (felt strongly about
it). b tr. be emotionally affected by (felt the rebuke deeply).
5 tr. (foll. by that + clause) have a vague or unreasoned
impression (I feel that I am right). 6 tr. consider, think (I
feel it useful to go). 7 intr. seem; give an impression of
being; be perceived as (the air feels chilly). 8 intr. be
consciously; consider oneself (I feel happy; do not feel well).
9 intr. a (foll. by with) have sympathy with. b (foll. by for)
have pity or compassion for. 10 tr. (often foll. by up) sl.
fondle the genitals of. --n. 1 the act or an instance of
feeling; testing by touch. 2 the sensation characterizing a
material, situation, etc. 3 the sense of touch. Ьfeel free
(often foll. by to + infin.) not be reluctant or hesitant (do
feel free to criticize). feel like have a wish for; be inclined
towards. feel one's oats see OAT. feel oneself be fit or
confident etc. feel out investigate cautiously. feel strange
see STRANGE. feel up to be ready to face or deal with. feel
one's way proceed carefully; act cautiously. get the feel of
become accustomed to using. make one's influence (or presence
etc.) felt assert one's influence; make others aware of one's
presence etc. [OE felan f. WG]
feeler n. 1 an organ in certain animals for testing things by touch or
for searching for food. 2 a tentative proposal or suggestion,
esp. to elicit a response (put out feelers). 3 a person or
thing that feels. Ьfeeler gauge a gauge equipped with blades
for measuring narrow gaps etc.
feeling n. & adj. --n. 1 a the capacity to feel; a sense of touch
(lost all feeling in his arm). b a physical sensation. 2 a
(often foll. by of) a particular emotional reaction (a feeling
of despair). b (in pl.) emotional susceptibilities or
sympathies (hurt my feelings; had strong feelings about it). 3
a particular sensitivity (had a feeling for literature). 4 a an
opinion or notion, esp. a vague or irrational one (my feelings
on the subject; had a feeling she would be there). b vague
awareness (had a feeling of safety). c sentiment (the general
feeling was against it). 5 readiness to feel sympathy or
compassion. 6 a the general emotional response produced by a
work of art, piece of music, etc. b emotional commitment or
sensibility in artistic execution (played with feeling). --adj.
1 sensitive, sympathetic. 2 showing emotion or sensitivity.
ЬЬfeelingless adj. feelingly adv.
feet pl. of FOOT.
feign v. 1 tr. simulate; pretend to be affected by (feign madness).
2 tr. archaic invent (an excuse etc.). 3 intr. indulge in
pretence. [ME f. feign- stem of OF feindre f. L fingere mould,
feijoa n. 1 any evergreen shrub or tree of the genus Feijoa, bearing
edible guava-like fruit. 2 this fruit. [mod.L f. J. da Silva
Feijo, 19th-c. Sp. naturalist]
feint(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a sham attack or blow etc. to divert attention
or fool an opponent or enemy. 2 pretence. --v.intr. make a
feint. [F feinte, fem. past part. of feindre FEIGN]
feint(2) adj. esp. Printing = FAINT adj. 6 (feint lines). [ME f. OF
(as FEINT(1)): see FAINT]
feisty adj. (feistier, feistiest) US sl. 1 aggressive, exuberant. 2
touchy. ЬЬfeistiness n. [feist (= fist) small dog]
felafel n. (also falafel) (in Near Eastern countries) a spicy dish of
fried rissoles made from mashed chick peas or beans. [Arab.
feldspar n. (also felspar) Mineral. any of a group of aluminium
silicates of potassium, sodium, or calcium, which are the most
abundant minerals in the earth's crust. ЬЬfeldspathic adj.
feldspathoid n. [G Feldspat, -spath f. Feld FIELD + Spat,
Spath SPAR(3): felspar by false assoc. with G Fels rock]
v.tr. (usu. foll. by on) congratulate. ЬЬfelicitation n. (usu.
in pl.). [LL felicitare make happy f. L felix -icis happy]
adj. (of an expression, quotation, civilities, or a person
making them) strikingly apt; pleasantly ingenious.
ЬЬfelicitously adv. felicitousness n.
felicity n. (pl. -ies) 1 intense happiness; being happy. 2 a cause of
happiness. 3 a a capacity for apt expression; appropriateness.
b an appropriate or well-chosen phrase. 4 a fortunate trait.
[ME f. OF felicit‚ f. L felicitas -tatis f. felix -icis happy]
feline adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to the cat family. 2
catlike, esp. in beauty or slyness. --n. an animal of the cat
family Felidae. ЬЬfelinity n. [L felinus f. feles cat]
fell(1) past of FALL v.
fell(2) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 cut down (esp. a tree). 2 strike or knock
down (a person or animal). 3 stitch down (the edge of a seam)
to lie flat. --n. an amount of timber cut. ЬЬfeller n. [OE
fellan f. Gmc, rel. to FALL]
fell(3) n. N.Engl. 1 a hill. 2 a stretch of hills or moorland. [ME
f. ON fjall, fell hill]
fell(4) adj. poet. or rhet. 1 fierce, ruthless. 2 terrible,
destructive. Ьat (or in) one fell swoop in a single (orig.
deadly) action. [ME f. OF fel f. Rmc FELON(1)]
fell(5) n. an animal's hide or skin with its hair. [OE fel, fell f.
fellah n. (pl. fellahin) an Egyptian peasant. [Arab. fallah
husbandman f. falaha till the soil]
fellatio n. oral stimulation of the penis. ЬЬfellate v.tr. fellator n.
[mod.L f. L fellare suck]
feller n. = FELLOW 1, 2. [repr. an affected or sl. pronunc.]
felloe n. (also felly) (pl. -oes or -ies) the outer circle (or a
section of it) of a wheel, to which the spokes are fixed. [OE
felg, of unkn. orig.]
fellow n. 1 colloq. a man or boy (poor fellow!; my dear fellow). 2
derog. a person regarded with contempt. 3 (usu. in pl.) a
person associated with another; a comrade (were separated from
their fellows). 4 a counterpart or match; the other of a pair.
5 an equal; one of the same class. 6 a contemporary. 7 a an
incorporated senior member of a college. b an elected graduate
receiving a stipend for a period of research. c a member of the
governing body in some universities. 8 a member of a learned
society. 9 (attrib.) belonging to the same class or activity
(fellow soldier; fellow-countryman). Ьfellow-feeling sympathy
from common experience. fellow-traveller 1 a person who travels
with another. 2 a sympathizer with, or a secret member of, the
Communist Party. [OE feolaga f. ON f‚lagi f. f‚ cattle,
property, money: see LAY(1)]
n. 1 companionship, friendliness. 2 participation, sharing;
community of interest. 3 a body of associates; a company. 4 a
brotherhood or fraternity. 5 a guild or corporation. 6 the
status or emoluments of a fellow of a college or society.
felly var. of FELLOE.
felon(1) n. & adj. --n. a person who has committed a felony. --adj.
archaic cruel, wicked. ЬЬfelonry n. [ME f. OF f. med.L felo
-onis, of unkn. orig.]
felon(2) n. an inflammatory sore on the finger near the nail. [ME,
perh. as FELON(1): cf. med.L felo, fello in the same sense]
felonious adj. 1 criminal. 2 Law a of or involving felony. b who has
committed felony. ЬЬfeloniously adv.
felony n. (pl. -ies) a crime regarded by the law as grave, and usu.
involving violence. [ME f. OF felonie (as FELON(1))]
felspar var. of FELDSPAR.
felt(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a kind of cloth made by rolling and pressing
wool etc., or by weaving and shrinking it. 2 a similar material
made from other fibres. --v. 1 tr. make into felt; mat
together. 2 tr. cover with felt. 3 intr. become matted.
Ьfelt-tipped (or felt-tip) pen a pen with a writing-point made
of felt or fibre. ЬЬfelty adj. [OE f. WG]
felt(2) past and past part. of FEEL.
felucca n. a small Mediterranean coasting vessel with oars or lateen
sails or both. [It. felucca f. obs. Sp. faluca f. Arab.
fulk, perh. f. Gk epholkion sloop]
felwort n. a purple-flowered gentian, Gentianella amarella. [OE
feldwyrt (as FIELD, WORT)]
female adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the sex that can bear offspring or
produce eggs. 2 (of plants or their parts) fruit-bearing;
having a pistil and no stamens. 3 of or consisting of women or
female animals or female plants. 4 (of a screw, socket, etc.)
manufactured hollow to receive a corresponding inserted part.
--n. a female person, animal, or plant. Ьfemale impersonator a
male performer impersonating a woman. ЬЬfemaleness n. [ME f.
OF femelle (n.) f. L femella dimin. of femina a woman, assim. to
feme n. Law a woman or wife. Ьfeme covert a married woman. feme
sole a woman without a husband (esp. if divorced). [ME f. AF &
OF f. L femina woman]
feminal adj. archaic womanly. ЬЬfeminality n. [med.L feminalis f. L
femineity n. archaic womanliness; womanishness. [L femineus womanish f.
feminine adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or characteristic of women. 2 having
qualities associated with women. 3 womanly, effeminate. 4
Gram. of or denoting the gender proper to women's names. --n.
Gram. a feminine gender or word. ЬЬfemininely adv.
feminineness n. femininity n. [ME f. OF feminin -ine or L
femininus f. femina woman]
feminism n. 1 the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the
equality of the sexes. 2 Med. the development of female
characteristics in a male person. ЬЬfeminist n. (in sense 1).
[L femina woman (in sense 1 after F f‚minisme)]
feminity n. = FEMININITY (see FEMININE). [ME f. OF feminit‚ f. med.L
feminitas -tatis f. L femina woman]
feminize v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) make or become feminine or female.
n. (pl. femmes fatales pronunc. same) a seductively attractive
femto- comb. form denoting a factor of 10(-15) (femtometre). [Da. or
Norw. femten fifteen]
femur n. (pl. femurs or femora) 1 Anat. the thigh-bone, the thick
bone between the hip and the knee. 2 the corresponding part of
an insect. ЬЬfemoral adj. [L femur femoris thigh]
fen n. 1 a low marshy or flooded area of land. 2 (the Fens) flat
low-lying areas in and around Cambridgeshire. Ьfen-berry (pl.
-berries) a cranberry. fen-fire will-o'-the-wisp. ЬЬfenny adj.
[OE fenn f. Gmc]
fence n. & v. --n. 1 a barrier or railing or other upright structure
enclosing an area of ground, esp. to prevent or control access.
2 a large upright obstacle in steeplechasing or showjumping. 3
sl. a receiver of stolen goods. 4 a guard or guide in
machinery. --v. 1 tr. surround with or as with a fence. 2 tr.
a (foll. by in, off) enclose or separate with or as with a
fence. b (foll. by up) seal with or as with a fence. 3 tr.
(foll. by from, against) screen, shield, protect. 4 tr. (foll.
by out) exclude with or as with a fence; keep out. 5 tr. (also
absol.) sl. deal in (stolen goods). 6 intr. practise the sport
of fencing; use a sword. 7 intr. (foll. by with) evade
answering (a person or question). 8 intr. (of a horse etc.)
leap fences. Ьsit on the fence remain neutral or undecided in a
dispute etc. ЬЬfenceless adj. fencer n. [ME f. DEFENCE]
fencible n. hist. a soldier liable only for home service. [ME f.
fencing n. 1 a set or extent of fences. 2 material for making fences.
3 the art or sport of swordplay.
fend v. 1 intr. (foll. by for) look after (esp. oneself). 2 tr.
(usu. foll. by off) keep away; ward off (an attack etc.). [ME
fender n. 1 a low frame bordering a fireplace to keep in falling coals
etc. 2 Naut. a piece of old cable, matting, etc., hung over a
vessel's side to protect it against impact. 3 a a thing used to
keep something off, prevent a collision, etc. b US a bumper or
mudguard of a motor vehicle.
n. Archit. a niche in a wall south of an altar, holding the
piscina and often the credence. [L, dimin. of fenestra window]
fenestra n. (pl. fenestrae) 1 Anat. a small hole or opening in a bone
etc., esp. one of two (fenestra ovalis, fenestra rotunda) in the
inner ear. 2 a perforation in a surgical instrument. 3 a hole
made by surgical fenestration. [L, = window]
adj. Bot. & Zool. having small window-like perforations or
transparent areas. [L fenestratus past part. of fenestrare f.
adj. 1 Archit. having windows. 2 perforated. 3 = FENESTRATE.
4 Surgery having fenestrae.
n. 1 Archit. the arrangement of windows in a building. 2 Bot.
& Zool. being fenestrate. 3 a surgical operation in which a new
opening is formed, esp. in the bony labyrinth of the inner ear,
as a form of treatment in some cases of deafness.
Fenian n. & adj. --n. hist. a member of a 19th-c. league among the
Irish in the US & Ireland for promoting revolution and
overthrowing British government in Ireland. --adj. of or
relating to the Fenians. ЬЬFenianism n. [OIr. f‚ne name of an
ancient Irish people, confused with fЎann guard of legendary
fennec n. a small fox, Vulpes zerda, native to N. Africa, having large
pointed ears. [Arab. fanak]
fennel n. 1 a yellow-flowered fragrant umbelliferous plant, Foeniculum
vulgare, with leaves or leaf-stalks used in salads, soups, etc.
2 the seeds of this used as flavouring. [OE finugl etc. & OF
fenoil f. L feniculum f. fenum hay]
fenugreek n. 1 a leguminous plant, Trigonella foenum-graecum, having
aromatic seeds. 2 these seeds used as flavouring, esp. ground
and used in curry powder. [OE fenogrecum, superseded in ME f.
OF fenugrec f. L faenugraecum (fenum graecum Greek hay), used by
the Romans as fodder]
feoffment n. hist. a mode of conveying a freehold estate by a formal
transfer of possession. ЬЬfeoffee n. feoffor n. [ME f. AF
feoffement, rel. to FEE]
feral adj. 1 (of an animal or plant) wild, untamed, uncultivated. 2
a (of an animal) in a wild state after escape from captivity. b
born in the wild of such an animal. 3 brutal. [L ferus wild]
fer de lance
n. a large highly venomous snake, Bothrops atrox, native to
Central and S. America. [F, = iron (head) of a lance]
feretory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a shrine for a saint's relics. 2 a chapel
containing such a shrine. [ME f. OF fiertre f. L feretrum f. Gk
pheretron f. phero bear]
ferial adj. Eccl. 1 (of a day) ordinary; not appointed for a festival
or fast. 2 (of a service etc.) for use on a ferial day. [ME f.
OF ferial or med.L ferialis f. L feriae: see FAIR(2)]
fermata n. (pl. fermatas) Mus. 1 an unspecified prolongation of a
note or rest. 2 a sign indicating this. [It.]
ferment n. & v. --n. 1 agitation, excitement, tumult. 2 a fermenting,
fermentation. b a fermenting-agent or leaven. --v. 1 intr. &
tr. undergo or subject to fermentation. 2 intr. & tr.
effervesce or cause to effervesce. 3 tr. excite; stir up;
foment. ЬЬfermentable adj. fermenter n. [ME f. OF ferment or
L fermentum f. L fervere boil]
n. 1 the breakdown of a substance by micro-organisms, such as
yeasts and bacteria, usu. in the absence of oxygen, esp. of
sugar to ethyl alcohol in making beers, wines, and spirits. 2
agitation, excitement. ЬЬfermentative adj. [ME f. LL
fermentatio (as FERMENT)]
fermi n. (pl. fermis) a unit of length equal to 10(-15) metre,
formerly used in nuclear physics. [E. Fermi, Ital.-Amer.
physicist d. 1954]
fermion n. Physics any of several elementary particles with
half-integral spin, e.g. nucleons (cf. BOSON). [as FERMI +
fermium n. Chem. a transuranic radioactive metallic element produced
artificially. °Symb.: Fm. [as FERMI + -IUM]
fern n. (pl. same or ferns) any flowerless plant of the order
Filicales, reproducing by spores and usu. having feathery
fronds. ЬЬfernery n. (pl. -ies). fernless adj. ferny adj.
[OE fearn f. WG]
ferocity n. (pl. -ies) a ferocious nature or act. [F f‚rocit‚ or L
ferocitas (as FEROCIOUS)]
-ferous comb. form (usu. -iferous) forming adjectives with the sense
'bearing', 'having' (auriferous; odoriferous). ЬЬ-ferously
suffix -ferousness suffix [from or after F -fЉre or L -fer
producing f. ferre bear]
ferrate n. Chem. a salt of (the hypothetical) ferric acid. [L ferrum
ferrel var. of FERRULE.
ferret n. & v. --n. 1 a small half-domesticated polecat, Mustela
putorius furo, used in catching rabbits, rats, etc. 2 a person
who searches assiduously. --v. 1 intr. hunt with ferrets. 2
intr. rummage; search about. 3 tr. (often foll. by about, away,
out, etc.) a clear out (holes or an area of ground) with
ferrets. b take or drive away (rabbits etc.) with ferrets. 4
tr. (foll. by out) search out (secrets, criminals, etc.).
ЬЬferreter n. ferrety adj. [ME f. OF fu(i)ret alt. f.
fu(i)ron f. LL furo -onis f. L fur thief]
ferri- comb. form Chem. containing iron, esp. in ferric compounds. [L
ferriage n. 1 conveyance by ferry. 2 a charge for using a ferry.
ferric adj. 1 of iron. 2 Chem. containing iron in a trivalent form
n. Physics a form of ferromagnetism with non-parallel alignment
of neighbouring atoms or ions. ЬЬferrimagnetic adj. [F
ferrimagn‚tisme (as FERRI-, MAGNETISM)]
n. a fairground ride consisting of a tall revolving vertical
wheel with passenger cars suspended on its outer edge. [G. W.
G. Ferris, Amer. engineer d. 1896]
ferrite n. Chem. 1 a salt of (the hypothetical) ferrous acid
HFeO, often with magnetic properties. 2 an allotrope
of pure iron occurring in low-carbon steel. ЬЬferritic adj. [L
ferro- comb. form Chem. 1 iron, esp. in ferrous compounds. 2 (of
alloys) containing iron (ferrocyanide; ferromanganese). [L
n. & adj. --n. concrete reinforced with steel. --adj. made of
adj. & n. Physics --adj. exhibiting permanent electric
polarization which varies in strength with the applied electric
field. --n. a ferroelectric substance. ЬЬferroelectricity n.
[ELECTRIC after ferromagnetic]
n. Physics a phenomenon in which there is a high susceptibility
to magnetization, the strength of which varies with the applied
magnetizing field, and which may persist after removal of the
applied field. ЬЬferromagnetic adj.
ferrous adj. 1 containing iron (ferrous and non-ferrous metals). 2
Chem. containing iron in a divalent form (cf. FERRIC). [L
adj. 1 of or containing iron-rust, or iron as a chemical
constituent. 2 rust-coloured; reddish-brown. [L ferrugo -ginis
rust f. ferrum iron]
ferrule n. (also ferrel) 1 a ring or cap strengthening the end of a
stick or tube. 2 a band strengthening or forming a joint.
[earlier verrel etc. f. OF virelle, virol(e), f. L viriola
dimin. of viriae bracelet: assim. to L ferrum iron]
ferry n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a boat or aircraft etc. for
conveying passengers and goods, esp. across water and as a
regular service. 2 the service itself or the place where it
operates. --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. & intr. convey or go in a
boat etc. across water. 2 intr. (of a boat etc.) pass to and
fro across water. 3 tr. transport from one place to another,
esp. as a regular service. ЬЬferryman n. (pl. -men). [ME f.
ON ferja f. Gmc]
fertile adj. 1 a (of soil) producing abundant vegetation or crops. b
fruitful. 2 a (of a seed, egg, etc.) capable of becoming a new
individual. b (of animals and plants) able to conceive young or
produce fruit. 3 (of the mind) inventive. 4 (of nuclear
material) able to become fissile by the capture of neutrons.
ЬFertile Crescent the fertile region extending in a crescent
shape from the E. Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
ЬЬfertility n. [ME f. F f. L fertilis]
n. (also -isation) 1 Biol. the fusion of male and female
gametes during sexual reproduction to form a zygote. 2 a the
act or an instance of fertilizing. b the process of being
fertilize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (soil etc.) fertile or productive. 2
cause (an egg, female animal, or plant) to develop a new
individual by introducing male reproductive material.
ЬЬfertilizable adj. fertilizer n.
ferula n. 1 any plant of the genus Ferula, esp. the giant fennel (F.
communis), having a tall sticklike stem and thick roots. 2 =
FERULE. [ME f. L, = giant fennel, rod]
ferule n. & v. --n. a flat ruler with a widened end formerly used for
beating children. --v.tr. beat with a ferule. [ME (as FERULA)]
fervent adj. 1 ardent, impassioned, intense (fervent admirer; fervent
hatred). 2 hot, glowing. ЬЬfervency n. fervently adv. [ME f.
OF f. L fervere boil]
fervour n. (US fervor) 1 vehemence, passion, zeal. 2 a glowing
condition; intense heat. [ME f. OF f. L fervor -oris (as
fescue n. any grass of the genus Festuca, valuable for pasture and
fodder. [ME festu(e) f. OF festu ult. f. L festuca stalk,
fess n. (also fesse) Heraldry a horizontal stripe across the middle
of a shield. Ьfess point a point at the centre of a shield. in
fess arranged horizontally. [ME f. OF f. L fascia band]
festal adj. 1 joyous, merry. 2 engaging in holiday activities. 3 of
a feast. ЬЬfestally adv. [OF f. LL festalis (as FEAST)]
fester v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become septic. 2 intr. cause
continuing annoyance. 3 intr. rot, stagnate. [ME f. obs.
fester (n.) or OF festrir, f. OF festre f. L fistula: see
festival n. & adj. --n. 1 a day or period of celebration, religious or
secular. 2 a concentrated series of concerts, plays, etc., held
regularly in a town etc. (Bath Festival). --attrib.adj. of or
concerning a festival. [earlier as adj.: ME f. OF f. med.L
festivalis (as FESTIVE)]
festive adj. 1 of or characteristic of a festival. 2 joyous. 3 fond
of feasting, jovial. ЬЬfestively adv. festiveness n. [L
festivus f. festum (as FEAST)]
festivity n. (pl. -ies) 1 gaiety, rejoicing. 2 a a festive celebration.
b (in pl.) festive proceedings. [ME f. OF festivit‚ or L
festivitas (as FESTIVE)]
festoon n. & v. --n. 1 a chain of flowers, leaves, ribbons, etc., hung
in a curve as a decoration. 2 a carved or moulded ornament
representing this. --v.tr. (often foll. by with) adorn with or
form into festoons; decorate elaborately. ЬЬfestoonery n. [F
feston f. It. festone f. festa FEAST]
n. (also festschrift) (pl. -schriften or -schrifts) a
collection of writings published in honour of a scholar. [G f.
Fest celebration + Schrift writing]
feta n. (also fetta) a soft white ewe's-milk or goat's-milk cheese
made esp. in Greece. [mod.Gk pheta]
fetch(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 go for and bring back (a person or thing)
(fetch a doctor). 2 be sold for; realize (a price) (fetched
њ10). 3 cause (blood, tears, etc.) to flow. 4 draw (breath),
heave (a sigh). 5 colloq. give (a blow, slap, etc.) (usu. with
recipient stated : fetched him a slap on the face). 6 excite
the emotions of, delight or irritate. --n. 1 an act of
fetching. 2 a dodge or trick. 3 Naut. a the distance
travelled by wind or waves across open water. b the distance a
vessel must sail to reach open water. Ьfetch and carry run
backwards and forwards with things, be a mere servant. fetch up
colloq. 1 arrive, come to rest. 2 vomit. ЬЬfetcher n. [OE
fecc(e)an var. of fetian, prob. rel. to a Gmc root = grasp]
fetch(2) n. a person's wraith or double. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
fetching adj. attractive. ЬЬfetchingly adv.
f€te n. & v. --n. 1 an outdoor function with the sale of goods,
amusements, etc., esp. to raise funds for charity. 2 a great
entertainment; a festival. 3 a saint's day. --v.tr. honour or
entertain lavishly. [F f€te (as FEAST)]
n. an outdoor entertainment; a rural festival. [F (as F°TE,
fetid adj. (also foetid) stinking. ЬЬfetidly adv. fetidness n. [L
fetidus f. fetere stink]
fetish n. 1 Psychol. a thing abnormally stimulating or attracting
sexual desire. 2 a an inanimate object worshipped by primitive
peoples for its supposed inherent magical powers or as being
inhabited by a spirit. b a thing evoking irrational devotion or
respect. ЬЬfetishism n. fetishist n. fetishistic adj. [F
f‚tiche f. Port. feiti‡o charm: orig. adj. = made by art, f. L
fetlock n. part of the back of a horse's leg above the hoof where a
tuft of hair grows. [ME fetlak etc. rel. to G Fessel fetlock f.
fetor n. a stench. [L (as FETID)]
fetta var. of FETA.
fetter n. & v. --n. 1 a a shackle for holding a prisoner by the
ankles. b any shackle or bond. 2 (in pl.) captivity. 3 a
restraint or check. --v.tr. 1 put into fetters. 2 restrict,
restrain, impede. [OE feter f. Gmc]
n. 1 a D-shaped fetter for tethering a horse by the leg. 2 a
heraldic representation of this.
fettle n. & v. --n. condition or trim (in fine fettle). --v.tr. trim
or clean (the rough edge of a metal casting, pottery before
firing, etc.). [earlier as verb, f. dial. fettle (n.) =
girdle, f. OE fetel f. Gmc]
fettler n. 1 Brit. & Austral. a railway maintenance worker. 2 a person
fetus US var. of FOETUS.
feu n. & v. Sc. --n. 1 a perpetual lease at a fixed rent. 2 a
piece of land so held. --v.tr. (feus, feued, feuing) grant
(land) on feu. [OF: see FEE]
feud(1) n. & v. --n. 1 prolonged mutual hostility, esp. between two
families, tribes, etc., with murderous assaults in revenge for a
previous injury (a family feud; be at feud with). 2 a prolonged
or bitter quarrel or dispute. --v.intr. conduct a feud. [ME
fede f. OF feide, fede f. MDu., MLG vede f. Gmc, rel. to FOE]
feud(2) n. a piece of land held under the feudal system or in fee; a
fief. [med.L feudum: see FEE]
feudal adj. 1 of, according to, or resembling the feudal system. 2 of
a feud or fief. 3 outdated (had a feudal attitude). Ьfeudal
system the social system in medieval Europe whereby a vassal
held land from a superior in exchange for allegiance and
service. ЬЬfeudalism n. feudalist n. feudalistic adj.
feudalize v.tr. (also -ise). feudalization n. feudally adv.
[med.L feudalis, feodalis f. feudum, feodum FEE, perh. f. Gmc]
feudality n. (pl. -ies) 1 the feudal system or its principles. 2 a
feudal holding, a fief. [F f‚odalit‚ f. f‚odal (as FEUDAL)]
feudatory adj. & n. --adj. (often foll. by to) feudally subject, under
overlordship. --n. (pl. -ies) a feudal vassal. [med.L
feudatorius f. feudare enfeoff (as FEUD(2))]
feu de joie
n. (pl. feux pronunc. same) a salute by firing rifles etc. on
a ceremonial occasion. [F, = fire of joy]
feudist n. US a person who is conducting a feud.
n. 1 a part of a newspaper etc. devoted to fiction, criticism,
light literature, etc. 2 an item printed in this. [F, =
fever n. & v. --n. 1 a an abnormally high body temperature, often
with delirium etc. b a disease characterized by this (scarlet
fever; typhoid fever). 2 nervous excitement; agitation.
--v.tr. (esp. as fevered adj.) affect with fever or excitement.
Ьfever pitch a state of extreme excitement. [OE fefor & AF
fevre, OF fievre f. L febris]
feverfew n. an aromatic bushy plant, Tenacetum parthenium, with feathery
leaves and white daisy-like flowers, formerly used to reduce
fever. [OE feferfuge f. L febrifuga (as FEBRIFUGE)]
feverish adj. 1 having the symptoms of a fever. 2 excited, fitful,
restless. 3 (of a place) infested by fever; feverous.
ЬЬfeverishly adv. feverishness n.
feverous adj. 1 infested with or apt to cause fever. 2 archaic
few adj. & n. --adj. not many (few doctors smoke; visitors are
few). --n. (as pl.) 1 (prec. by a) some but not many (a few
words should be added; a few of his friends were there). 2 a
small number, not many (many are called but few are chosen). 3
(prec. by the) a the minority. b the elect. 4 (the Few)
colloq. the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain.
Ьevery few once in every small group of (every few days). few
and far between scarce. a good few colloq. a fairly large
number. have a few colloq. take several alcoholic drinks. no
fewer than as many as (a specified number). not a few a
considerable number. some few some but not at all many.
ЬЬfewness n. [OE feawe, feawa f. Gmc]
fey adj. 1 a strange, other-worldly; elfin; whimsical. b
clairvoyant. 2 Sc. a fated to die soon. b overexcited or
elated, as formerly associated with the state of mind of a
person about to die. ЬЬfeyly adv. feyness n. [OE f‘ge f. Gmc]
fez n. (pl. fezzes) a flat-topped conical red cap with a tassel,
worn by men in some Muslim countries. ЬЬfezzed adj. [Turk.,
perh. f. Fez (now FЉs) in Morocco]
fiacre n. hist. a small four-wheeled cab. [the H“tel de St Fiacre,
fianc‚ n. (fem. fianc‚e pronunc. same) a person to whom another is
engaged to be married. [F, past part. of fiancer betroth f. OF
fiance a promise, ult. f. L fidere to trust]
n. & v. Chess --n. (pl. -oes) the development of a bishop to
a long diagonal of the board. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed) develop (a
bishop) in this way. [It., dimin. of fianco FLANK]
fiasco n. (pl. -os) a ludicrous or humiliating failure or breakdown
(orig. in a dramatic or musical performance); an ignominious
result. [It., = bottle (with unexplained allusion): see FLASK]
fiat n. 1 an authorization. 2 a decree or order. Ьfiat money US
inconvertible paper money made legal tender by a Government
decree. [L, = let it be done]
fib n. & v. --n. a trivial or venial lie. --v.intr. (fibbed,
fibbing) tell a fib. ЬЬfibber n. fibster n. [perh. f. obs.
fible-fable nonsense, redupl. of FABLE]
fiber US var. of FIBRE.
n. Math. a series of numbers in which each number (Fibonacci
number) is the sum of the two preceding numbers, esp. 1, 1, 2,
3, 5, 8, etc. [L. Fibonacci, It. mathematician fl. 1200]
fibre n. (US fiber) 1 Biol. any of the threads or filaments forming
animal or vegetable tissue and textile substances. 2 a piece of
glass in the form of a thread. 3 a a substance formed of
fibres. b a substance that can be spun, woven, or felted. 4
the structure, grain, or character of something (lacks moral
fibre). 5 dietary material that is resistant to the action of
digestive enzymes; roughage. Ьfibre optics optics employing
thin glass fibres, usu. for the transmission of light, esp.
modulated to carry signals. ЬЬfibred adj. (also in comb.).
fibreless adj. fibriform adj. [ME f. F f. L fibra]
n. (US fiberboard) a building material made of wood or other
plant fibres compressed into boards.
n. (US fiberglass) 1 a textile fabric made from woven glass
fibres. 2 a plastic reinforced by glass fibres.
fibril n. 1 a small fibre. 2 a subdivision of a fibre. ЬЬfibrillar
adj. fibrillary adj. [mod.L fibrilla dimin. of L fibra fibre]
v. 1 intr. a (of a fibre) split up into fibrils. b (of a
muscle, esp. in the heart) undergo a quivering movement in
fibrils. 2 tr. break (a fibre) into fibrils. ЬЬfibrillation n.
fibrin n. an insoluble protein formed during blood-clotting from
fibrinogen. ЬЬfibrinoid adj. [FIBRE + -IN]
n. a soluble blood-plasma protein which produces fibrin when
acted upon by the enzyme thrombin.
fibro n. (pl. -os) Austral. 1 fibro-cement. 2 a house constructed
mainly of this. [abbr.]
fibro- comb. form fibre.
n. a mixture of any of various fibrous materials, such as glass
fibre, cellulose fibre, etc. and cement, used in sheets for
fibroid adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or characterized by fibrous tissue. 2
resembling or containing fibres. --n. a benign tumour of
muscular and fibrous tissues, one or more of which may develop
in the wall of the womb.
fibroin n. a protein which is the chief constituent of silk. [FIBRO- +
fibroma n. (pl. fibromas or fibromata) a fibrous tumour. [mod.L f. L
fibra fibre + -OMA]
fibrosis n. Med. a thickening and scarring of connective tissue, usu.
as a result of injury. ЬЬfibrotic adj. [mod.L f. L fibra fibre
n. an inflammation of fibrous connective tissue, usu. rheumatic
and painful. ЬЬfibrositic adj. [mod.L f. L fibrosus fibrous +
fibrous adj. consisting of or like fibres. ЬЬfibrously adv.
fibula n. (pl. fibulae or fibulas) 1 Anat. the smaller and outer of
the two bones between the knee and the ankle in terrestrial
vertebrates. 2 Antiq. a brooch or clasp. ЬЬfibular adj. [L,
perh. rel. to figere fix]
-fic suffix (usu. as -ific) forming adjectives meaning 'producing',
'making' (prolific; pacific). ЬЬ-fically suffix forming
adverbs. [from or after F -fique or L -ficus f. facere do,
-fication suffix (usu. as -ification) forming nouns of action from verbs
in -fy (acidification; purification; simplification). [from or
after F -fication or L -ficatio -onis f. - ficare: see -FY]
fiche n. (pl. same or fiches) a microfiche. [F, = slip of paper]
fichu n. a woman's small triangular shawl of lace etc. for the
shoulders and neck. [F]
fickle adj. inconstant, changeable, esp. in loyalty. ЬЬfickleness n.
fickly adv. [OE ficol; cf. befician deceive, f‘cne deceitful]
fictile adj. 1 made of earth or clay by a potter. 2 of pottery. [L
fictilis f. fingere fict- fashion]
fiction n. 1 an invented idea or statement or narrative; an imaginary
thing. 2 literature, esp. novels, describing imaginary events
and people. 3 a conventionally accepted falsehood (legal
fiction; polite fiction). 4 the act or process of inventing
imaginary things. ЬЬfictional adj. fictionality n.
fictionalize v.tr. (also -ise). fictionalization n.
fictionally adv. fictionist n. [ME f. OF f. L fictio -onis (as
adj. 1 imaginary, unreal. 2 counterfeit; not genuine. 3 (of a
name or character) assumed. 4 of or in novels. 5 regarded as
what it is called by a legal or conventional fiction.
ЬЬfictitiously adv. fictitiousness n. [L ficticius (as
fictive adj. 1 creating or created by imagination. 2 not genuine.
ЬЬfictively adv. fictiveness n. [F fictif -ive or med.L
fictivus (as FICTILE)]
fid n. 1 a small thick piece or wedge or heap of anything. 2 Naut.
a a square wooden or iron bar to support the topmast. b a
conical wooden pin used in splicing. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
Fid. Def. abbr. Brit. Defender of the Faith. [L Fidei Defensor]
fiddle n. & v. --n. 1 colloq. or derog. a stringed instrument played
with a bow, esp. a violin. 2 colloq. an instance of cheating or
fraud. 3 Naut. a contrivance for stopping things from rolling
or sliding off a table in bad weather. --v. 1 intr. a (often
foll. by with, at) play restlessly. b (often foll. by about)
move aimlessly. c act idly or frivolously. d (usu. foll. by
with) make minor adjustments; tinker (esp. in an attempt to make
improvements). 2 tr. sl. a cheat, swindle. b falsify. c get
by cheating. 3 a intr. play the fiddle. b tr. play (a tune
etc.) on the fiddle. Ьas fit as a fiddle in very good health.
face as long as a fiddle a dismal face. fiddle-back a
fiddle-shaped back of a chair or front of a chasuble.
fiddle-head a scroll-like carving at a ship's bows. fiddle
pattern the pattern of spoons and forks with fiddle-shaped
handles. play second (or first) fiddle take a subordinate (or
leading) role. [OE fithele f. Gmc f. a Rmc root rel. to VIOL]
int. & n. nonsense.
n., v., int., & adj. --n. trivial matters. --v.intr. fuss,
trifle. --int. nonsense! --adj. (of a person or thing) petty,
fussy. [redupl. of FIDDLE]
fiddler n. 1 a fiddle-player. 2 sl. a swindler, a cheat. 3 any small
N. American crab of the genus Uca, the male having one of its
claws held in a position like a violinist's arm. [OE fithelere
n. 1 (usu. in pl.; as int.) nonsense! 2 colloq. a bow for a
fiddling adj. 1 a petty, trivial. b contemptible, futile. 2 colloq. =
FIDDLY. 3 that fiddles.
fiddly adj. (fiddlier, fiddliest) colloq. intricate, awkward, or
tiresome to do or use.
fideism n. the doctrine that all or some knowledge depends on faith or
revelation. ЬЬfideist n. fideistic adj. [L fides faith +
fidelity n. 1 (often foll. by to) faithfulness, loyalty. 2 strict
conformity to truth or fact. 3 exact correspondence to the
original. 4 precision in reproduction of sound (high fidelity).
Ьfidelity insurance insurance taken out by an employer against
losses incurred through an employee's dishonesty etc. [F
fid‚lit‚ or L fidelitas (as FEALTY)]
fidget v. & n. --v. (fidgeted, fidgeting) 1 intr. move or act
restlessly or nervously, usu. while maintaining basically the
same posture. 2 intr. be uneasy, worry. 3 tr. make (a person)
uneasy or uncomfortable. --n. 1 a person who fidgets. 2 (usu.
in pl.) a bodily uneasiness seeking relief in spasmodic
movements; such movements. b a restless mood. ЬЬfidgety adj.
fidgetiness n. [obs. or dial. fidge to twitch]
Fido n. a device enabling aircraft to land by dispersing fog by
means of petrol-burners on the ground. [initials of Fog
Intensive Dispersal Operation]
fiducial adj. Surveying, Astron. , etc. (of a line, point, etc.)
assumed as a fixed basis of comparison. [LL fiducialis f.
fiducia trust f. fidere to trust]
fiduciary adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of a trust, trustee, or trusteeship. b
held or given in trust. 2 (of a paper currency) depending for
its value on public confidence or securities. --n. (pl. -ies)
a trustee. [L fiduciarius (as FIDUCIAL)]
n. a faithful friend; a devoted follower. [L, = faithful
Achates (a companion of Aeneas in Virgil's Aeneid)]
fie int. expressing disgust, shame, or a pretence of outraged
propriety. [ME f. OF f. L fi exclam. of disgust at a stench]
fief n. 1 a piece of land held under the feudal system or in fee. 2
a person's sphere of operation or control. [F (as FEE)]
fiefdom n. a fief.
field n. & v. --n. 1 an area of open land, esp. one used for pasture
or crops, often bounded by hedges, fences, etc. 2 an area rich
in some natural product (gas field; diamond field). 3 a piece
of land for a specified purpose, esp. an area marked out for
games (football field). 4 a the participants in a contest or
sport. b all the competitors in a race or all except those
specified. 5 Cricket a the side fielding. b a fielder. 6 an
expanse of ice, snow, sea, sky, etc. 7 a the ground on which a
battle is fought; a battlefield (left his rival in possession of
the field). b the scene of a campaign. c (attrib.) (of
artillery etc.) light and mobile for use on campaign. d a
battle. 8 an area of operation or activity; a subject of study
(each supreme in his own field). 9 a the region in which a
force is effective (gravitational field; magnetic field). b the
force exerted in such an area. 10 a range of perception (field
of view; wide field of vision; filled the field of the
telescope). 11 Math. a system subject to two operations
analogous to those for the multiplication and addition of real
numbers. 12 (attrib.) a (of an animal or plant) found in the
countryside, wild (field mouse). b carried out or working in
the natural environment, not in a laboratory etc. (field test).
13 a the background of a picture, coin, flag, etc. b Heraldry
the surface of an escutcheon or of one of its divisions. 14
Computing a part of a record, representing an item of data.
--v. 1 Cricket, Baseball , etc. a intr. act as a fieldsman. b
tr. stop (and return) (the ball). 2 tr. select (a team or
individual) to play in a game. 3 tr. deal with (a succession of
questions etc.). Ьfield-book a book used in the field by a
surveyor for technical notes. field-cornet S.Afr. hist. a
minor magistrate. field-day 1 wide scope for action or success;
a time occupied with exciting events (when crowds form,
pickpockets have a field-day). 2 Mil. an exercise, esp. in
manoeuvring; a review. 3 a day spent in exploration, scientific
investigation, etc., in the natural environment. field events
athletic sports other than races (e.g. shot-putting, jumping,
discus-throwing). field-glasses binoculars for outdoor use.
field goal US Football & Basketball a goal scored when the ball
is in normal play. field hockey US = HOCKEY(1). field hospital
a temporary hospital near a battlefield. Field Marshal Brit.
an army officer of the highest rank. field mouse a small
rodent, Apodemus sylvaticus, with beady eyes, prominent ears,
and a long tail. field mushroom the edible fungus Agaricus
campestris. field mustard charlock. field officer an army
officer of field rank. field of honour the place where a duel
or battle is fought. field rank any rank in the army above
captain and below general. field sports outdoor sports, esp.
hunting, shooting, and fishing. field telegraph a movable
telegraph for use on campaign. hold the field not be
superseded. in the field 1 campaigning. 2 working etc. away
from one's laboratory, headquarters, etc. keep the field
continue a campaign. play the field colloq. avoid exclusive
attachment to one person or activity etc. take the field 1
begin a campaign. 2 (of a sports team) go on to a pitch to
begin a game. [OE feld f. WG]
fielder n. = FIELDSMAN.
fieldfare n. a thrush, Turdus pilaris, having grey plumage with a
speckled breast. [ME feldefare, perh. as FIELD + FARE]
fieldsman n. (pl. -men) Cricket, Baseball , etc. a member (other than
the bowler or pitcher) of the side that is fielding.
n. stone used in its natural form.
fieldwork n. 1 the practical work of a surveyor, collector of scientific
data, sociologist, etc., conducted in the natural environment
rather than a laboratory, office, etc. 2 a temporary
fortification. ЬЬfieldworker n.
fiend n. 1 a an evil spirit, a demon. b (prec. by the) the Devil. 2
a a very wicked or cruel person. b a person causing mischief or
annoyance. 3 (with a qualifying word) sl. a devotee or addict
(a fitness fiend). 4 something difficult or unpleasant.
ЬЬfiendish adj. fiendishly adv. fiendishness n. fiendlike
adj. [OE feond f. Gmc]
fierce adj. (fiercer, fiercest) 1 vehemently aggressive or frightening
in temper or action, violent. 2 eager, intense, ardent. 3
unpleasantly strong or intense; uncontrolled (fierce heat). 4
(of a mechanism) not smooth or easy in action. ЬЬfiercely adv.
fierceness n. [ME f. AF fers, OF fiers fier proud f. L ferus
n. Law a writ to a sheriff for executing a judgement. [L, =
cause to be made or done]
fiery adj. (fierier, fieriest) 1 a consisting of or flaming with
fire. b (of an arrow etc.) fire-bearing. 2 like fire in
appearance, bright red. 3 a hot as fire. b acting like fire;
producing a burning sensation. 4 a flashing, ardent (fiery
eyes). b eager, pugnacious, spirited, irritable (fiery temper).
c (of a horse) mettlesome. 5 (of gas, a mine, etc.)
inflammable; liable to explosions. 6 Cricket (of a pitch)
making the ball rise dangerously. Ьfiery cross a wooden cross
charred or set on fire as a symbol. ЬЬfierily adv. fieriness
fiesta n. 1 a holiday or festivity. 2 a religious festival in
Spanish-speaking countries . [Sp., = feast]
FIFA abbr. International Football Federation. [F F‚d‚ration
Internationale de Football Association]
fi. fa. abbr. fieri facias.
fife n. & v. --n. 1 a kind of small shrill flute used with the drum
in military music. 2 its player. --v. 1 intr. play the fife.
2 tr. play (an air etc.) on the fife. ЬЬfifer n. [G Pfeife
PIPE, or F fifre f. Swiss G Pfifre piper]
fife-rail n. Naut. a rail round the mainmast with belaying-pins. [18th
c.: orig. unkn.]
fifteen n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than fourteen, or five more than
ten; the product of three units and five units. 2 a symbol for
this (15, xv, XV). 3 a size etc. denoted by fifteen. 4 a team
of fifteen players, esp. in Rugby football. 5 (the Fifteen)
hist. the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. 6 (15) Brit. (of films)
classified as suitable for persons of 15 years and over. --adj.
that amount to fifteen. ЬЬfifteenth adj. & n. [OE fiftene (as
fifth n. & adj. --n. 1 the position in a sequence corresponding to
that of the number 5 in the sequence 1-5. 2 something occupying
this position. 3 the fifth person etc. in a race or
competition. 4 any of five equal parts of a thing. 5 Mus. a
an interval or chord spanning five consecutive notes in the
diatonic scale (e.g. C to G). b a note separated from another
by this interval. 6 US colloq. a a fifth of a gallon of
liquor. b a bottle containing this. --adj. that is the fifth.
Ьfifth column a group working for an enemy within a country at
war etc. (from General Mola's reference to such support in
besieged Madrid in 1936). fifth-columnist a member of a fifth
column; a traitor or spy. Fifth Monarchy the last of the five
great kingdoms predicted in Daniel 2:44. Fifth-monarchy-man
hist. a 17th-c. zealot expecting the immediate second coming of
Christ and repudiating all other government. fifth part = sense
3 of n. fifth wheel 1 an extra wheel of a coach. 2 a
superfluous person or thing. 3 a horizontal turntable over the
front axle of a carriage as an extra support to prevent its
tipping. take the fifth (in the US) exercise the right
guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of
refusing to answer questions in order to avoid incriminating
oneself. ЬЬfifthly adv. [earlier and dial. fift f. OE fifta
f. Gmc, assim. to FOURTH]
fifty n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 the product of five and ten. 2 a
symbol for this (50, l, L). 3 (in pl.) the numbers from 50 to
59, esp. the years of a century or of a person's life. 4 a set
of fifty persons or things. 5 a large indefinite number (have
fifty things to tell you). --adj. that amount to fifty.
Ьfifty-fifty adj. equal, with equal shares or chances (on a
fifty-fifty basis). --adv. equally, half and half (go
fifty-fifty). fifty-first, -second , etc. the ordinal numbers
between fiftieth and sixtieth. fifty-one, -two , etc. the
cardinal numbers between fifty and sixty. ЬЬfiftieth adj. & n.
fiftyfold adj. & adv. [OE fiftig (as FIVE, -TY(2))]
fig(1) n. 1 a a soft pear-shaped fruit with many seeds, eaten fresh or
dried. b (in full fig-tree) any deciduous tree of the genus
Ficus, esp. F. carica, having broad leaves and bearing figs. 2
a valueless thing (don't care a fig for). Ьfig-leaf 1 a leaf of
a fig-tree. 2 a device for concealing something, esp. the
genitals (Gen. 3:7). [ME f. OF figue f. Prov. fig(u)a ult. f.
fig(2) n. & v. --n. 1 dress or equipment (in full fig). 2 condition
or form (in good fig). --v.tr. (figged, figging) 1 (foll. by
out) dress up (a person). 2 (foll. by out, up) make (a horse)
lively. [var. of obs. feague (v.) f. G fegen: see FAKE(1)]
fig. abbr. figure.
fight v. & n. --v. (past and past part. fought) 1 intr. (often
foll. by against, with) contend or struggle in war, battle,
single combat, etc. 2 tr. contend with (an opponent) in this
way. 3 tr. take part or engage in (a battle, war, duel, etc.).
4 tr. contend about (an issue, an election); maintain (a
lawsuit, cause, etc.) against an opponent. 5 intr. campaign or
strive determinedly to achieve something. 6 tr. strive to
overcome (disease, fire, fear, etc.). 7 tr. make (one's way) by
fighting. 8 tr. cause (cocks or dogs) to fight. 9 tr. handle
(troops, a ship, etc.) in battle. --n. 1 a a combat, esp.
unpremeditated, between two or more persons, animals, or
parties. b a boxing-match. c a battle. 2 a conflict or
struggle; a vigorous effort in the face of difficulty. 3 power
or inclination to fight (has no fight left; showed fight).
Ьfight back 1 counter-attack. 2 suppress (one's feelings,
tears, etc.). fight down suppress (one's feelings, tears,
etc.). fight for 1 fight on behalf of. 2 fight to secure (a
thing). fighting chair US a fixed chair on a boat for use when
catching large fish. fighting chance an opportunity of
succeeding by great effort. fighting fish (in full Siamese
fighting fish) a freshwater fish, Betta splendens, native to
Thailand, the males of which sometimes kill each other during
fights for territory. fighting fit fit enough to fight; at the
peak of fitness. fighting fund money raised to support a
campaign. fighting-top Naut. a circular gun-platform high on a
warship's mast. fighting words colloq. words indicating a
willingness to fight. fight off repel with effort. fight out
(usu. fight it out) settle (a dispute etc.) by fighting. fight
shy of avoid; be unwilling to approach (a person, task, etc.).
make a fight of it (or put up a fight) offer resistance. [OE
feohtan, feoht(e), f. WG]
fighter n. 1 a person or animal that fights. 2 a fast military
aircraft designed for attacking other aircraft. Ьfighter-bomber
an aircraft serving as both fighter and bomber.
figment n. a thing invented or existing only in the imagination. [ME
f. L figmentum, rel. to fingere fashion]
figura n. 1 a person or thing representing or symbolizing a fact etc.
2 Theol. a type of a person etc. [mod.L f. L, = FIGURE]
figural adj. 1 figurative. 2 relating to figures or shapes. 3 Mus.
florid in style. [OF figural or LL figuralis f. figura FIGURE]
figurant n. (fem. figurante pronunc. same) a ballet-dancer appearing
only in a group. [F, pres. part. of figurer FIGURE]
figurante n. (pl. figuranti) = FIGURANT. [It., pres. part. of figurare
n. 1 a the act of formation. b a mode of formation; a form. c
a shape or outline. 2 a ornamentation by designs. b Mus.
ornamental patterns of scales, arpeggios, etc., often derived
from an earlier motif. 3 allegorical representation. [ME f. F
or f. L figuratio (as FIGURE)]
adj. 1 a metaphorical, not literal. b metaphorically so
called. 2 characterized by or addicted to figures of speech. 3
of pictorial or sculptural representation. 4 emblematic,
serving as a type. ЬЬfiguratively adv. figurativeness n. [ME
f. LL figurativus (as FIGURE)]
figure n. & v. --n. 1 a the external form or shape of a thing. b
bodily shape (has a well-developed figure). 2 a a person as
seen in outline but not identified (saw a figure leaning against
the door). b a person as contemplated mentally (a public
figure). 3 appearance as giving a certain impression (cut a
poor figure). 4 a a representation of the human form in
drawing, sculpture, etc. b an image or likeness. c an emblem
or type. 5 Geom. a two-dimensional space enclosed by a line or
lines, or a three-dimensional space enclosed by a surface or
surfaces; any of the classes of these, e.g. the triangle, the
sphere. 6 a a numerical symbol, esp. any of the ten in Arabic
notation. b a number so expressed. c an amount of money, a
value (cannot put a figure on it). d (in pl.) arithmetical
calculations. 7 a diagram or illustrative drawing. 8 a
decorative pattern. 9 a a division of a set dance, an
evolution. b (in skating) a prescribed pattern of movements
from a stationary position. 10 Mus. a short succession of notes
producing a single impression, a brief melodic or rhythmic
formula out of which longer passages are developed. 11 (in full
figure of speech) a recognized form of rhetorical expression
giving variety, force, etc., esp. metaphor or hyperbole. 12
Gram. a permitted deviation from the usual rules of
construction, e.g. ellipsis. 13 Logic the form of a syllogism,
classified according to the position of the middle term. 14 a
horoscope. --v. 1 intr. appear or be mentioned, esp.
prominently. 2 tr. represent in a diagram or picture. 3 tr.
imagine; picture mentally. 4 tr. a embellish with a pattern
(figured satin). b Mus. embellish with figures. 5 tr. mark
with numbers (figured bass) or prices. 6 a tr. calculate. b
intr. do arithmetic. 7 tr. be a symbol of, represent typically.
8 esp. US a tr. understand, ascertain, consider. b intr.
colloq. be likely or understandable (that figures). Ьfigured
bass Mus. = CONTINUO. figure of fun a ridiculous person.
figure on US count on, expect. figure out 1 work out by
arithmetic or logic. 2 estimate. 3 understand. figure-skater
a person who practises figure-skating. figure-skating skating
in prescribed patterns from a stationary position. ЬЬfigureless
adj. [ME f. OF figure (n.), figurer (v.) f. L figura, figurare,
rel. to fingere fashion]
n. 1 a nominal leader or head without real power. 2 a carving,
usu. a bust or a full-length figure, at a ship's prow.
figurine n. a statuette. [F f. It. figurina dimin. of figura FIGURE]
figwort n. any aromatic green-flowered plant of the genus Scrophularia,
once believed to be useful against scrofula.
filagree var. of FILIGREE.
filament n. 1 a slender threadlike body or fibre (esp. in animal or
vegetable structures). 2 a conducting wire or thread with a
high melting-point in an electric bulb or thermionic valve,
heated or made incandescent by an electric current. 3 Bot. the
part of the stamen that supports the anther. 4 archaic (of air,
light, etc.) a notional train of particles following each other.
ЬЬfilamentary adj. filamented adj. filamentous adj. [F
filament or mod.L filamentum f. LL filare spin f. L filum
filaria n. (pl. filariae) any threadlike parasitic nematode worm of
the family Filariidae introduced into the blood by certain
biting flies and mosquitoes. ЬЬfilarial adj. [mod.L f. L filum
n. a disease common in the tropics, caused by the presence of
filarial worms in the lymph vessels.
filature n. an establishment for or the action of reeling silk from
cocoons. [F f. It. filatura f. filare spin]
filbert n. 1 the cultivated hazel, Corylus maxima, bearing edible ovoid
nuts. 2 this nut. [ME philliberd etc. f. AF philbert, dial. F
noix de filbert, a nut ripe about St Philibert's day (20 Aug.)]
file(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a folder, box, etc., for holding loose papers,
esp. arranged for reference. 2 a set of papers kept in this. 3
Computing a collection of (usu. related) data stored under one
name. 4 a series of issues of a newspaper etc. in order. 5 a
stiff pointed wire on which documents etc. are impaled for
keeping. --v.tr. 1 place (papers) in a file or among (esp.
public) records. 2 submit (a petition for divorce, an
application for a patent, etc.) to the appropriate authority. 3
(of a reporter) send (a story, information, etc.) to a
newspaper. Ьfiling cabinet a case with drawers for storing
documents. ЬЬfiler n. [F fil f. L filum thread]
file(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a line of persons or things one behind another.
2 (foll. by of) Mil. a small detachment of men (now usu. two).
3 Chess a line of squares from player to player (cf. RANK(1)).
--v.intr. walk in a file. Ьfile off (or away) Mil. go off by
files. [F file f. LL filare spin or L filum thread]
file(3) n. & v. --n. a tool with a roughened surface or surfaces, usu.
of steel, for smoothing or shaping wood, fingernails, etc.
--v.tr. 1 smooth or shape with a file. 2 elaborate or improve
(a thing, esp. a literary work). Ьfile away remove (roughness
etc.) with a file. file-fish any fish of the family
Ostracionidae, with sharp dorsal fins and usu. bright
coloration. ЬЬfiler n. [OE fil f. WG]
filet n. 1 a kind of net or lace with a square mesh. 2 a fillet of
meat. Ьfilet mignon a small tender piece of beef from the end
of the undercut. [F, = thread]
filial adj. 1 of or due from a son or daughter. 2 Biol. bearing the
relation of offspring (cf. F(2) 5). ЬЬfilially adv. [ME f. OF
filial or LL filialis f. filius son, filia daughter]
filiation n. 1 being the child of one or two specified parents. 2 (often
foll. by from) descent or transmission. 3 the formation of
offshoots. 4 a branch of a society or language. 5 a
genealogical relation or arrangement. [F f. LL filiatio -onis
f. L filius son]
filibeg n. (also philabeg) Sc. a kilt. [Gael. feileadh-beag little
n. & v. --n. 1 a the obstruction of progress in a legislative
assembly, esp. by prolonged speaking. b esp. US a person who
engages in a filibuster. 2 esp. hist. a person engaging in
unauthorized warfare against a foreign State. --v. 1 intr. act
as a filibuster. 2 tr. act in this way against (a motion etc.).
ЬЬfilibusterer n. [ult. f. Du. vrijbuiter FREEBOOTER, infl. by
F flibustier, Sp. filibustero]
filigree n. (also filagree) 1 ornamental work of gold or silver or
copper as fine wire formed into delicate tracery; fine metal
openwork. 2 anything delicate resembling this. ЬЬfiligreed
adj. [earlier filigreen, filigrane f. F filigrane f. It.
filigrana f. L filum thread + granum seed]
filing n. (usu. in pl.) a particle rubbed off by a file.
Filipino n. & adj. --n. (pl. -os; fem. Filipina) a native or national
of the Philippines, a group of islands in the SW Pacific.
--adj. of or relating to the Philippines or the Filipinos.
[Sp., = Philippine]
fill v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by with) make or
become full. 2 tr. occupy completely; spread over or through;
pervade. 3 tr. block up (a cavity or hole in a tooth) with
cement, amalgam, gold, etc.; drill and put a filling into (a
decayed tooth). 4 tr. appoint a person to hold (a vacant post).
5 tr. hold (a position); discharge the duties of (an office). 6
tr. carry out or supply (an order, commission, etc.). 7 tr.
occupy (vacant time). 8 intr. (of a sail) be distended by wind.
9 tr. (usu. as filling adj.) (esp. of food) satisfy, satiate.
10 tr. Poker etc. complete (a holding) by drawing the necessary
cards. 11 tr. stock abundantly. --n. 1 (prec. by possessive)
as much as one wants or can bear (eat your fill). 2 enough to
fill something (a fill of tobacco). 3 earth etc. used to fill a
cavity. Ьfill the bill be suitable or adequate. fill in 1 add
information to complete (a form, document, blank cheque, etc.).
2 a complete (a drawing etc.) within an outline. b fill (an
outline) in this way. 3 fill (a hole etc.) completely. 4
(often foll. by for) act as a substitute. 5 occupy oneself
during (time between other activities). 6 colloq. inform (a
person) more fully. 7 sl. thrash, beat. fill out 1 enlarge to
the required size. 2 become enlarged or plump. 3 US fill in (a
document etc.). fill up 1 make or become completely full. 2
fill in (a document etc.). 3 fill the petrol tank of (a car
etc.). 4 provide what is needed to occupy vacant parts or
places or deal with deficiencies in. 5 do away with (a pond
etc.) by filling. fill-up n. a thing that fills something up.
[OE fyllan f. Gmc, rel. to FULL(1)]
fille de joie
n. a prostitute. [F, lit. 'daughter of joy']
filler n. 1 material or an object used to fill a cavity or increase
bulk. 2 an item filling space in a newspaper etc. 3 a person
or thing that fills. Ьfiller cap a cap closing the filling-pipe
leading to the petrol tank of a motor vehicle.
fillet n. & v. --n. 1 a a fleshy boneless piece of meat from near the
loins or the ribs. b (in full fillet steak) the undercut of a
sirloin. c a boned longitudinal section of a fish. 2 a a
headband, ribbon, string, or narrow band, for binding the hair
or worn round the head. b a band or bandage. 3 a a thin narrow
strip of anything. b a raised rim or ridge on any surface. 4
Archit. a a narrow flat band separating two mouldings. b a
small band between the flutes of a column. 5 Carpentry an added
triangular piece of wood to round off an interior angle. 6 a a
plain line impressed on the cover of a book. b a roller used to
impress this. 7 Heraldry a horizontal division of a shield, a
quarter of the depth of a chief. --v.tr. (filleted, filleting)
1 a remove bones from (fish or meat). b divide (fish or meat)
into fillets. 2 bind or provide with a fillet or fillets. 3
encircle with an ornamental band. ЬЬfilleter n. [ME f. OF
filet f. Rmc dimin. of L filum thread]
filling n. 1 any material that fills or is used to fill, esp.: a a
piece of material used to fill a cavity in a tooth. b the
edible substance between the bread in a sandwich or between the
pastry in a pie. 2 US weft. Ьfilling-station an establishment
selling petrol etc. to motorists.
fillip n. & v. --n. 1 a stimulus or incentive. 2 a a sudden release
of a finger or thumb when it has been bent and checked by a
thumb or finger. b a slight smart stroke given in this way.
--v. (filliped, filliping) 1 tr. stimulate (fillip one's
memory). 2 tr. strike slightly and smartly. 3 tr. propel (a
coin, marble, etc.) with a fillip. 4 intr. make a fillip.
fillis n. Hort. loosely-twisted string used as a tying material. [F
fillister n. a rabbet or rabbet plane for window-sashes etc. [19th c.:
perh. f. F feuilleret]
filly n. (pl. -ies) 1 a young female horse, usu. before it is four
years old. 2 colloq. a girl or young woman. [ME, prob. f. ON
fylja f. Gmc (as FOAL)]
film n. & v. --n. 1 a thin coating or covering layer. 2 Photog. a
strip or sheet of plastic or other flexible base coated with
light-sensitive emulsion for exposure in a camera, either as
individual visual representations or as a sequence which form
the illusion of movement when shown in rapid succession. 3 a a
representation of a story, episode, etc., on a film, with the
illusion of movement. b a story represented in this way. c (in
pl.) the cinema industry. 4 a slight veil or haze etc. 5 a
dimness or morbid growth affecting the eyes. 6 a fine thread or
filament . --v. 1 a tr. make a photographic film of (a scene,
person, etc.). b tr. (also absol.) make a cinema or television
film of (a book etc.). c intr. be (well or ill) suited for
reproduction on film. 2 tr. & intr. cover or become covered
with or as with a film. Ьfilm-goer a person who frequents the
cinema. film star a celebrated actor or actress in films.
film-strip a series of transparencies in a strip for projection.
[OE filmen membrane f. WG, rel. to FELL(5)]
filmic adj. of or relating to films or cinematography.
n. (pl. -ies) a list of films by one director etc. or on one
subject. [FILM + -GRAPHY after bibliography]
filmset v.tr. (-setting; past and past part. -set) Printing set
(material for printing) by filmsetting. ЬЬfilmsetter n.
n. Printing typesetting using characters on photographic film.
filmy adj. (filmier, filmiest) 1 thin and translucent. 2 covered
with or as with a film. ЬЬfilmily adv. filminess n.
Filofax n. propr. a portable loose-leaf filing system for personal or
office use. [FILE(1) + facts pl. of FACT]
filoselle n. floss silk. [F]
fils n. (added to a surname to distinguish a son from a father) the
son, junior (cf. P°RE). [F, = son]
filter n. & v. --n. 1 a porous device for removing impurities or
solid particles from a liquid or gas passed through it. 2 =
filter tip. 3 a screen or attachment for absorbing or modifying
light, X-rays, etc. 4 a device for suppressing electrical or
sound waves of frequencies not required. 5 Brit. a an
arrangement for filtering traffic. b a traffic-light signalling
this. --v.intr. & tr. 1 pass or cause to pass through a
filter. 2 (foll. by through, into, etc.) make way gradually. 3
(foll. by out) leak or cause to leak. 4 Brit. allow (traffic)
or (of traffic) be allowed to pass to the left or right at a
junction while traffic going straight ahead is halted (esp. at
traffic lights). Ьfilter-bed a tank or pond containing a layer
of sand etc. for filtering large quantities of liquid.
filter-paper porous paper for filtering. filter tip 1 a filter
attached to a cigarette for removing impurities from the inhaled
smoke. 2 a cigarette with this. filter-tipped having a filter
tip. [F filtre f. med.L filtrum felt used as a filter, f. WG]
adj. (also filtrable) 1 Med. (of a virus) able to pass through
a filter that retains bacteria. 2 that can be filtered.
filth n. 1 repugnant or extreme dirt. 2 vileness, corruption,
obscenity. 3 foul or obscene language. 4 (prec. by the) sl.
the police. [OE fylth (as FOUL, -TH(2))]
filtrate v. & n. --v.tr. filter. --n. filtered liquid. ЬЬfiltration n.
[mod.L filtrare (as FILTER)]
fimbriate adj. (also fimbriated) 1 Bot. & Zool. fringed or bordered with
hairs etc. 2 Heraldry having a narrow border. [L fimbriatus f.
fin n. & v. --n. 1 an organ on various parts of the body of many
aquatic vertebrates and some invertebrates, including fish and
cetaceans, for propelling, steering, and balancing (dorsal fin;
anal fin). 2 a small projecting surface or attachment on an
aircraft, rocket, or motor car for ensuring aerodynamic
stability. 3 an underwater swimmer's flipper. 4 a sharp
lateral projection on the share or coulter of a plough. 5 a
finlike projection on any device, for improving heat transfer
etc. --v. (finned, finning) 1 tr. provide with fins. 2 intr.
swim under water. Ьfin-back (or fin whale) a rorqual,
Balaenoptera physalus. ЬЬfinless adj. finned adj. (also in
comb.). [OE fin(n)]
finable see FINE(2).
finagle v.intr. & tr. colloq. act or obtain dishonestly. ЬЬfinagler
n. [dial. fainaigue cheat]
final adj. & n. --adj. 1 situated at the end, coming last. 2
conclusive, decisive, unalterable, putting an end to doubt. 3
concerned with the purpose or end aimed at. --n. 1 the last or
deciding heat or game in sports or in a competition (Cup Final).
2 the edition of a newspaper published latest in the day. 3
(usu. in pl.) the series of examinations at the end of a degree
course. 4 Mus. the principal note in any mode. Ьfinal cause
Philos. the end towards which a thing naturally develops or at
which an action aims. final clause Gram. a clause expressing
purpose, introduced by in order that, lest, etc. final drive
the last part of the transmission system in a motor vehicle.
final solution the Nazi policy (1941-5) of exterminating
European Jews. ЬЬfinally adv. [ME f. OF or f. L finalis f.
finale n. 1 a the last movement of an instrumental composition. b a
piece of music closing an act in an opera. 2 the close of a
drama etc. 3 a conclusion. [It. (as FINAL)]
finalism n. the doctrine that natural processes (e.g. evolution) are
directed towards some goal. ЬЬfinalistic adj.
finalist n. a competitor in the final of a competition etc.
finality n. (pl. -ies) 1 the quality or fact of being final. 2 the
belief that something is final. 3 a final act, state, or
utterance. 4 the principle of final cause viewed as operative
in the universe. [F finalit‚ f. LL finalitas -tatis (as FINAL)]
finalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 put into final form. 2 complete; bring to
an end. 3 approve the final form or details of. ЬЬfinalization
finance n. & v. --n. 1 the management of (esp. public) money. 2
monetary support for an enterprise. 3 (in pl.) the money
resources of a State, company, or person. --v.tr. provide
capital for (a person or enterprise). Ьfinance company (or
house) a company concerned mainly with providing money for
hire-purchase transactions. [ME f. OF f. finer settle a debt
f. fin end: see FINE(2)]
financial adj. 1 of finance. 2 Austral. & NZ sl. possessing money.
Ьfinancial year a year as reckoned for taxing or accounting
(e.g. the British tax year, reckoned from 6 April).
financier n. & v. --n. a person engaged in large-scale finance.
--v.intr. usu. derog. conduct financial operations. [F (as
finch n. any small seed-eating passerine bird of the family
Fringillidae (esp. one of the genus Fringilla), including
crossbills, canaries, and chaffinches. [OE finc f. WG]
find v. & n. --v.tr. (past and past part. found) 1 a discover by
chance or effort (found a key). b become aware of. c (absol.)
discover game, esp. a fox. 2 a get possession of by chance
(found a treasure). b obtain, receive (idea found acceptance).
c succeed in obtaining (cannot find the money; can't find time
to read). d summon up (found courage to protest). e sl. steal.
3 a seek out and provide (will find you a book). b supply,
furnish (each finds his own equipment). 4 ascertain by study or
calculation or inquiry (could not find the answer). 5 a
perceive or experience (find no sense in it; find difficulty in
breathing). b (often in passive) recognize or discover to be
present (the word is not found in Shakespeare). c regard or
discover from experience (finds England too cold; you'll find it
pays; find it impossible to reply). 6 Law (of a jury, judge,
etc.) decide and declare (found him guilty; found that he had
done it; found it murder). 7 reach by a natural or normal
process (water finds its own level). 8 a (of a letter) reach (a
person). b (of an address) be adequate to enable a letter etc.
to reach (a person). 9 archaic reach the conscience of. --n.
1 a a discovery of treasure, minerals, etc. b Hunting the
finding of a fox. 2 a thing or person discovered, esp. when of
value. Ьall found (of an employee's wages) with board and
lodging provided free. find against Law decide against (a
person), judge to be guilty. find fault see FAULT. find favour
prove acceptable. find one's feet 1 become able to walk. 2
develop one's independent ability. find for Law decide in
favour of (a person), judge to be innocent. find it in one's
heart (esp. with neg.; foll. by to + infin.) prevail upon
oneself, be willing. find oneself 1 discover that one is (woke
to find myself in hospital; found herself agreeing). 2 discover
one's vocation. 3 provide for one's own needs. find out 1
discover or detect (a wrongdoer etc.). 2 (often foll. by about)
get information (find out about holidays abroad). 3 discover
(find out where we are). 4 (often foll. by about) discover the
truth, a fact, etc. (he never found out). 5 devise. 6 solve.
find-spot Archaeol. the place where an object is found. find
one's way 1 (often foll. by to) manage to reach a place. 2
(often foll. by into) be brought or get. ЬЬfindable adj. [OE
findan f. Gmc]
finder n. 1 a person who finds. 2 a small telescope attached to a
large one to locate an object for observation. 3 the viewfinder
of a camera. Ьfinders keepers colloq. whoever finds a thing is
entitled to keep it.
fin de siЉcle
adj. 1 characteristic of the end of the nineteenth century. 2
decadent. [F, = end of century]
finding n. 1 (often in pl.) a conclusion reached by an inquiry. 2 (in
pl.) US small parts or tools used by workmen.
fine(1) adj., n., adv., & v. --adj. 1 of high quality. 2 a excellent;
of notable merit (a fine painting). b good, satisfactory (that
will be fine). c fortunate (has been a fine thing for him). d
well conceived or expressed (a fine saying). 3 a pure, refined.
b (of gold or silver) containing a specified proportion of pure
metal. 4 of handsome appearance or size; imposing, dignified
(fine buildings; a person of fine presence). 5 in good health
(I'm fine, thank you). 6 (of weather etc.) bright and clear
with sunshine; free from rain. 7 a thin; sharp. b in small
particles. c worked in slender thread. d (esp. of print)
small. e (of a pen) narrow-pointed. 8 Cricket behind the
wicket and near the line of flight of the ball. 9 tritely
complimentary; euphemistic (say fine things about a person; call
things by fine names). 10 ornate, showy, smart. 11 fastidious,
dainty, pretending refinement; (of speech or writing) affectedly
ornate. 12 a capable of delicate perception or discrimination.
b perceptible only with difficulty (a fine distinction). 13 a
delicate, subtle, exquisitely fashioned. b (of feelings)
refined, elevated. 14 (of wine or other goods) of a high
standard; conforming to a specified grade. --n. 1 fine weather
(in rain or fine). 2 (in pl.) very small particles in mining,
milling, etc. --adv. 1 finely. 2 colloq. very well (suits me
fine). --v. 1 (often foll. by down) a tr. make (beer or wine)
clear. b intr. (of liquid) become clear. 2 tr. & intr. (often
foll. by away, down, off) make or become finer, thinner, or less
coarse; dwindle or taper, or cause to do so. Ьcut (or run) it
fine allow very little margin of time etc. fine arts those
appealing to the mind or to the sense of beauty, as poetry,
music, and esp. painting, sculpture, and architecture. fine
chemicals see CHEMICAL. fine-draw sew together (two pieces of
cloth, edges of a tear, parts of a garment) so that the join is
imperceptible. fine-drawn 1 extremely thin. 2 subtle. fine
print detailed printed information, esp. in legal documents,
instructions, etc. fine-spun 1 delicate. 2 (of a theory etc.)
too subtle, unpractical. fine-tooth comb a comb with narrow
close-set teeth. fine-tune make small adjustments to (a
mechanism etc.) in order to obtain the best possible results.
fine up Austral. colloq. (of the weather) become fine. go
over with a fine-tooth comb check or search thoroughly. not to
put too fine a point on it (as a parenthetic remark) to speak
bluntly. ЬЬfinely adv. fineness n. [ME f. OF fin ult. f. L
fine(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a sum of money exacted as a penalty. 2 hist. a
sum of money paid by an incoming tenant in return for the rent's
being small. --v.tr. punish by a fine (fined him њ5). Ьin fine
to sum up; in short. ЬЬfinable adj. [ME f. OF fin f. med.L
finis sum paid on settling a lawsuit f. L finis end]
fine(3) n. = FINE CHAMPAGNE. [abbr.]
n. old liqueur brandy. [F, = fine (brandy from) Champagne
(vineyards in Charente)]
finery(1) n. showy dress or decoration. [FINE(1) + -ERY, after BRAVERY]
finery(2) n. (pl. -ies) hist. a hearth where pig iron was converted
into wrought iron. [F finerie f. finer refine, FINE(1)]
n.pl. mixed herbs used in cooking, esp. chopped as
omelette-flavouring. [F, = fine herbs]
finesse n. & v. --n. 1 refinement. 2 subtle or delicate manipulation.
3 artfulness, esp. in handling a difficulty tactfully. 4 Cards
an attempt to win a trick with a card that is not the highest
held. --v. 1 intr. & tr. use or achieve by finesse. 2 Cards a
intr. make a finesse. b tr. play (a card) by way of finesse. 3
tr. evade or trick by finesse. [F, rel. to FINE(1)]
finger n. & v. --n. 1 any of the terminal projections of the hand
(including or excluding the thumb). 2 the part of a glove etc.
intended to cover a finger. 3 a a finger-like object (fish
finger). b a long narrow structure. 4 colloq. a measure of
liquor in a glass, based on the breadth of a finger. 5 sl. a
an informer. b a pickpocket. c a policeman. --v.tr. 1 touch,
feel, or turn about with the fingers. 2 Mus. a play (a
passage) with fingers used in a particular way. b mark (music)
with signs showing which fingers are to be used. c play upon
(an instrument) with the fingers. 3 US sl. indicate (a victim,
or a criminal to the police). Ьall fingers and thumbs clumsy.
finger alphabet a form of sign language using the fingers.
finger-board a flat strip at the top end of a stringed
instrument, against which the strings are pressed to determine
tones. finger-bowl (or -glass) a small bowl for rinsing the
fingers during a meal. finger language language expressed by
means of the finger alphabet. finger-mark a mark left on a
surface by a finger. finger-paint n. paint that can be applied
with the fingers. --v.intr. apply paint with the fingers.
finger-plate a plate fixed to a door above the handle to prevent
finger-marks. finger-post a signpost at a road junction. one's
fingers itch (often foll. by to + infin.) one is longing or
impatient. finger-stall a cover to protect a finger, esp. when
injured. get (or pull) one's finger out sl. cease
prevaricating and start to act. have a finger in the pie be
(esp. officiously) concerned in the matter. lay a finger on
touch however slightly. put one's finger on locate or identify
exactly. put the finger on sl. 1 inform against. 2 identify
(an intended victim). twist (or wind) round one's finger (or
little finger) persuade (a person) without difficulty, dominate
(a person) completely. work one's fingers to the bone see BONE.
ЬЬfingered adj. (also in comb.). fingerless adj. [OE f. Gmc]
n. 1 a manner or technique of using the fingers, esp. to play
an instrument. 2 an indication of this in a musical score.
n. fine wool for knitting. [earlier fingram, perh. f. F fin
grain, as GROGRAM f. gros grain]
n. a parr.
n. the nail at the tip of each finger.
n. & v. --n. 1 an impression made on a surface by the
fingertips, esp. as used for identifying individuals. 2 a
distinctive characteristic. --v.tr. record the fingerprints of
fingertip n. the tip of a finger. Ьhave at one's fingertips be
thoroughly familiar with (a subject etc.).
finial n. Archit. 1 an ornament finishing off the apex of a roof,
pediment, gable, tower-corner, canopy, etc. 2 the topmost part
of a pinnacle. [ME f. OF fin f. L finis end]
finical adj. = FINICKY. ЬЬfinicality n. finically adv. finicalness
n. [16th c.: prob. orig. university sl. f. FINE(1) + -ICAL]
finicking adj. = FINICKY. [FINICAL + -ING(2)]
finicky adj. 1 over-particular, fastidious. 2 needing much attention
to detail; fiddly. ЬЬfinickiness n.
finis n. 1 (at the end of a book) the end. 2 the end of anything,
esp. of life. [L]
finish v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a (often foll. by off) bring to an end;
come to the end of; complete. b (usu. foll. by off) colloq.
kill; overcome completely. c (often foll. by off, up) consume
or get through the whole or the remainder of (food or drink)
(finish up your dinner). 2 intr. a come to an end, cease. b
reach the end, esp. of a race. c = finish up. 3 tr. a
complete the manufacture of (cloth, woodwork, etc.) by surface
treatment. b put the final touches to; make perfect or highly
accomplished (finished manners). c prepare (a girl) for entry
into fashionable society. --n. 1 a the end, the last stage. b
the point at which a race etc. ends. c the death of a fox in a
hunt (be in at the finish). 2 a method, material, or texture
used for surface treatment of wood, cloth, etc. (mahogany
finish). 3 what serves to give completeness. 4 an accomplished
or completed state. Ьfight to a finish fight till one party is
completely beaten. finishing-school a private college where
girls are prepared for entry into fashionable society. finish
off provide with an ending. finish up (often foll. by in, by)
end in something, end by doing something (he finished up last in
the race; the plan finished up in the waste-paper basket;
finished up by apologizing). finish with have no more to do
with, complete one's use of or association with. [ME f. OF
fenir f. L finire f. finis end]
finisher n. 1 a person who finishes something. 2 a worker or machine
doing the last operation in manufacture. 3 colloq. a
discomfiting thing, a crushing blow, etc.
finite adj. 1 limited, bounded; not infinite. 2 Gram. (of a part of a
verb) having a specific number and person. 3 not infinitely
small. ЬЬfinitely adv. finiteness n. finitude n. [L finitus
past part. of finire FINISH]
finitism n. belief in the finiteness of the world, God, etc. ЬЬfinitist
fink n. & v. US sl. --n. 1 an unpleasant person. 2 an informer.
3 a strikebreaker; a blackleg. --v.intr. (foll. by on) inform
on. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
Finn n. a native or national of Finland; a person of Finnish
descent. [OE Finnas pl.]
finnan n. (in full finnan haddock) a haddock cured with the smoke of
green wood, turf, or peat. [Findhorn or Findon in Scotland]
finnesko n. (pl. same) a boot of tanned reindeer-skin with the hair on
the outside. [Norw. finnsko (as FINN, sko SHOE)]
Finnic adj. 1 of the group of peoples related to the Finns. 2 of the
group of languages related to Finnish.
Finnish adj. & n. --adj. of the Finns or their language. --n. the
language of the Finns.
adj. & n. (also Finno-Ugrian) --adj. belonging to the group of
Ural-Altaic languages including Finnish, Estonian, Lapp, and
Magyar. --n. this group.
finny adj. 1 having fins; like a fin. 2 poet. of or teeming with
fino n. (pl. -os) a light-coloured dry sherry. [Sp., = fine]
fiord n. (also fjord) a long narrow inlet of sea between high cliffs,
as in Norway. [Norw. f. ON fj”rthr f. Gmc: cf. FIRTH, FORD]
fioritura n. (pl. fioriture pronunc. same) Mus. the usu. improvised
decoration of a melody. [It., = flowering f. fiorire to
fipple n. a plug at the mouth-end of a wind instrument. Ьfipple flute
a flute played by blowing endwise, e.g. a recorder. [17th c.:
fir n. 1 (in full fir-tree) any evergreen coniferous tree, esp. of
the genus Abies, with needles borne singly on the stems (cf.
PINE(1)). 2 the wood of the fir. Ьfir-cone the fruit of the
fir. ЬЬfirry adj. [ME, prob. f. ON fyri- f. Gmc]
fire n. & v. --n. 1 a the state or process of combustion, in which
substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and usu.
give out bright light and heat. b the active principle
operative in this. c flame or incandescence. 2 a
conflagration, a destructive burning (forest fire). 3 a burning
fuel in a grate, furnace, etc. b = electric fire. c = gas
fire. 4 firing of guns. 5 a fervour, spirit, vivacity. b
poetic inspiration, lively imagination. c vehement emotion. 6
burning heat, fever. 7 luminosity, glow (St Elmo's fire). --v.
1 a tr. discharge (a gun etc.). b tr. propel (a missile) from a
gun etc. c intr. (often foll. by at, into, on) fire a gun or
missile. d tr. produce (a broadside, salute, etc.) by discharge
of guns. e intr. (of a gun etc.) be discharged. 2 tr. cause
(explosive) to explode. 3 tr. deliver or utter in rapid
succession (fired insults at us). 4 tr. sl. dismiss (an
employee) from a job. 5 tr. a set fire to with the intention
of destroying. b kindle (explosives). 6 intr. catch fire. 7
intr. (of an internal-combustion engine, or a cylinder in one)
undergo ignition of its fuel. 8 tr. supply (a furnace, engine,
boiler, or power station) with fuel. 9 tr. a stimulate (the
imagination). b fill (a person) with enthusiasm. 10 tr. a
bake or dry (pottery, bricks, etc.). b cure (tea or tobacco) by
artificial heat. 11 intr. become heated or excited. 12 tr.
cause to glow or redden. Ьcatch fire begin to burn. fire-alarm
a device for giving warning of fire. fire and brimstone the
supposed torments of hell. fire away colloq. begin; go ahead.
fire-ball 1 a large meteor. 2 a ball of flame, esp. from a
nuclear explosion. 3 an energetic person. 4 ball lightning. 5
Mil. hist. a ball filled with combustibles. fire-balloon a
balloon made buoyant by the heat of a fire burning at its mouth.
fire-blight a disease of plants, esp. hops and fruit trees,
causing a scorched appearance. fire-bomb an incendiary bomb.
fire-break an obstacle to the spread of fire in a forest etc.,
esp. an open space. fire-brick a fireproof brick used in a
grate. fire brigade esp. Brit. an organized body of firemen
trained and employed to extinguish fires. fire-bug colloq. a
pyromaniac. fire company 1 = fire brigade. 2 a fire-insurance
company. fire-control a system of regulating the fire of a
ship's or a fort's guns. fire department US = fire brigade.
fire door a fire-resistant door to prevent the spread of fire.
fire-drake (in Germanic mythology) a fiery dragon. fire-drill 1
a rehearsal of the procedures to be used in case of fire. 2 a
primitive device for kindling fire with a stick and wood.
fire-eater 1 a conjuror who appears to swallow fire. 2 a person
fond of quarrelling or fighting. fire-engine a vehicle carrying
equipment for fighting large fires. fire-escape an emergency
staircase or apparatus for escape from a building on fire. fire
extinguisher an apparatus with a jet for discharging liquid
chemicals, water, or foam to extinguish a fire. fire-fighter a
person whose task is to extinguish fires. fire-guard 1 a
protective screen or grid placed in front of a fireplace. 2 US
a fire-watcher. 3 US a fire-break. fire-hose a hose-pipe used
in extinguishing fires. fire-irons tongs, poker, and shovel,
for tending a domestic fire. fire-lighter Brit. a piece of
inflammable material to help start a fire in a grate.
fire-office a fire-insurance company. fire-opal girasol.
fire-plug a hydrant for a fire-hose. fire-power 1 the
destructive capacity of guns etc. 2 financial, intellectual, or
emotional strength. fire-practice a fire-drill. fire-raiser
Brit. an arsonist. fire-raising Brit. arson. fire-screen 1 a
screen to keep off the direct heat of a fire. 2 a fire-guard.
3 an ornamental screen for a fireplace. fire-ship hist. a ship
loaded with combustibles and sent adrift to ignite an enemy's
ships etc. fire station the headquarters of a fire brigade.
fire-step = firing-step. fire-stone stone that resists fire,
used for furnaces etc. fire-storm a high wind or storm
following a fire caused by bombs. fire-tongs tongs for picking
up pieces of coal etc. in tending a fire. fire-trap a building
without proper provision for escape in case of fire. fire up
show sudden anger. fire-walking the (often ceremonial) practice
of walking barefoot over white-hot stones, wood-ashes, etc.
fire warden US a person employed to prevent or extinguish fires.
fire-watcher a person keeping watch for fires, esp. those caused
by bombs. fire-water colloq. strong alcoholic liquor. go on
fire Sc. & Ir. catch fire. go through fire and water face all
perils. on fire 1 burning. 2 excited. set fire to (or set on
fire) ignite, kindle, cause to burn. set the world (or Thames)
on fire do something remarkable or sensational. take fire catch
fire. under fire 1 being shot at. 2 being rigorously
criticized or questioned. ЬЬfireless adj. firer n. [OE fyr,
fyrian, f. WG]
firearm n. (usu. in pl.) a gun, esp. a pistol or rifle.
fireback n. 1 a the back wall of a fireplace. b an iron sheet for this.
2 a SE Asian pheasant of the genus Lophura.
firebox n. the fuel-chamber of a steam engine or boiler.
firebrand n. 1 a piece of burning wood. 2 a cause of trouble, esp. a
person causing unrest.
fireclay n. clay capable of withstanding high temperatures, often used
to make fire-bricks.
n. US an explosive firework.
firecrest n. a warbler, Regulus ignicapillus, with red and orange crown
feathers which may be erected.
firedamp n. a miners' name for methane, which is explosive when mixed in
certain proportions with air.
firedog n. a metal support for burning wood or for a grate or
firefly n. (pl. -flies) any soft-bodied beetle of the family
Lampyridae, emitting phosphorescent light, including glow-worms.
firehouse n. US a fire station.
firelight n. light from a fire in a fireplace. [OE fyr-leoht (as FIRE,
firelock n. hist. a musket in which the priming was ignited by sparks.
fireman n. (pl. -men) 1 a member of a fire brigade; a person employed
to extinguish fires. 2 a person who tends a furnace or the fire
of a steam engine or steamship.
fireplace n. Archit. 1 a place for a domestic fire, esp. a grate or
hearth at the base of a chimney. 2 a structure surrounding
this. 3 the area in front of this.
fireproof adj. & v. --adj. able to resist fire or great heat. --v.tr.
fireside n. 1 the area round a fireplace. 2 a person's home or
home-life. Ьfireside chat an informal talk.
firewood n. wood for use as fuel.
firework n. 1 a device containing combustible chemicals that cause
explosions or spectacular effects. 2 (in pl.) a an outburst of
passion, esp. anger. b a display of wit or brilliance.
firing n. 1 the discharging of guns. 2 material for a fire, fuel. 3
the heating process which hardens clay into pottery etc.
Ьfiring-line 1 the front line in a battle. 2 the leading part
in an activity etc. firing-party a group detailed to fire the
salute at a military funeral. firing-squad 1 a group detailed
to shoot a condemned person. 2 a firing-party. firing-step a
step on which soldiers in a trench stand to fire.
firkin n. 1 a small cask for liquids, butter, fish, etc. 2 Brit. (as
a measure) half a kilderkin (8 or 9 gallons). [ME ferdekyn,
prob. f. MDu. vierdekijn (unrecorded) dimin. of vierde fourth]
firm(1) adj., adv., & v. --adj. 1 a of solid or compact structure. b
fixed, stable. c steady; not shaking. 2 a resolute,
determined. b not easily shaken (firm belief). c steadfast,
constant (a firm friend). 3 a (of an offer etc.) not liable to
cancellation after acceptance. b (of a decree, law, etc.)
established, immutable. 4 Commerce (of prices or goods)
maintaining their level or value. --adv. firmly (stand firm;
hold firm to). --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become firm, secure,
compact, or solid. 2 tr. fix (plants) firmly in the soil.
ЬЬfirmly adv. firmness n. [ME f. OF ferme f. L firmus]
firm(2) n. 1 a a business concern. b the partners in such a concern.
2 a group of persons working together, esp. of hospital doctors
and assistants. [earlier = signature, style: Sp. & It. firma
f. med.L, f. L firmare confirm f. firmus FIRM(1)]
firmament n. literary the sky regarded as a vault or arch. ЬЬfirmamental
adj. [ME f. OF f. L firmamentum f. firmare (as FIRM(2))]
firman n. 1 an oriental sovereign's edict. 2 a grant or permit.
[Pers. ferman, Skr. pramanam right measure]
firmware n. Computing a permanent kind of software programmed into a
firry see FIR.
first adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 a earliest in time or order. b
coming next after a specified or implied time (shall take the
first train; the first cuckoo). 2 foremost in position, rank,
or importance (First Lord of the Treasury; first mate). 3 Mus.
performing the highest or chief of two or more parts for the
same instrument or voice. 4 most willing or likely (should be
the first to admit the difficulty). 5 basic or evident (first
principles). --n. 1 (prec. by the) the person or thing first
mentioned or occurring. 2 the first occurrence of something
notable. 3 a a place in the first class in an examination. b a
person having this. 4 the first day of a month. 5 first gear.
6 a first place in a race. b the winner of this. 7 (in pl.)
goods of the best quality. --adv. 1 before any other person or
thing (first of all; first and foremost; first come first
served). 2 before someone or something else (must get this done
first). 3 for the first time (when did you first see her?). 4
in preference; rather (will see him damned first). 5
first-class (I usually travel first). Ьat first at the
beginning. at first hand directly from the original source.
first aid help given to an injured person until proper medical
treatment is available. first and last taking one thing with
another, on the whole. first blood see BLOOD. first-born adj.
eldest. --n. the eldest child of a person. First Cause the
Creator of the universe. first class 1 a set of persons or
things grouped together as the best. 2 the best accommodation
in a train, ship, etc. 3 the class of mail given priority in
handling. 4 a the highest division in an examination list. b a
place in this. first-class adj. 1 belonging to or travelling
by the first class. 2 of the best quality; very good. --adv.
by the first class (travels first-class). first cousin see
COUSIN. first-day cover an envelope with stamps postmarked on
their first day of issue. first-degree Med. denoting burns
that affect only the surface of the skin, causing reddening.
first finger the finger next to the thumb. first floor see
FLOOR. first-foot Sc. n. the first person to cross a
threshold in the New Year. --v.intr. be a first-foot.
first-fruit (usu. in pl.) 1 the first agricultural produce of a
season, esp. as offered to God. 2 the first results of work
etc. 3 hist. a payment to a superior by the new holder of an
office. first gear see GEAR. first intention see INTENTION.
First Lady (in the US) the wife of the President. first lesson
the first of several passages from the Bible read at a service
in the Church of England. first lieutenant US an army or air
force officer next below captain. first light the time when
light first appears in the morning. first mate (on a merchant
ship) the officer second in command to the master. first name a
personal or Christian name. first night the first public
performance of a play etc. first-nighter a habitual attender of
first nights. first off US colloq. at first, first of all.
first offender a criminal against whom no previous conviction is
recorded. first officer the mate on a merchant ship. first or
last sooner or later. first past the post 1 winning a race etc.
by being the first to reach the finishing line. 2 (of an
electoral system) selecting a candidate or party by simple
majority (see also proportional representation, single
transferable vote). first person see PERSON. first post see
POST(3). first-rate adj. of the highest class, excellent.
--adv. colloq. 1 very well (feeling first-rate). 2
excellently. first reading the occasion when a Bill is
presented to a legislature to permit its introduction. first
refusal see REFUSAL. first school Brit. a school for children
from 5 to 9 years old. first sergeant US the highest-ranking
non-commissioned officer in a company. first-strike denoting a
first aggressive attack with nuclear weapons. first thing
colloq. before anything else; very early in the morning (shall
do it first thing). the first thing even the most elementary
fact or principle (does not know the first thing about it).
first things first the most important things before any others
(we must do first things first). first up Austral. first of
all; at the first attempt. from the first from the beginning.
from first to last throughout. get to first base US achieve the
first step towards an objective. in the first place as the
first consideration. of the first water see WATER. [OE fyrst
firsthand attrib. adj. & adv. from the original source; direct.
firstling n. (usu. in pl.) 1 the first result of anything, first-fruits.
2 the first offspring; the first born in a season.
firstly adv. (in enumerating topics, arguments, etc.) in the first
place, first (cf. FIRST adv.).
firth n. (also frith) 1 a narrow inlet of the sea. 2 an estuary.
[ME (orig. Sc.) f. ON fj”rthr FIORD]
fisc n. Rom.Hist. the public treasury; the emperor's privy purse.
[F fisc or L fiscus rush-basket, purse, treasury]
fiscal adj. & n. --adj. of public revenue. --n. 1 a legal official
in some countries. 2 Sc. = procurator fiscal. Ьfiscal year =
financial year. ЬЬfiscally adv. [F fiscal or L fiscalis (as
fiscality n. (pl. -ies) 1 (in pl.) fiscal matters. 2 excessive regard
fish(1) n. & v. --n. (pl. same or fishes) 1 a vertebrate cold-blooded
animal with gills and fins living wholly in water. 2 any animal
living wholly in water, e.g. cuttlefish, shellfish, jellyfish.
3 the flesh of fish as food. 4 colloq. a person remarkable in
some way (usu. unfavourable) (an odd fish). 5 (the Fish or
Fishes) the zodiacal sign or constellation Pisces. 6 Naut. sl.
a torpedo; a submarine. --v. 1 intr. try to catch fish, esp.
with a line or net. 2 tr. fish for (a certain kind of fish) or
in (a certain stretch of water). 3 intr. (foll. by for) a
search for in water or a concealed place. b seek by indirect
means (fishing for compliments). 4 tr. (foll. by up, out, etc.)
retrieve with careful or awkward searching. Ьdrink like a fish
drink excessively. fish-bowl a usu. round glass bowl for
keeping pet fish in. fish cake a cake of shredded fish and
mashed potato, usu. eaten fried. fish eagle 1 any large eagle
of the genus Haliaeetus, with long broad wings, strong legs, and
a strong tail. 2 any of several other eagles catching and
feeding on fish. fish-eye lens a very wide-angle lens with a
curved front. fish farm a place where fish are bred for food.
fish finger Brit. a small oblong piece of fish in batter or
breadcrumbs. fish-glue isinglass. fish-hawk an osprey, Pandion
haliaeetus. fish-hook a barbed hook for catching fish.
fish-kettle an oval pan for boiling fish. fish-knife a knife
for eating or serving fish. fish-meal ground dried fish used as
fertilizer or animal feed. fish out of water a person in an
unsuitable or unwelcome environment or situation. fish-pond (or
-pool) a pond or pool in which fish are kept. fish-slice a flat
utensil for lifting fish and fried foods during and after
cooking. other fish to fry other matters to attend to. [OE
fisc, fiscian f. Gmc]
fish(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a flat plate of iron, wood, etc., to strengthen
a beam or joint. 2 Naut. a piece of wood, convex and concave,
used to strengthen a mast etc. --v.tr. 1 mend or strengthen (a
spar etc.) with a fish. 2 join (rails) with a fish-plate.
Ьfish-bolt a bolt used to fasten fish-plates and rails together.
fish-plate a a flat piece of iron etc. connecting railway rails.
b a flat piece of metal with ends like a fish's tail, used to
position masonry. ЬЬfishlike adj. [orig. as verb: f. F ficher
fix ult. f. L figere]
fish(3) n. a piece of ivory etc. used as a counter in games. [F fiche
(ficher; see FISH(2))]
fisher n. 1 an animal that catches fish, esp. a pekan. 2 archaic a
fisherman. [OE fiscere f. Gmc (as FISH(1))]
fisherman n. (pl. -men) 1 a person who catches fish as a livelihood or
for sport. 2 a fishing-boat.
fishery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a place where fish are caught or reared. 2
the occupation or industry of catching or rearing fish.
fishing n. the activity of catching fish, esp. for food or as a sport.
Ьfishing-line a long thread of silk etc. with a baited hook,
sinker, float, etc., used for catching fish. fishing-rod a long
tapering usu. jointed rod to which a fishing-line is attached.
n. esp. Brit. a dealer in fish.
fishnet n. (often attrib.) an open-meshed fabric (fishnet stockings).
fishpot n. a wicker trap for eels, lobsters, etc.
fishtail n. & v. --n. a device etc. shaped like a fish's tail.
--v.intr. move the tail of a vehicle from side to side.
Ьfishtail burner a kind of burner producing a broadening jet of
fishwife n. (pl. -wives) 1 a coarse-mannered or noisy woman. 2 a woman
who sells fish.
fishy adj. (fishier, fishiest) 1 a smelling or tasting like fish. b
like that of a fish. c (of an eye) dull, vacant-looking. d
consisting of fish (a fishy repast). e joc. or poet. abounding
in fish. 2 sl. of dubious character, questionable, suspect.
ЬЬfishily adv. fishiness n.
fisk n. Sc. the State treasury, the exchequer. [var. of FISC]
fissile adj. 1 capable of undergoing nuclear fission. 2 cleavable;
tending to split. ЬЬfissility n. [L fissilis (as FISSURE)]
fission n. & v. --n. 1 Physics the spontaneous or impact-induced
splitting of a heavy atomic nucleus, accompanied by a release of
energy. 2 Biol. the division of a cell etc. into new cells etc.
as a mode of reproduction. --v.intr. & tr. undergo or cause to
undergo fission. Ьfission bomb an atomic bomb. ЬЬfissionable
adj. [L fissio (as FISSURE)]
adj. 1 Biol. reproducing by fission. 2 tending to split.
ЬЬfissiparity n. fissiparously adv. fissiparousness n. [L
fissus past part. (as FISSURE) after viviparous]
fissure n. & v. --n. 1 an opening, usu. long and narrow, made esp. by
cracking, splitting, or separation of parts. 2 Bot. & Anat. a
narrow opening in an organ etc., esp. a depression between
convolutions of the brain. 3 a cleavage. --v.tr. & intr. split
or crack. [ME f. OF fissure or L fissura f. findere fiss-
fist n. & v. --n. 1 a tightly closed hand. 2 sl. handwriting
(writes a good fist; I know his fist). 3 sl. a hand (give us
your fist). --v.tr. 1 strike with the fist. 2 Naut. handle (a
sail, an oar, etc.). Ьmake a good (or poor etc.) fist (foll. by
at, of) colloq. make a good (or poor etc.) attempt at.
ЬЬfisted adj. (also in comb.). fistful n. (pl. -fuls). [OE
fyst f. WG]
fistic adj. (also fistical) joc. pugilistic.
n.pl. fighting with the fists. [prob. obs. fisty adj. =
FISTIC, + CUFF(2)]
fistula n. (pl. fistulas or fistulae) 1 an abnormal or surgically made
passage between a hollow organ and the body surface or between
two hollow organs. 2 a natural pipe or spout in whales,
insects, etc. ЬЬfistular adj. fistulous adj. [L, = pipe,
fit(1) adj., v., n., & adv. --adj. (fitter, fittest) 1 a (usu. foll.
by for, or to + infin.) well adapted or suited. b (foll. by to
+ infin.) qualified, competent, worthy. c (foll. by for, or to
+ infin.) in a suitable condition, ready. d (foll. by for) good
enough (a dinner fit for a king). e (foll. by to + infin.)
sufficiently exhausted, troubled, or angry (fit to drop). 2 in
good health or athletic condition. 3 proper, becoming, right
(it is fit that). --v. (fitted, fitting) 1 a tr. (also absol.)
be of the right shape and size for (the dress fits her; the key
doesn't fit the lock; these shoes don't fit). b tr. make, fix,
or insert (a thing) so that it is of the right size or shape
(fitted shelves in the alcoves). c intr. (often foll. by in,
into) (of a component) be correctly positioned (that bit fits
here). d tr. find room for (can't fit another person on the
bench). 2 tr. (foll. by for, or to + infin.) a make suitable;
adapt. b make competent (fitted him to be a priest). 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by with) supply, furnish (fitted the boat with a new
rudder). 4 tr. fix in place (fit a lock on the door). 5 tr. =
fit on. 6 tr. be in harmony with, befit, become (it fits the
occasion; the punishment fits the crime). --n. the way in which
a garment, component, etc., fits (a bad fit; a tight fit).
--adv. (foll. by to + infin.) colloq. in a suitable manner,
appropriately (was laughing fit to bust). Ьfit the bill = fill
the bill. fit in 1 (often foll. by with) be (esp. socially)
compatible or accommodating (doesn't fit in with the rest of the
group; tried to fit in with their plans). 2 find space or time
for (an object, engagement, etc.) (the dentist fitted me in at
the last minute). fit on try on (a garment). fit out (or up)
(often foll. by with) equip. fit-up Theatr. sl. 1 a temporary
stage etc. 2 a travelling company. see (or think) fit (often
foll. by to + infin.) decide or choose (a specified course of
action). ЬЬfitly adv. fitness n. [ME: orig. unkn.]
fit(2) n. 1 a sudden seizure of epilepsy, hysteria, apoplexy,
fainting, or paralysis, with unconsciousness or convulsions. 2
a sudden brief attack of an illness or of symptoms (fit of
coughing). 3 a sudden short bout or burst (fit of energy; fit
of giggles). 4 colloq. an attack of strong feeling (fit of
rage). 5 a capricious impulse; a mood (when the fit was on
him). Ьby (or in) fits and starts spasmodically. give a person
a fit colloq. surprise or outrage him or her. have a fit
colloq. be greatly surprised or outraged. in fits laughing
uncontrollably. [ME, = position of danger, perh. = OE fitt
fit(3) n. (also fytte) archaic a section of a poem. [OE fitt]
fitch n. 1 a polecat. 2 a the hair of a polecat. b a brush made
from this or similar hair. [MDu. fisse etc.: cf. FITCHEW]
fitchew n. a polecat. [14th c. f. OF ficheau, fissel dimin. of MDu.
fitful adj. active or occurring spasmodically or intermittently.
ЬЬfitfully adv. fitfulness n.
fitment n. (usu. in pl.) a fixed item of furniture.
fitted adj. 1 made or shaped to fill a space or cover something
closely or exactly (a fitted carpet). 2 provided with
appropriate equipment, fittings, etc. (a fitted kitchen). 3
built-in; filling an alcove etc. (fitted cupboards).
fitter n. 1 a person who supervises the cutting, fitting, altering,
etc. of garments. 2 a mechanic who fits together and adjusts
fitting n. & adj. --n. 1 the process or an instance of having a
garment etc. fitted (needed several fittings). 2 a (in pl.) the
fixtures and fitments of a building. b a piece of apparatus or
furniture. --adj. proper, becoming, right. Ьfitting-shop a
place where machine parts are put together. ЬЬfittingly adv.
n. (also FitzGerald effect) (in full FitzGerald-Lorentz)
Physics the shortening of a moving body in the direction of its
motion esp. at speeds close to that of light. [G. F.
FitzGerald, Ir. physicist d. 1901 and H. A. Lorentz, Du.
physicist d. 1928]
five n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than four or one half of ten; the
sum of three units and two units. 2 a symbol for this (5, v,
V). 3 a size etc. denoted by five. 4 a set or team of five
individuals. 5 the time of five o'clock (is it five yet?). 6 a
card with five pips. 7 Cricket a hit scoring five runs. --adj.
that amount to five. Ьbunch of fives Brit. sl. a hand or
fist. five-corner (or -corners) Austral. 1 a shrub of the
genus Styphelia. 2 the pentagonal fruit of this. five-eighth
Austral. & NZ Rugby Football either of two players between the
scrum-half and the centre three-quarter. five-finger exercise 1
an exercise on the piano involving all the fingers. 2 an easy
task. five hundred a form of euchre in which 500 points make a
game. five o'clock shadow beard-growth visible on a man's face
in the latter part of the day. five-star of the highest class.
five-year plan 1 (in the USSR) a government plan for economic
development over five years, inaugurated in 1928. 2 a similar
plan in another country. [OE fif f. Gmc]
fivefold adj. & adv. 1 five times as much or as many. 2 consisting of
five parts. 3 amounting to five.
fiver n. colloq. 1 Brit. a five-pound note. 2 US a five-dollar
fives n. a game in which a ball is hit with a gloved hand or a bat
against the walls of a court with three walls (Eton fives) or
four walls (Rugby fives). [pl. of FIVE used as sing.:
n. Brit. jacks played with five pieces of metal etc. and usu.
without a ball.
fix v. & n. --v. 1 tr. make firm or stable; fasten, secure (fixed
a picture to the wall). 2 tr. decide, settle, specify (a price,
date, etc.). 3 tr. mend, repair. 4 tr. implant (an idea or
memory) in the mind (couldn't get the rules fixed in his head).
5 tr. a (foll. by on, upon) direct steadily, set (one's eyes,
gaze, attention, or affection). b attract and hold (a person's
attention, eyes, etc.). c (foll. by with) single out with one's
eyes etc. 6 tr. place definitely or permanently, establish,
station. 7 tr. determine the exact nature, position, etc., of;
refer (a thing or person) to a definite place or time; identify,
locate. 8 a tr. make (eyes, features, etc.) rigid. b intr. (of
eyes, features, etc.) become rigid. 9 tr. US colloq. prepare
(food or drink) (fixed me a drink). 10 a tr. deprive of
fluidity or volatility; congeal. b intr. lose fluidity or
volatility, become congealed. 11 tr. colloq. punish, kill,
silence, deal with (a person). 12 tr. colloq. a secure the
support of (a person) fraudulently, esp. by bribery. b arrange
the result of (a race, match, etc.) fraudulently (the
competition was fixed). 13 sl. a tr. inject (a person, esp.
oneself) with a narcotic. b intr. take an injection of a
narcotic. 14 tr. make (a colour, photographic image, or
microscope-specimen) fast or permanent. 15 tr. (of a plant or
micro-organism) assimilate (nitrogen or carbon dioxide) by
forming a non-gaseous compound. 16 tr. castrate or spay (an
animal). 17 tr. arrest changes or development in (a language or
literature). 18 tr. determine the incidence of (liability
etc.). 19 intr. archaic take up one's position. --n. 1
colloq. a position hard to escape from; a dilemma or
predicament. 2 a the act of finding one's position by bearings
or astronomical observations. b a position found in this way.
3 sl. a dose of a narcotic drug to which one is addicted. 4 US
sl. bribery. Ьbe fixed (usu. foll. by for) be disposed or
affected (regarding) (how is he fixed for money?; how are you
fixed for Friday?). fixed capital machinery etc. that remains
in the owner's use. fixed-doh Mus. applied to a system of
sight-singing in which C is called 'doh', D is called 'ray',
etc., irrespective of the key in which they occur (cf.
movable-doh). fixed focus a camera focus at a distance from a
lens that is not adjustable. fixed idea = IDђE FIXE. fixed
income income deriving from a pension, investment at fixed
interest, etc. fixed odds predetermined odds in racing etc.
(opp. starting price). fixed oil an oil of animal or plant
origin used in varnishes, lubricants, illuminants, soaps, etc.
fixed point Physics a well-defined reproducible temperature.
fixed star Astron. a star so far from the earth as to appear
motionless. fix on (or upon) choose, decide on. fix up 1
arrange, organize, prepare. 2 accommodate. 3 (often foll. by
with) provide (a person) (fixed me up with a job). ЬЬfixable
adj. fixedly adv. fixedness n. [ME, partly f. obs. fix fixed
f. OF fix or L fixus past part. of figere fix, fasten, partly f.
med.L fixare f. fixus]
fixate v.tr. 1 direct one's gaze on. 2 Psychol. a (usu. in passive;
often foll. by on, upon) cause (a person) to acquire an abnormal
attachment to persons or things (was fixated on his son). b
arrest (part of the libido) at an immature stage, causing such
attachment. [L fixus (see FIX) + -ATE(3)]
fixation n. 1 the act or an instance of being fixated. 2 an obsession,
concentration on a single idea. 3 fixing or being fixed. 4 the
process of rendering solid; coagulation. 5 the process of
assimilating a gas to form a solid compound. [ME f. med.L
fixatio f. fixare: see FIX]
fixative adj. & n. --adj. tending to fix or secure. --n. a substance
used to fix colours, hair, microscope-specimens, etc.
fixer n. 1 a person or thing that fixes. 2 Photog. a substance used
for fixing a photographic image etc. 3 colloq. a person who
makes arrangements, esp. of an illicit kind.
fixings n.pl. US 1 apparatus or equipment. 2 the trimmings for a dish.
3 the trimmings of a dress etc.
fixity n. 1 a fixed state. 2 stability; permanence. [obs. fix
fixed: see FIX]
fixture n. 1 a something fixed or fastened in position. b (usu.
predic.) colloq. a person or thing confined to or established in
one place (he seems to be a fixture). 2 a a sporting event,
esp. a match, race, etc. b the date agreed for this. 3 (in
pl.) Law articles attached to a house or land and regarded as
legally part of it. [alt. of obs. fixure f. LL fixura f. L
figere fix- fix]
fizgig n. & adj. archaic --n. 1 a silly or flirtatious young woman.
2 a kind of small firework; a cracker. 3 Austral. sl. a police
informer. --adj. flighty. [prob. f. FIZZ + obs. gig flighty
fizz v. & n. --v.intr. 1 make a hissing or spluttering sound. 2
(of a drink) make bubbles; effervesce. --n. 1 effervescence.
2 colloq. an effervescent drink, esp. champagne. [imit.]
fizzle v. & n. --v.intr. make a feeble hissing or spluttering sound.
--n. such a sound. Ьfizzle out end feebly (the party fizzled
out at 10 o'clock). [formed as FIZZ + -LE(4)]
fizzy adj. (fizzier, fizziest) effervescent. ЬЬfizzily adv.
flab n. colloq. fat; flabbiness. [imit., or back-form. f. FLABBY]
v.tr. (esp. as flabbergasted adj.) colloq. overwhelm with
astonishment; dumbfound. [18th c.: perh. f. FLABBY + AGHAST]
flabby adj. (flabbier, flabbiest) 1 (of flesh etc.) hanging down;
limp; flaccid. 2 (of language or character) feeble. ЬЬflabbily
adv. flabbiness n. [alt. of earlier flappy f. FLAP]
flaccid adj. 1 a (of flesh etc.) hanging loose or wrinkled; limp,
flabby. b (of plant tissue) soft; less rigid. 2 relaxed,
drooping. 3 lacking vigour; feeble. ЬЬflaccidity n. flaccidly
adv. [F flaccide or L flaccidus f. flaccus flabby]
flack(1) n. US sl. a publicity agent. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
flack(2) var. of FLAK.
flag(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a piece of cloth, usu. oblong or square,
attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as a country's
emblem or as a standard, signal, etc. b a small toy, device,
etc., resembling a flag. 2 Brit. an oblong strip of metal etc.
that can be raised or lowered to indicate whether a taxi is for
hire or occupied. 3 Naut. a flag carried by a flagship as an
emblem of an admiral's rank afloat. --v. (flagged, flagging) 1
intr. a grow tired; lose vigour; lag (his energy flagged after
the first lap). b hang down; droop; become limp. 2 tr. a
place a flag on or over. b mark out with or as if with a flag
or flags. 3 tr. (often foll. by that) a inform (a person) by
flag-signals. b communicate (information) by flagging. Ьblack
flag 1 a pirate's ensign. 2 hist. a flag hoisted outside a
prison to announce an execution. flag-boat a boat serving as a
mark in sailing-matches. flag-captain the captain of a
flagship. flag-day Brit. a day on which money is raised for a
charity by the sale of small paper flags etc. in the street.
Flag Day US 14 June, the anniversary of the adoption of the
Stars and Stripes in 1777. flag down signal to (a vehicle or
driver) to stop. flag-lieutenant Naut. an admiral's ADC.
flag-list Naut. a roll of flag-officers. flag of convenience a
foreign flag under which a ship is registered, usu. to avoid
financial charges etc. flag-officer Naut. an admiral, vice
admiral, or rear admiral, or the commodore of a yacht-club.
flag of truce a white flag indicating a desire for a truce.
flag-pole = FLAGSTAFF. flag-rank Naut. the rank attained by
flag-officers. flag-station a station at which trains stop only
if signalled. flag-wagging sl. 1 signalling with hand-held
flags. 2 = flag-waving. flag-waver a populist agitator; a
chauvinist. flag-waving populist agitation, chauvinism. keep
the flag flying continue the fight. put the flag out celebrate
victory, success, etc. show the flag 1 make an official visit
to a foreign port etc. 2 ensure that notice is taken of one's
country, oneself, etc.; make a patriotic display. ЬЬflagger n.
[16th c.: perh. f. obs. flag drooping]
flag(2) n. & v. --n. (also flagstone) 1 a flat usu. rectangular stone
slab used for paving. 2 (in pl.) a pavement made of these.
--v.tr. (flagged, flagging) pave with flags. [ME, = sod: cf.
Icel. flag spot from which a sod has been cut out, ON flaga
slab of stone, and FLAKE(1)]
flag(3) n. 1 any plant with a bladed leaf (esp. several of the genus
Iris) growing on moist ground. 2 the long slender leaf of such
a plant. [ME: cf. MDu. flag, Da. fl‘g]
flag(4) n. (in full flag-feather) a quill-feather of a bird's wing.
[perh. rel. to obs. fag loose flap: cf. FLAG(1) v.]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a person who scourges himself or herself or
others as a religious discipline. 2 a person who engages in
flogging as a sexual stimulus. --adj. of or concerning
flagellation. [L flagellare to whip f. FLAGELLUM]
v.tr. scourge, flog (cf. FLAGELLANT). ЬЬflagellation n.
flagellator n. flagellatory adj.
adj. & n. --adj. having flagella (see FLAGELLUM). --n. a
protozoan having one or more flagella.
flagellum n. (pl. flagella) 1 Biol. a long lashlike appendage found
principally on microscopic organisms. 2 Bot. a runner; a
creeping shoot. ЬЬflagellar adj. flagelliform adj. [L, =
whip, dimin. of flagrum scourge]
n. 1 a small flute blown at the end, like a recorder but with
two thumb-holes. 2 an organ stop having a similar sound. [F,
dimin. of OF flag(e)ol f. Prov. flajol, of unkn. orig.]
n. a kind of French kidney bean. [F]
adj. deeply criminal; utterly villainous. ЬЬflagitiously adv.
flagitiousness n. [ME f. L flagitiosus f. flagitium shameful
flagman n. (pl. -men) a person who signals with or as with a flag,
e.g. at races.
flagon n. 1 a large bottle in which wine, cider, etc., are sold, usu.
holding 1.13 litres. 2 a a large vessel usu. with a handle,
spout, and lid, to hold wine etc. b a similar vessel used for
the Eucharist. [ME flakon f. OF flacon ult. f. LL flasco -onis
flagrant adj. (of an offence or an offender) glaring; notorious;
scandalous. ЬЬflagrancy n. flagrantly adv. [F flagrant or L
flagrant- part. stem of flagrare blaze]
flagship n. 1 a ship having an admiral on board. 2 something that is
held to be the best or most important of its kind; a leader.
flagstaff n. a pole on which a flag may be hoisted.
flagstone n. = FLAG(2).
flail n. & v. --n. a threshing-tool consisting of a wooden staff with
a short heavy stick swinging from it. --v. 1 tr. beat or
strike with or as if with a flail. 2 intr. wave or swing wildly
or erratically (went into the fight with arms flailing). [OE
prob. f. L FLAGELLUM]
flair n. 1 an instinct for selecting or performing what is excellent,
useful, etc.; a talent (has a flair for knowing what the public
wants; has a flair for languages). 2 talent or ability, esp.
artistic or stylistic. [F flairer to smell ult. f. L fragrare:
flak n. (also flack) 1 anti-aircraft fire. 2 adverse criticism;
abuse. Ьflak jacket a protective jacket of heavy camouflage
fabric reinforced with metal, worn by soldiers etc. [abbr. of G
Fliegerabwehrkanone, lit. aviator-defence-gun]
flake(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a small thin light piece of snow. b a
similar piece of another material. 2 a thin broad piece of
material peeled or split off. 3 Archaeol. a piece of hard stone
chipped off and used as a tool. 4 a natural division of the
flesh of some fish. 5 the dogfish or other shark as food.
--v.tr. & intr. (often foll. by away, off) 1 take off or come
away in flakes. 2 sprinkle with or fall in snowlike flakes.
Ьflake out colloq. fall asleep or drop from exhaustion; faint.
[ME: orig. unkn.: cf. ON flakna flake off]
flake(2) n. 1 a stage for drying fish etc. 2 a rack for storing
oatcakes etc. [ME, perh. f. ON flaki, fleki wicker shield]
flaky adj. (flakier, flakiest) 1 of or like flakes; separating easily
into flakes. 2 esp. US sl. crazy, eccentric. Ьflaky pastry
pastry consisting of thin light layers. ЬЬflakily adv.
flamb‚ adj. (of food) covered with alcohol and set alight briefly.
[F, past part. of flamber singe (as FLAMBEAU)]
flambeau n. (pl. flambeaus or flambeaux) 1 a flaming torch, esp.
composed of several thick waxed wicks. 2 a branched
candlestick. [F f. flambe f. L flammula dimin. of flamma
adj. 1 ostentatious; showy. 2 floridly decorated. 3
gorgeously coloured. 4 Archit. (of decoration) marked by wavy
flamelike lines. ЬЬflamboyance n. flamboyancy n. flamboyantly
adv. [F (in Archit. sense), pres. part. of flamboyer f.
flambe: see FLAMBEAU]
flame n. & v. --n. 1 a ignited gas (the fire burnt with a steady
flame). b one portion of this (the flame flickered and died).
c (usu. in pl.) visible combustion (burst into flames). 2 a a
bright light; brilliant colouring. b a brilliant orange-red
colour. 3 a strong passion, esp. love (fan the flame). b
colloq. a boyfriend or girlfriend. --v. 1 intr. & tr. (often
foll. by away, forth, out, up) emit or cause to emit flames. 2
intr. (often foll. by out, up) a (of passion) break out. b (of
a person) become angry. 3 intr. shine or glow like flame
(leaves flamed in the autumn sun). 4 intr. poet. move like
flame. 5 tr. send (a signal) by means of flame. 6 tr. subject
to the action of flame. Ьflame gun a device for throwing flames
to destroy weeds etc. flame out (of a jet engine) lose power
through the extinction of the flame in the combustion chamber.
flame-proof (esp. of a fabric) treated so as to be
non-flammable. flame-thrower (or -projector) a weapon for
throwing a spray of flame. flame-tree any of various trees with
brilliant red flowers esp. flame-of-the-forest, Delonix regia.
go up in flames be consumed by fire. ЬЬflameless adj.
flamelike adj. flamy adj. [ME f. OF flame, flam(m)er f. L
flamen n. Rom.Hist. a priest serving a particular deity. [ME f. L]
flamenco n. (pl. -os) 1 a style of music played (esp. on the guitar)
and sung by Spanish gypsies. 2 a dance performed to this music.
[Sp., = Flemish]
flaming adj. 1 emitting flames. 2 very hot (flaming June). 3 colloq.
a passionate; intense (a flaming row). b expressing annoyance,
or as an intensifier (that flaming dog). 4 bright-coloured
(flaming red hair).
flamingo n. (pl. -os or -oes) any tall long-necked web-footed wading
bird of the family Phoenicopteridae, with crooked bill and pink,
scarlet, and black plumage. [Port. flamengo f. Prov. flamenc
f. flama flame + -enc = -ING(3)]
flammable adj. inflammable. °Often used because inflammable can be
mistaken for a negative (the true negative being non-flammable).
ЬЬflammability n. [L flammare f. flamma flame]
flan n. 1 a a pastry case with a savoury or sweet filling. b a
sponge base with a sweet topping. 2 a disc of metal from which
a coin etc. is made. [F (orig. = round cake) f. OF flaon f.
med.L flado -onis f. Frank.]
flanch v.tr. & intr. (also flaunch) (esp. with ref. to a chimney)
slope inwards or cause to slope inwards towards the top.
ЬЬflanching n. [perh. f. OF flanchir f. flanche, flanc FLANK]
flѓnerie n. idling, idleness. [F f. flѓner lounge]
flѓneur n. an idler; a lounger. [F (as FL°NERIE)]
flange n. & v. Engin. --n. a projecting flat rim, collar, or rib,
used for strengthening or attachment. --v.tr. provide with a
flange. ЬЬflangeless n. [17th c.: perh. f. flange widen out
f. OF flangir (as FLANCH)]
flank n. & v. --n. 1 a the side of the body between the ribs and the
hip. b the side of an animal carved as meat (flank of beef). 2
the side of a mountain, building, etc. 3 the right or left side
of an army or other body of persons. --v.tr. 1 (often in
passive) be situated at both sides of (a road flanked by
mountains). 2 Mil. a guard or strengthen on the flank. b
menace the flank of. c rake with sweeping gunfire; enfilade.
Ьflank forward Rugby Football a wing forward. in flank at the
side. [ME f. OF flanc f. Frank.]
flanker n. 1 Mil. a fortification guarding or menacing the flank. 2
anything that flanks another thing. 3 (in Rugby and American
Football) a flank forward. 4 sl. a trick; a swindle (pulled a
flannel n. & v. --n. 1 a a kind of woven woollen fabric, usu. without
a nap. b (in pl.) flannel garments, esp. trousers. 2 Brit. a
small usu. towelling cloth, used for washing oneself. 3 Brit.
sl. nonsense; flattery. --v. (flannelled, flannelling; US
flanneled, flanneling) 1 Brit. sl. a tr. flatter. b intr. use
flattery. 2 tr. wash or clean with a flannel. Ьflannel-mouth
US sl. a flatterer; a braggart. ЬЬflannelly adj. [perh. f.
Welsh gwlanen f. gwlan wool]
n. a piece of flannel as a base for paper or cloth cut-outs,
used as a toy or a teaching aid.
n. a napped cotton fabric imitating flannel. [FLANNEL]
n. = FLANNELBOARD.
adj. (US also flanneled) wearing flannel trousers. [FLANNEL]
flap v. & n. --v. (flapped, flapping) 1 a tr. move (wings, the
arms, etc.) up and down when flying, or as if flying. b intr.
(of wings, the arms, etc.) move up and down; beat. 2 intr.
colloq. be agitated or panicky. 3 intr. (esp. of curtains,
loose cloth, etc.) swing or sway about; flutter. 4 tr. (usu.
foll. by away, off) strike (flies etc.) with something broad;
drive. 5 intr. colloq. (of ears) listen intently. --n. 1 a
piece of cloth, wood, paper, etc. hinged or attached by one side
only and often used to cover a gap, e.g. a pocket-cover, the
folded part of an envelope, a table-leaf. 2 one up-and-down
motion of a wing, an arm, etc. 3 colloq. a state of agitation;
panic (don't get into a flap). 4 a hinged or sliding section of
a wing used to control lift; an aileron. 5 a light blow with
something broad. 6 an open mushroom-top. ЬЬflappy adj. [ME,
n. colloq. nonsense. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
flapjack n. 1 a cake made from oats and golden syrup etc. 2 esp. US a
pancake. [FLAP + JACK(1)]
flapper n. 1 a person or thing that flaps. 2 an instrument that is
flapped to kill flies, scare birds, etc. 3 a person who panics
easily or is easily agitated. 4 sl. (in the 1920s) a young
unconventional or lively woman. 5 a young mallard or partridge.
flare v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. widen or cause to widen gradually
towards the top or bottom (flared trousers). 2 intr. & tr. burn
or cause to burn suddenly with a bright unsteady flame. 3 intr.
burst into anger; burst forth. --n. 1 a a dazzling irregular
flame or light, esp. in the open air. b a sudden outburst of
flame. 2 a a signal light used at sea. b a bright light used
as a signal. c a flame dropped from an aircraft to illuminate a
target etc. 3 Astron. a sudden burst of radiation from a star.
4 a a gradual widening, esp. of a skirt or trousers. b (in pl.)
wide-bottomed trousers. 5 an outward bulge in a ship's sides.
6 Photog. unnecessary illumination on a lens caused by internal
reflection etc. Ьflare-path an area illuminated to enable an
aircraft to land or take off. flare up 1 burst into a sudden
blaze. 2 become suddenly angry or active. flare-up n. an
outburst of flame, anger, activity, etc. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
flash v., n., & adj. --v. 1 intr. & tr. emit or reflect or cause to
emit or reflect light briefly, suddenly, or intermittently;
gleam or cause to gleam. 2 intr. break suddenly into flame;
give out flame or sparks. 3 tr. send or reflect like a sudden
flame or blaze (his eyes flashed fire). 4 intr. a burst
suddenly into view or perception (the explanation flashed upon
me). b move swiftly (the train flashed through the station). 5
tr. a send (news etc.) by radio, telegraph, etc. (flashed a
message to her). b signal to (a person) by shining lights or
headlights briefly. 6 tr. colloq. show ostentatiously (flashed
her engagement ring). 7 intr. (of water) rush along; rise and
flow. 8 intr. sl. indecently expose oneself. --n. 1 a sudden
bright light or flame, e.g. of lightning. 2 a very brief time;
an instant (all over in a flash). 3 a a brief, sudden burst of
feeling (a flash of hope). b a sudden display (of wit,
understanding, etc.). 4 = NEWSFLASH. 5 Photog. = FLASHLIGHT 1.
6 a a rush of water, esp. down a weir to take a boat over
shallows. b a contrivance for producing this. 7 Brit. Mil. a
coloured patch of cloth on a uniform etc. as a distinguishing
emblem. 8 vulgar display, ostentation. 9 a bright patch of
colour. 10 Cinematog. the momentary exposure of a scene. 11
excess plastic or metal oozing from a mould during moulding.
--adj. colloq. 1 gaudy; showy; vulgar (a flash car). 2
counterfeit (flash notes). 3 connected with thieves, the
underworld, etc. Ьflash-board a board used for sending more
water from a mill-dam into a mill-race. flash bulb Photog. a
bulb for a flashlight. flash burn a burn caused by sudden
intense heat, esp. from a nuclear explosion. flash card a card
containing a small amount of information, held up for pupils to
see, as an aid to learning. flash-cube Photog. a set of four
flash bulbs arranged as a cube and operated in turn.
flash-flood a sudden local flood due to heavy rain etc.
flash-gun Photog. a device used to operate a camera flashlight.
flashing-point = FLASHPOINT. flash in the pan a promising start
followed by failure (from the priming of old guns). flash-lamp
a portable flashing electric lamp. flash out (or up) show
sudden passion. flash over Electr. make an electric circuit by
sparking across a gap. flash-over n. an instance of this. [ME
orig. with ref. to the rushing of water: cf. SPLASH]
flashback n. Cinematog. a scene set in a time earlier than the main
flasher n. 1 Brit. sl. a man who indecently exposes himself. 2 a an
automatic device for switching lights rapidly on and off. b a
sign or signal using this. 3 a person or thing that flashes.
flashing n. a usu. metallic strip used to prevent water penetration at
the junction of a roof with a wall etc. [dial. flash seal with
lead sheets or obs. flash flashing]
n. 1 a a light giving an intense flash, used for photographing
by night, indoors, etc. b a picture so taken. 2 US an electric
torch. 3 a flashing light used for signals and in lighthouses.
n. 1 the temperature at which vapour from oil etc. will ignite
in air. 2 the point at which anger, indignation, etc. becomes
flask n. 1 a narrow-necked bulbous bottle for wine etc. or as used in
chemistry. 2 = hip-flask (see HIP(1)). 3 = vacuum flask. 4
hist. = powder-flask. [F flasque & (prob.) It. fiasco f. med.L
flasca, flasco: cf. FLAGON]
flat(1) adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. (flatter, flattest) 1 a
horizontally level (a flat roof). b even; smooth; unbroken;
without projection or indentation (a flat stomach). c with a
level surface and little depth; shallow (a flat cap; a flat
heel). 2 unqualified; plain; downright (a flat refusal; a flat
denial). 3 a dull; lifeless; monotonous (spoke in a flat tone).
b without energy; dejected. 4 (of a fizzy drink) having lost
its effervescence. 5 (of an accumulator, a battery, etc.)
having exhausted its charge. 6 Mus. a below true or normal
pitch (the violins are flat). b (of a key) having a flat or
flats in the signature. c (as B, E , etc. flat) a semitone
lower than B, E, etc. 7 Photog. lacking contrast. 8 a (of
paint etc.) not glossy; matt. b (of a tint) uniform. 9 (of a
tyre) punctured; deflated. 10 (of a market, prices, etc.)
inactive; sluggish. 11 of or relating to flat-racing. --adv.
1 lying at full length; spread out, esp. on another surface (lay
flat on the floor; the ladder was flat against the wall). 2
colloq. a completely, absolutely (turned it down flat; flat
broke). b exactly (in five minutes flat). 3 Mus. below the
true or normal pitch (always sings flat). --n. 1 the flat part
of anything; something flat (the flat of the hand). 2 level
ground, esp. a plain or swamp. 3 Mus. a a note lowered a
semitone below natural pitch. b the sign (!!!) indicating this.
4 (as the flat) Brit. a flat racing. b the flat racing season.
5 Theatr. a flat section of scenery mounted on a frame. 6 esp.
US colloq. a flat tyre. 7 sl. a foolish person. --v.tr.
(flatted, flatting) 1 make flat, flatten (esp. in technical
use). 2 US Mus. make (a note) flat. Ьfall flat fail to live up
to expectations; not win applause. flat arch Archit. an arch
with a flat lower or inner curve. flat (or flat-bottomed) boat
a boat with a flat bottom for transport in shallow water.
flat-fish any marine fish of various families having an
asymmetric appearance with both eyes on one side of a flattened
body, including sole, turbot, plaice, etc. flat foot a foot
with a less than normal arch. flat-four (of an engine) having
four cylinders all horizontal, two on each side of the
crankshaft. flat-head 1 any marine fish of the family
Platycephalidae, having a flattened body with both eyes on the
top side. 2 sl. a foolish person. flat-iron hist. an iron
heated externally and used for pressing clothes etc. flat out 1
at top speed. 2 using all one's strength, energy, or resources.
flat race a horse race over level ground, as opposed to a
steeplechase or hurdles. flat-racing the racing of horses in
flat races. flat rate a rate that is the same in all cases, not
proportional. flat spin 1 Aeron. a nearly horizontal spin. 2
colloq. a state of agitation or panic. flat-top 1 US Aeron.
sl. an aircraft-carrier. 2 sl. a man's short flat haircut.
that's flat colloq. let there be no doubt about it. ЬЬflatly
adv. flatness n. flattish adj. [ME f. ON flatr f. Gmc]
flat(2) n. & v. --n. a set of rooms, usu. on one floor, used as a
residence. --v.intr. (flatted, flatting) (often foll. by with)
Austral. share a flat with. ЬЬflatlet n. [alt. f. obs. flet
floor, dwelling f. Gmc (as FLAT(1))]
flatcar n. a railway wagon without raised sides or ends.
flatfoot n. (pl. -foots or -feet) sl. a policeman.
adj. 1 having flat feet. 2 colloq. downright, positive. 3
colloq. unprepared; off guard (was caught flat-footed).
ЬЬflat-footedly adv. flat-footedness n.
flatmate n. Brit. a person in relation to one or more others living in
the same flat.
flatten v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become flat. 2 tr. colloq. a
humiliate. b knock down. Ьflatten out bring an aircraft
parallel to the ground. ЬЬflattener n.
flatter v.tr. 1 compliment unduly; overpraise, esp. for gain or
advantage. 2 (usu. refl.; usu. foll. by that + clause) please,
congratulate, or delude (oneself etc.) (I flatter myself that I
can sing). 3 a (of a colour, a style, etc.) make (a person)
appear to the best advantage (that blouse flatters you). b
(esp. of a portrait, a painter, etc.) represent too favourably.
4 gratify the vanity of; make (a person) feel honoured. 5
inspire (a person) with hope, esp. unduly (was flattered into
thinking himself invulnerable). 6 please or gratify (the ear,
the eye, etc.). Ьflattering unction a salve that one
administers to one's own conscience or self-esteem (Shakesp.
esp. Hamlet III. iv. 136). ЬЬflatterer n. flattering adj.
flatteringly adv. [ME, perh. rel. to OF flater to smooth]
flattery n. (pl. -ies) 1 exaggerated or insincere praise. 2 the act or
an instance of flattering.
flattie n. (also flatty) (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 a flat-heeled shoe. 2
a flat-bottomed boat. 3 a policeman.
flatulent adj. 1 a causing formation of gas in the alimentary canal. b
caused by or suffering from this. 2 (of speech etc.) inflated,
pretentious. ЬЬflatulence n. flatulency n. flatulently adv.
[F f. mod.L flatulentus (as FLATUS)]
flatus n. wind in or from the stomach or bowels. [L, = blowing f.
flatware n. 1 plates, saucers, etc. (opp. HOLLOWWARE). 2 US domestic
flatworm n. any worm of the phylum Platyhelminthes, having a flattened
body and no body-cavity or blood vessels, including turbellaria,
flaunch var. of FLANCH.
flaunt v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. 1 (often refl.) display ostentatiously
(oneself or one's finery); show off; parade (liked to flaunt his
gold cuff-links; flaunted themselves before the crowd). °Often
confused with flout. 2 wave or cause to wave proudly (flaunted
the banner). --n. an act or instance of flaunting. ЬЬflaunter
n. flaunty adj. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
flautist n. a flute-player. [It. flautista f. flauto FLUTE]
adj. turning yellow; yellowish. [L flavescere f. flavus
flavin n. (also flavine) 1 the chemical compound forming the nucleus
of various natural yellow pigments. 2 a yellow dye obtained
from dyer's oak. Ьflavin adenine dinucleotide a coenzyme
derived from riboflavin, important in various biochemical
reactions. °Abbr.: FAD. [L flavus yellow + -IN]
flavine n. Pharm. an antiseptic derived from acridine. [as FLAVIN +
flavone n. Biochem. any of a group of naturally occurring white or
yellow pigments found in plants. [as FLAVINE + -ONE]
n. Biochem. any of a group of conjugated proteins containing
flavin that are involved in oxidation reactions in cells.
[FLAVINE + PROTEIN]
flavorous adj. having a pleasant or pungent flavour.
flavour n. & v. (US flavor) --n. 1 a distinctive mingled sensation of
smell and taste (has a cheesy flavour). 2 an indefinable
characteristic quality (music with a romantic flavour). 3 (usu.
foll. by of) a slight admixture of a usu. undesirable quality
(the flavour of failure hangs over the enterprise). 4 esp. US
= FLAVOURING. --v.tr. give flavour to; season. Ьflavour of the
month (or week) a temporary trend or fashion. ЬЬflavourful adj.
flavourless adj. flavoursome adj. [ME f. OF flaor perh. f. L
flatus blowing & foetor stench: assim. to savour]
n. a substance used to flavour food or drink.
flaw(1) n. & v. --n. 1 an imperfection; a blemish (has a character
without a flaw). 2 a crack or similar fault (the cup has a
flaw). 3 Law an invalidating defect in a legal matter. --v.tr.
& intr. crack; damage; spoil. ЬЬflawless adj. flawlessly adv.
flawlessness n. [ME perh. f. ON flaga slab f. Gmc: cf.
flaw(2) n. a squall of wind; a short storm. [prob. f. MDu. vlaghe,
MLG vlage, perh. = stroke]
flax n. 1 a a blue-flowered plant, Linum usitatissimum, cultivated
for its textile fibre and its seeds (see LINSEED). b a plant
resembling this. 2 a dressed or undressed flax fibres. b
archaic linen, cloth of flax. Ьflax-lily (pl. -ies) NZ any
plant of the genus Phormium, yielding valuable fibre. flax-seed
linseed. [OE fl‘x f. WG]
flaxen adj. 1 of flax. 2 (of hair) coloured like dressed flax; pale
flay v.tr. 1 strip the skin or hide off, esp. by beating. 2
criticize severely (the play was flayed by the critics). 3 peel
off (skin, bark, peel, etc.). 4 strip (a person) of wealth by
extortion or exaction. ЬЬflayer n. [OE flean f. Gmc]
F-layer n. the highest and most strongly ionized region of the
ionosphere. [F (arbitrary) + LAYER]
flea n. 1 a small wingless jumping insect of the order Siphonaptera,
feeding on human and other blood. 2 a (in full flea beetle) a
small jumping beetle infesting hops, cabbages, etc. b (in full
water flea) daphnia. Ьflea-bite 1 the bite of a flea. 2 a
trivial injury or inconvenience. flea-bitten 1 bitten by or
infested with fleas. 2 shabby. flea-bug US = FLEA 2a.
flea-circus a show of performing fleas. flea-collar an
insecticidal collar for pets. a flea in one's ear a sharp
reproof. flea market a street market selling second-hand goods
etc. flea-pit a dingy dirty place, esp. a run-down cinema.
flea-wort any of several plants supposed to drive away fleas.
[OE flea, fleah f. Gmc]
fleabag n. sl. a shabby or unattractive person or thing.
fleabane n. any of various composite plants of the genus Inula or
Pulicaria, supposed to drive away fleas.
flЉche n. a slender spire, often perforated with windows, esp. at the
intersection of the nave and the transept of a church. [F,
orig. = arrow]
fleck n. & v. --n. 1 a small patch of colour or light (eyes with
green flecks). 2 a small particle or speck, esp. of dust. 3 a
spot on the skin; a freckle. --v.tr. mark with flecks; dapple;
variegate. [perh. f. ON flekkr (n.), flekka (v.), or MLG, MDu.
vlecke, OHG flec, fleccho]
flection US var. of FLEXION.
fled past and past part. of FLEE.
fledge v. 1 intr. (of a bird) grow feathers. 2 tr. provide (an arrow)
with feathers. 3 tr. bring up (a young bird) until it can fly.
4 tr. (as fledged adj.) a able to fly. b independent; mature.
5 tr. deck or provide with feathers or down. [obs. fledge
(adj.) 'fit to fly', f. OE flycge (recorded in unfligge) f. a
Gmc root rel. to FLY(1)]
fledgling n. (also fledgeling) 1 a young bird. 2 an inexperienced
person. [FLEDGE + -LING(1)]
flee v. (past and past part. fled) 1 intr. (often foll. by from,
before) a run away. b seek safety by fleeing. 2 tr. run away
from; leave abruptly; shun (fled the room; fled his attentions).
3 intr. vanish; cease; pass away. ЬЬfleer n. [OE fleon f. Gmc]
fleece n. & v. --n. 1 a the woolly covering of a sheep or a similar
animal. b the amount of wool sheared from a sheep at one time.
2 something resembling a fleece, esp.: a a woolly or rough head
of hair. b a soft warm fabric with a pile, used for lining
coats etc. c a white cloud, a blanket of snow, etc. 3 Heraldry
a representation of a fleece suspended from a ring. --v.tr. 1
(often foll. by of) strip (a person) of money, valuables, etc.;
swindle. 2 remove the fleece from (a sheep etc.); shear. 3
cover as if with a fleece (a sky fleeced with clouds).
Ьfleece-picker Austral. & NZ = FLEECY. Golden Fleece see
GOLDEN. ЬЬfleeceable adj. fleeced adj. (also in comb.). [OE
fleos, fles f. WG]
fleecy adj. & n. --adj. (fleecier, fleeciest) 1 of or like a fleece.
2 covered with a fleece. --n. (also fleecie) (pl. -ies)
Austral. & NZ a person whose job is to pick up fleeces in a
shearing shed. ЬЬfleecily adv. fleeciness n.
fleer v. & n. --v.intr. laugh impudently or mockingly; sneer; jeer.
--n. a mocking look or speech. [ME, prob. f. Scand.: cf. Norw.
& Sw. dial. flira to grin]
fleet(1) n. 1 a a number of warships under one commander-in-chief. b
(prec. by the) all the warships and merchant-ships of a nation.
2 a number of ships, aircraft, buses, lorries, taxis, etc.
operating together or owned by one proprietor. ЬFleet Admiral
see ADMIRAL. Fleet Air Arm hist. the aviation service of the
Royal Navy. [OE fleot ship, shipping f. fleotan float,
fleet(2) adj. poet. literary swift; nimble. ЬЬfleetly adv. fleetness
n. [prob. f. ON fljўtr f. Gmc: cf. FLEET(5)]
fleet(3) n. dial. 1 a creek; an inlet. 2 (the Fleet) a an underground
stream running into the Thames east of Fleet St. b hist. a
prison that stood near it. ЬFleet Street 1 the London press. 2
British journalism or journalists. [OE fleot f. Gmc: cf.
fleet(4) adj. & adv. dial. --adj. (of water) shallow. --adv. at or to
a small depth (plough fleet). [orig. uncert.: perh. f. OE fleat
(unrecorded), rel. to FLEET(5)]
fleet(5) v.intr. archaic 1 glide away; vanish; be transitory. 2 (usu.
foll. by away) (of time) pass rapidly; slip away. 3 move
swiftly; fly. [OE fleotan float, swim f. Gmc]
Fleming n. 1 a native of medieval Flanders in the Low Countries. 2 a
member of a Flemish-speaking people inhabiting N. and W. Belgium
(see also WALLOON). [OE f. ON Fl‘mingi & MDu. Vlaming f. root
of Vlaanderen Flanders]
Flemish adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Flanders. --n. the language
of the Flemings. ЬFlemish bond Building a bond in which each
course consists of alternate headers and stretchers. [MDu.
Vlamisch (as FLEMING)]
flense v.tr. (also flench, flinch) 1 cut up (a whale or seal). 2 flay
(a seal). [Da. flense: cf. Norw. flinsa, flunsa flay]
flesh n. & v. --n. 1 a the soft, esp. muscular, substance between
the skin and bones of an animal or a human. b plumpness; fat
(has put on flesh). c archaic meat, esp. excluding poultry,
game, and offal. 2 the body as opposed to the mind or the soul,
esp. considered as sinful. 3 the pulpy substance of a fruit or
a plant. 4 a the visible surface of the human body with ref. to
its colour or appearance. b (also flesh-colour) a yellowish
pink colour. 5 animal or human life. --v.tr. 1 embody in
flesh. 2 incite (a hound etc.) by the taste of blood. 3
initiate, esp. by aggressive or violent means, esp.: a use (a
sword etc.) for the first time on flesh. b use (wit, the pen,
etc.) for the first time. c inflame (a person) by the foretaste
of success. Ьall flesh all human and animal creation. flesh
and blood --n. 1 the body or its substance. 2 humankind. 3
human nature, esp. as being fallible. --adj. actually living,
not imaginary or supernatural. flesh-fly (pl. -flies) any fly
of the family Sarcophagidae that deposits eggs or larvae in dead
flesh. flesh out make or become substantial. flesh side the
side of a hide that adjoined the flesh. flesh tints
flesh-colours as rendered by a painter. flesh-wound a wound not
reaching a bone or a vital organ. in the flesh in bodily form,
in person. lose (or put on) flesh grow thinner or fatter. make
a person's flesh creep frighten or horrify a person, esp. with
tales of the supernatural etc. one flesh (of two people)
intimately united, esp. by virtue of marriage (Gen. 2:24).
one's own flesh and blood near relatives; descendants. sins of
the flesh unchastity. the way of all flesh experience common to
all mankind. ЬЬfleshless adj. [OE fl‘sc f. Gmc]
fleshy adj. (fleshier, fleshiest) 1 plump, fat. 2 of flesh, without
bone. 3 (of plant or fruit tissue) pulpy. 4 like flesh.
fletcher n. archaic a maker or seller of arrows. [ME f. OF flech(i)er
f. fleche arrow]
n. (also fleur-de-lys) (pl. fleurs- pronunc. same) 1 the iris
flower. 2 Heraldry a a lily composed of three petals bound
together near their bases. b the former royal arms of France.
[ME f. OF flour de lys flower of lily]
fleuret n. an ornament like a small flower. [F fleurette f. fleur
fleuron n. a flower-shaped ornament on a building, a coin, a book, etc.
[ME f. OF floron f. flour FLOWER]
fleury adj. (also flory) Heraldry decorated with fleurs-de-lis. [ME
f. OF flo(u)r‚ (as FLEURON)]
flew past of FLY(1).
flews n.pl. the hanging lips of a bloodhound etc. [16th c.: orig.
flex(1) v. 1 tr. & intr. bend (a joint, limb, etc.) or be bent. 2 tr.
& intr. move (a muscle) or (of a muscle) be moved to bend a
joint. 3 tr. Geol. bend (strata). 4 tr. Archaeol. place (a
corpse) with the legs drawn up under the chin. [L flectere
flex(2) n. Brit. a flexible insulated cable used for carrying electric
current to an appliance. [abbr. of FLEXIBLE]
flexible adj. 1 able to bend without breaking; pliable; pliant. 2
easily led; manageable; docile. 3 adaptable; versatile;
variable (works flexible hours). ЬЬflexibility n. flexibly
adv. [ME f. OF flexible or L flexibilis (as FLEX(1))]
flexion n. (US flection) 1 a the act of bending or the condition of
being bent, esp. of a limb or joint. b a bent part; a curve.
2 Gram. inflection. 3 Math. = FLEXURE. ЬЬflexional adj. (in
sense 2). flexionless adj. (in sense 2). [L flexio (as
flexitime n. Brit. 1 a system of working a set number of hours with the
starting and finishing times chosen within agreed limits by the
employee. 2 the hours worked in this way. [FLEXIBLE + TIME]
n. Printing a rotary letterpress technique using rubber or
plastic plates and synthetic inks or dyes for printing on
fabrics, plastics, etc., as well as on paper. ЬЬflexographic
adj. [L flexus a bending f. flectere bend + -GRAPHY]
flexor n. (in full flexor muscle) a muscle that bends part of the body
(cf. EXTENSOR). [mod.L (as FLEX(1))]
flexuous adj. full of bends; winding. ЬЬflexuosity n. flexuously adv.
[L flexuosus f. flexus bending formed as FLEX(1)]
flexure n. 1 a the act of bending or the condition of being bent. b a
bend, curve, or turn. 2 Math. the curving of a line, surface,
or solid, esp. from a straight line, plane, etc. 3 Geol. the
bending of strata under pressure. ЬЬflexural adj. [L flexura
n. a gossiping, frivolous, or restless person. [imit. of
flick n. & v. --n. 1 a a light, sharp, quickly retracted blow with a
whip etc. b the sudden release of a bent finger or thumb, esp.
to propel a small object. 2 a sudden movement or jerk. 3 a
quick turn of the wrist in playing games, esp. in throwing or
striking a ball. 4 a slight, sharp sound. 5 Brit. colloq. a
a cinema film. b (in pl.; prec. by the) the cinema. --v. 1
tr. (often foll. by away, off) strike or move with a flick
(flicked the ash off his cigar; flicked away the dust). 2 tr.
give a flick with (a whip, towel, etc.). 3 intr. make a
flicking movement or sound. Ьflick-knife a weapon with a blade
that springs out from the handle when a button is pressed.
flick through 1 turn over (cards, pages, etc.). 2 a turn over
the pages etc. of, by a rapid movement of the fingers. b look
cursorily through (a book etc.). [ME, imit.]
v. & n. --v.intr. 1 (of light) shine unsteadily or fitfully.
2 (of a flame) burn unsteadily, alternately flaring and dying
down. 3 a (of a flag, a reptile's tongue, an eyelid, etc.) move
or wave to and fro; quiver; vibrate. b (of the wind) blow
lightly and unsteadily. 4 (of hope etc.) increase and decrease
unsteadily and intermittently. --n. a flickering movement or
light. Ьflicker out die away after a final flicker. [OE
n. any woodpecker of the genus Colaptes, native to N. America.
[imit. of its note]
flier var. of FLYER.
flight(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a the act or manner of flying through the air
(studied swallows' flight). b the swift movement or passage of
a projectile etc. through the air (the flight of an arrow). 2 a
a journey made through the air or in space. b a timetabled
journey made by an airline. c an RAF unit of about six
aircraft. 3 a a flock or large body of birds, insects, etc.,
esp. when migrating. b a migration. 4 (usu. foll. by of) a
series, esp. of stairs between floors, or of hurdles across a
race track (lives up six flights). 5 an extravagant soaring, a
mental or verbal excursion or sally (of wit etc.) (a flight of
fancy; a flight of ambition). 6 the trajectory and pace of a
ball in games. 7 the distance that a bird, aircraft, or missile
can fly. 8 (usu. foll. by of) a volley (a flight of arrows). 9
the tail of a dart. 10 the pursuit of game by a hawk. 11 swift
passage (of time). --v.tr. 1 vary the trajectory and pace of
(a cricket-ball etc.). 2 provide (an arrow) with feathers. 3
shoot (wildfowl etc.) in flight. Ьflight bag a small, zipped,
shoulder bag carried by air travellers. flight control an
internal or external system directing the movement of aircraft.
flight-deck 1 the deck of an aircraft-carrier used for take-off
and landing. 2 the accommodation for the pilot, navigator, etc.
in an aircraft. flight-feather a bird's wing or tail feather.
flight lieutenant an RAF officer next in rank below squadron
leader. flight officer a rank in the WRAF, corresponding to
flight lieutenant. flight path the planned course of an
aircraft or spacecraft. flight-recorder a device in an aircraft
to record technical details during a flight, that may be used in
the event of an accident to discover its cause. flight sergeant
Mil. an RAF rank next above sergeant. flight-test test (an
aircraft, rocket, etc.) during flight. in the first (or top)
flight taking a leading place. take (or wing) one's flight fly.
[OE flyht f. WG: rel to FLY(1)]
flight(2) n. 1 a the act or manner of fleeing. b a hasty retreat. 2
Econ. the selling of currency, investments, etc. in anticipation
of a fall in value (flight from sterling). Ьput to flight cause
to flee. take (or take to) flight flee. [OE f. Gmc: rel. to
adj. (of a bird etc.) naturally unable to fly.
flighty adj. (flightier, flightiest) 1 (usu. of a girl) frivolous,
fickle, changeable. 2 crazy. ЬЬflightily adv. flightiness n.
[FLIGHT(1) + -Y(1)]
flimflam n. & v. --n. 1 a trifle; nonsense; idle talk. 2 humbug;
deception. --v.tr. (flimflammed, flimflamming) cheat; deceive.
ЬЬflimflammer n. flimflammery n. (pl. -ies). [imit. redupl.]
flimsy adj. & n. --adj. (flimsier, flimsiest) 1 lightly or carelessly
assembled; insubstantial, easily damaged (a flimsy structure).
2 (of an excuse etc.) unconvincing (a flimsy pretext). 3
paltry; trivial; superficial (a flimsy play). 4 (of clothing)
thin (a flimsy blouse). --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a very thin paper.
b a document, esp. a copy, made on this. 2 a flimsy thing, esp.
women's underwear. ЬЬflimsily adv. flimsiness n. [17th c.:
prob. f. FLIMFLAM: cf. TIPSY]
flinch(1) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 draw back in pain or expectation of a blow
etc.; wince. 2 (often foll. by from) give way; shrink, turn
aside (flinched from his duty). --n. an act or instance of
flinching. ЬЬflincher n. flinchingly adv. [OF flenchir,
flainchir f. WG]
flinch(2) var. of FLENSE.
flinders n.pl. fragments; splinters. [ME, prob. f. Scand.]
fling v. & n. --v. (past and past part. flung) 1 tr. throw or hurl
(an object) forcefully. 2 refl. a (usu. foll. by into) rush
headlong (into a person's arms, a train, etc.). b (usu. foll.
by into) embark wholeheartedly (on an enterprise). c (usu.
foll. by on) throw (oneself) on a person's mercy etc. 3 tr.
utter (words) forcefully. 4 tr. (usu. foll. by out) suddenly
spread (the arms). 5 tr. (foll. by on, off) put on or take off
(clothes) carelessly or rapidly. 6 intr. go angrily or
violently; rush (flung out of the room). 7 tr. put or send
suddenly or violently (was flung into jail). 8 tr. (foll. by
away) discard or put aside thoughtlessly or rashly (flung away
their reputation). 9 intr. (usu. foll. by out) (of a horse
etc.) kick and plunge. 10 tr. archaic send, emit (sound,
light, smell). --n. 1 an act or instance of flinging; a throw;
a plunge. 2 a spell of indulgence or wild behaviour (he's had
his fling). 3 an impetuous, whirling Scottish dance, esp. the
Highland fling. Ьhave a fling at 1 make an attempt at. 2 jeer
at. ЬЬflinger n. [ME, perh. f. ON]
flint n. 1 a a hard grey stone of nearly pure silica occurring
naturally as nodules or bands in chalk. b a piece of this esp.
as flaked or ground to form a primitive tool or weapon. 2 a
piece of hard alloy of rare-earth metals used to give an
igniting spark in a cigarette-lighter etc. 3 a piece of flint
used with steel to produce fire, esp. in a flintlock gun. 4
anything hard and unyielding. Ьflint corn a variety of maize
having hard translucent grains. flint glass a pure lustrous
kind of glass orig. made with flint. ЬЬflinty adj. (flintier,
flintiest). flintily adv. flintiness n. [OE]
flintlock n. hist. 1 an old type of gun fired by a spark from a flint.
2 the lock producing such a spark.
flip(1) v., n., & adj. --v. (flipped, flipping) 1 tr. a flick or toss
(a coin, pellet, etc.) with a quick movement so that it spins in
the air. b remove (a small object) from a surface with a flick
of the fingers. 2 tr. a strike or flick (a person's ear,
cheek, etc.) lightly or smartly. b move (a fan, whip, etc.)
with a sudden jerk. 3 tr. turn (a small object) over. 4 intr.
a make a fillip or flicking noise with the fingers. b (foll. by
at) strike smartly at. 5 intr. move about with sudden jerks. 6
intr. sl. become suddenly excited or enthusiastic. --n. 1 a
smart light blow; a flick. 2 colloq. a a short pleasure flight
in an aircraft. b a quick tour etc. 3 an act of flipping over
(gave the stone a flip). --adj. colloq. glib; flippant. Ьflip
chart a large pad erected on a stand and bound so that one page
can be turned over at the top to reveal the next. flip one's
lid sl. 1 lose self-control. 2 go mad. flip side colloq. the
less important side of a gramophone record. flip through =
flick through. [prob. f. FILLIP]
flip(2) n. 1 a drink of heated beer and spirit. 2 = egg-flip. [perh.
f. FLIP(1) in the sense whip up]
flip-flop n. & v. --n. 1 a usu. rubber sandal with a thong between the
big and second toe. 2 esp. US a backward somersault. 3 an
electronic switching circuit changed from one stable state to
another, or through an unstable state back to its stable state,
by a triggering pulse. --v.intr. (-flopped, -flopping) move
with a sound or motion suggested by 'flip-flop'. [imit.]
flippant adj. lacking in seriousness; treating serious things lightly;
disrespectful. ЬЬflippancy n. flippantly adv. [FLIP(1) +
flipper n. 1 a broadened limb of a turtle, penguin, etc., used in
swimming. 2 a flat rubber etc. attachment worn on the foot for
underwater swimming. 3 sl. a hand.
flipping adj. & adv. Brit. sl. expressing annoyance, or as an
intensifier (where's the flipping towel?; he flipping beat me).
[FLIP(1) + -ING(2)]
flirt v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by with) behave in a
frivolously amorous or sexually enticing manner. 2 intr. (usu.
foll. by with) a superficially interest oneself (with an idea
etc.). b trifle (with danger etc.) (flirted with disgrace). 3
tr. wave or move (a fan, a bird's tail, etc.) briskly. 4 intr.
& tr. move or cause to move with a jerk. --n. 1 a person who
indulges in flirting. 2 a quick movement; a sudden jerk.
ЬЬflirtation n. flirtatious adj. flirtatiously adv.
flirtatiousness n. flirty adj. (flirtier, flirtiest). [imit.]
flit v. & n. --v.intr. (flitted, flitting) 1 move lightly, softly,
or rapidly (flitted from one room to another). 2 fly lightly;
make short flights (flitted from branch to branch). 3 Brit.
colloq. leave one's house etc. secretly to escape creditors or
obligations. 4 esp. Sc. & N.Engl. change one's home; move.
--n. 1 an act of flitting. 2 (also moonlight flit) a secret
change of abode in order to escape creditors etc. ЬЬflitter n.
[ME f. ON flytja: rel. to FLEET(5)]
flitch n. 1 a side of bacon. 2 a slab of timber from a tree-trunk,
usu. from the outside. 3 (in full flitch-plate) a strengthening
plate in a beam etc. Ьflitch-beam a compound beam, esp. of an
iron plate between two slabs of wood. [OE flicce f. Gmc]
flivver n. US sl. 1 a cheap car or aircraft. 2 a failure. [20th c.:
flixweed n. a cruciferous plant, Descurainia sophia, formerly thought to
cure dysentery. [earlier fluxweed]
float v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. a rest or move or cause (a buoyant
object) to rest or move on the surface of a liquid without
sinking. b get afloat or set (a stranded ship) afloat. 2 intr.
move with a liquid or current of air; drift (the clouds floated
high up). 3 intr. colloq. a move in a leisurely or casual way
(floated about humming quietly). b (often foll. by before)
hover before the eye or mind (the prospect of lunch floated
before them). 4 intr. (often foll. by in) move or be suspended
freely in a liquid or a gas. 5 tr. a bring (a company, scheme,
etc.) into being; launch. b offer (stock, shares, etc.) on the
stock market. 6 Commerce a intr. (of currency) be allowed to
have a fluctuating exchange rate. b tr. cause (currency) to
float. c intr. (of an acceptance) be in circulation. 7 tr. (of
water etc.) support; bear along (a buoyant object). 8 intr. &
tr. circulate or cause (a rumour or idea) to circulate. 9 tr.
waft (a buoyant object) through the air. 10 tr. archaic cover
with liquid; inundate. --n. 1 a thing that floats, esp.: a a
raft. b a cork or quill on a fishing-line as an indicator of a
fish biting. c a cork supporting the edge of a fishing-net. d
the hollow or inflated part or organ supporting a fish etc. in
the water; an air bladder. e a hollow structure fixed
underneath an aircraft enabling it to float on water. f a
floating device on the surface of water, petrol, etc.,
controlling the flow. 2 a small vehicle or cart, esp. one
powered by electricity (milk float). 3 a platform mounted on a
lorry and carrying a display in a procession etc. 4 a a sum of
money used at the beginning of a period of selling in a shop, a
f€te, etc. to provide change. b a small sum of money for minor
expenditure; petty cash. 5 Theatr. (in sing. or pl.)
footlights. 6 a tool used for smoothing plaster. Ьfloat-board
one of the boards of a water-wheel or paddle-wheel. float glass
a kind of glass made by drawing the molten glass continuously on
to a surface of molten metal for hardening. float process the
process used to make float glass. float-stone a light, porous
stone that floats. ЬЬfloatable adj. floatability n. [OE flot,
flotian float, OE flota ship, ON flota, floti rel. to FLEET(5):
in ME infl. by OF floter]
floatage n. 1 the act or state of floating. 2 Brit. a floating objects
or masses; flotsam. b the right of appropriating flotsam. 3 a
ships etc. afloat on a river. b the part of a ship above the
water-line. 4 buoyancy; floating power.
var. of FLOTATION.
floater n. 1 a person or thing that floats. 2 a floating voter. 3 sl.
a mistake; a gaffe. 4 a person who frequently changes
occupation. 5 Stock Exch. a government stock certificate etc.
recognized as a security.
floating adj. not settled in a definite place; fluctuating; variable
(the floating population). Ьfloating anchor a sea anchor.
floating bridge 1 a bridge on pontoons etc. 2 a ferry working
on chains. floating debt a debt repayable on demand, or at a
stated time. floating dock a floating structure usable as a dry
dock. floating kidney 1 an abnormal condition in which the
kidneys are unusually movable. 2 such a kidney. floating light
1 a lightship. 2 a lifebuoy with a lantern. floating point
Computing a decimal etc. point that does not occupy a fixed
position in the numbers processed. floating rib any of the
lower ribs, which are not attached to the breastbone. floating
voter a voter without allegiance to any political party.
floaty adj. (esp. of a woman's garment or a fabric) light and airy.
floc n. a flocculent mass of fine particles. [abbr. of FLOCCULUS]
v.tr. & intr. form into flocculent masses. ЬЬflocculation n.
floccule n. a small portion of matter resembling a tuft of wool.
adj. 1 like tufts of wool. 2 consisting of or showing tufts,
downy. 3 Chem. (of precipitates) loosely massed. ЬЬflocculence
n. [L floccus FLOCK(2)]
flocculus n. (pl. flocculi) 1 a floccule. 2 Anat. a small ovoid lobe in
the under-surface of the cerebellum. 3 Astron. a small cloudy
wisp on the sun's surface. [mod.L, dimin. of FLOCCUS]
floccus n. (pl. flocci) a tuft of woolly hairs or filaments. [L, =
flock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a number of animals of one kind, esp. birds,
feeding or travelling together. b a number of domestic animals,
esp. sheep, goats, or geese, kept together. 2 a large crowd of
people. 3 a a Christian congregation or body of believers, esp.
in relation to one minister. b a family of children, a number
of pupils, etc. --v.intr. 1 congregate; mass. 2 (usu. foll.
by to, in, out, together) go together in a crowd; troop
(thousands flocked to Wembley). [OE flocc]
flock(2) n. 1 a lock or tuft of wool, cotton, etc. 2 a (also in pl.;
often attrib.) material for quilting and stuffing made of
wool-refuse or torn-up cloth (a flock pillow). b powdered wool
or cloth. Ьflock-paper (or -wallpaper) wallpaper sized and
sprinkled with powdered wool to make a raised pattern. ЬЬflocky
adj. [ME f. OF floc f. L floccus]
floe n. a sheet of floating ice. [prob. f. Norw. flo f. ON flў
flog v. (flogged, flogging) 1 tr. a beat with a whip, stick, etc.
(as a punishment or to urge on). b make work through violent
effort (flogged the engine). 2 tr. Brit. sl. sell. 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by into, out of) drive (a quality, knowledge, etc.)
into or out of a person, esp. by physical punishment. 4 intr. &
refl. sl. proceed by violent or painful effort. Ьflog a dead
horse waste energy on something unalterable. flog to death
colloq. talk about or promote at tedious length. ЬЬflogger n.
[17th-c. cant: prob. imit. or f. L flagellare to whip]
flong n. Printing prepared paper for making stereotype moulds. [F
flood n. & v. --n. 1 a an overflowing or influx of water beyond its
normal confines, esp. over land; an inundation. b the water
that overflows. 2 a an outpouring of water; a torrent (a flood
of rain). b something resembling a torrent (a flood of tears; a
flood of relief). 3 the inflow of the tide (also in comb. :
flood-tide). 4 colloq. a floodlight. 5 (the Flood) the flood
described in Genesis. 6 poet. a river; a stream; a sea. --v.
1 tr. a cover with or overflow in a flood (rain flooded the
cellar). b overflow as if with a flood (the market was flooded
with foreign goods). 2 tr. irrigate (flooded the paddy fields).
3 tr. deluge (a burning house, a mine, etc.) with water. 4
intr. (often foll. by in, through) arrive in great quantities
(complaints flooded in; fear flooded through them). 5 intr.
become inundated (the bathroom flooded). 6 tr. overfill (a
carburettor) with petrol. 7 intr. experience a uterine
haemorrhage. 8 tr. (of rain etc.) fill (a river) to
overflowing. Ьflood and field sea and land. flood out drive
out (of one's home etc.) with a flood. flood-tide the
periodical exceptional rise of the tide because of lunar or
solar attraction. [OE flod f. Gmc]
floodgate n. 1 a gate opened or closed to admit or exclude water, esp.
the lower gate of a lock. 2 (usu. in pl.) a last restraint
holding back tears, rain, anger, etc.
n. & v. --n. 1 a large powerful light (usu. one of several) to
illuminate a building, sportsground, stage, etc. 2 the
illumination so provided. --v.tr. illuminate with floodlight.
floor n. & v. --n. 1 a the lower surface of a room. b the boards
etc. of which it is made. 2 a the bottom of the sea, a cave, a
cavity, etc. b any level area. 3 all the rooms etc. on the
same level of a building; a storey (lives on the ground floor;
walked up to the sixth floor). 4 a (in a legislative assembly)
the part of the house in which members sit and from which they
speak. b the right to speak next in debate (gave him the
floor). 5 Stock Exch. the large central hall where trading
takes place. 6 the minimum of prices, wages, etc. 7 colloq.
the ground. --v.tr. 1 furnish with a floor; pave. 2 bring to
the ground; knock (a person) down. 3 colloq. confound, baffle
(was floored by the puzzle). 4 colloq. get the better of;
overcome. 5 serve as the floor of (leopard skins floored the
hall). Ьfirst (US second) floor the floor above the ground
floor. floor-lamp US a standard lamp. floor-leader US the
leader of a party in a legislative assembly. floor manager 1
the stage manager of a television production. 2 a shopwalker.
floor plan a diagram of the rooms etc. on one storey of a
building. floor-polish a manufactured substance used for
polishing floors. floor show an entertainment presented on the
floor (as opposed to the stage) of a nightclub etc.
floor-walker US a shopwalker. from the floor (of a speech etc.)
given by a member of the audience, not by those on the platform
etc. take the floor 1 begin to dance on a dance-floor etc. 2
speak in a debate. ЬЬfloorless adj. [OE flor f. Gmc]
n. a long wooden board used for flooring.
n. a cloth for washing the floor.
flooring n. the boards etc. of which a floor is made.
floozie n. (also floozy) (pl. -ies) colloq. a girl or a woman, esp. a
disreputable one. [20th c.: cf. FLOSSY and dial. floosy
flop v., n., & adv. --v.intr. (flopped, flopping) 1 sway about
heavily or loosely (hair flopped over his face). 2 move in an
ungainly way (flopped along the beach in flippers). 3 (often
foll. by down, on, into) sit, kneel, lie, or fall awkwardly or
suddenly (flopped down on to the bench). 4 sl. (esp. of a play,
film, book, etc.) fail; collapse (flopped on Broadway). 5 sl.
sleep. 6 make a dull sound as of a soft body landing, or of a
flat thing slapping water. --n. 1 a a flopping movement. b
the sound made by it. 2 sl. a failure. 3 sl. esp. US a bed.
--adv. with a flop. Ьflop-house sl. esp. US a doss-house.
[var. of FLAP]
floppy adj. & n. --adj. (floppier, floppiest) tending to flop; not
firm or rigid. --n. (pl. -ies) (in full floppy disk)
Computing a flexible removable magnetic disc for the storage of
data. ЬЬfloppily adv. floppiness n.
flor. abbr. floruit.
flora n. (pl. floras or florae) 1 the plants of a particular region,
geological period, or environment. 2 a treatise on or list of
these. [mod.L f. the name of the goddess of flowers f. L flos
floral adj. 1 of flowers. 2 decorated with or depicting flowers. 3
of flora or floras. ЬЬflorally adv. [L floralis or flos floris
floreat v.intr. may (he, she, or it) flourish. [L, 3rd sing. pres.
subj. of florere flourish]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Florence in Italy. 2
(florentine) (of a dish) served on a bed of spinach. --n. a
native or citizen of Florence. [F Florentin -ine or L
Florentinus f. Florentia Florence]
n. the process, state, or time of flowering. [mod.L
florescentia f. L florescere f. florere bloom]
floret n. Bot. 1 each of the small flowers making up a composite
flower-head. 2 each of the flowering stems making up a head of
cauliflower, broccoli, etc. 3 a small flower. [L flos floris
floriate v.tr. decorate with flower-designs etc.
n. a plant, esp. a rose, bearing dense clusters of flowers.
[mod.L f. floribundus freely flowering f. L flos floris flower,
infl. by L abundus copious]
n. the cultivation of flowers. ЬЬfloricultural adj.
floriculturist n. [L flos floris flower + CULTURE, after
florid adj. 1 ruddy; flushed; high-coloured (a florid complexion). 2
(of a book, a picture, music, architecture, etc.) elaborately
ornate; ostentatious; showy. 3 adorned with or as with flowers;
flowery. ЬЬfloridity n. floridly adv. floridness n. [F
floride or L floridus f. flos floris flower]
adj. (of a seed or plant) producing many flowers. [L florifer
f. flos floris flower]
n. (pl. florilegia or florilegiums) an anthology. [mod.L f. L
flos floris flower + legere gather, transl. of Gk anthologion
florin n. hist. 1 a a British silver or alloy two-shilling coin of
the 19th-20th c. (now worth 10 pence at face value). b an
English gold coin of the 14th c., worth 6s. 8d. (33 pence). 2 a
foreign coin of gold or silver, esp. a Dutch guilder. [ME f. OF
f. It. fiorino dimin. of fiore flower f. L flos floris, the
orig. coin having a figure of a lily on it]
florist n. a person who deals in or grows flowers. ЬЬfloristry n. [L
flos floris flower + -IST]
floristic adj. relating to the study of the distribution of plants.
ЬЬfloristically adv. floristics n.
floruit v. & n. --v.intr. (he or she) was alive and working; flourished
(used of a person, esp. a painter, a writer, etc., whose exact
dates are unknown). --n. the period or date at which a person
lived or worked. [L, = he or she flourished]
flory var. of FLEURY.
floscular adj. (also flosculous) having florets or composite flowers. [L
flosculus dimin. of flos flower]
floss n. & v. --n. 1 the rough silk enveloping a silkworm's cocoon.
2 untwisted silk thread used in embroidery. 3 = dental floss.
--v.tr. (also absol.) clean (the teeth) with dental floss.
Ьfloss silk a rough silk used in cheap goods. [F (soie) floche
floss(-silk) f. OF flosche down, nap of velvet]
flossy adj. (flossier, flossiest) 1 of or like floss. 2 colloq.
flotation n. (also floatation) 1 the process of launching or financing a
commercial enterprise. 2 the separation of the components of
crushed ore etc. by their different capacities to float. 3 the
capacity to float. Ьcentre of flotation the centre of gravity
in a floating body. [alt. of floatation f. FLOAT, after
flotilla n. 1 a small fleet. 2 a fleet of boats or small ships. [Sp.,
dimin. of flota fleet, OF flote multitude]
flotsam n. wreckage found floating. Ьflotsam and jetsam 1 odds and
ends; rubbish. 2 vagrants etc. [AF floteson f. floter FLOAT]
v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by away, about, off, out) go or
move with an agitated, violent, or impatient motion (flounced
out in a huff). --n. a flouncing movement. [16th c.: orig.
unkn.: perh. imit., as bounce, pounce]
n. & v. --n. a wide ornamental strip of material gathered and
sewn to a skirt, dress, etc.; a frill. --v.tr. trim with a
flounce or flounces. [alt. of earlier frounce fold, pleat, f.
OF fronce f. froncir wrinkle]
v. & n. --v.intr. 1 struggle in mud, or as if in mud, or when
wading. 2 perform a task badly or without knowledge; be out of
one's depth. --n. an act of floundering. ЬЬflounderer n.
[imit.: perh. assoc. with founder, blunder]
n. 1 an edible flat-fish, Pleuronectes flesus, native to
European shores. 2 any of various flat-fish native to N.
American shores. [ME f. AF floundre, OF flondre, prob. of
flour n. & v. --n. 1 a meal or powder obtained by grinding and usu.
sifting cereals, esp. wheat. 2 any fine powder. --v.tr. 1
sprinkle with flour. 2 US grind into flour. ЬЬfloury adj.
(flourier, flouriest). flouriness n. [ME, different. spelling
of FLOWER in the sense 'finest part']
flourish v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a grow vigorously; thrive. b prosper;
be successful. c be in one's prime. d be in good health. 2
intr. (usu. foll. by in, at, about) spend one's life; be active
(at a specified time) (flourished in the Middle Ages) (cf.
FLORUIT). 3 tr. show ostentatiously (flourished his
cheque-book). 4 tr. wave (a weapon, one's limbs, etc.)
vigorously. --n. 1 an ostentatious gesture with a weapon, a
hand, etc. (removed his hat with a flourish). 2 an ornamental
curving decoration of handwriting. 3 a florid verbal
expression; a rhetorical embellishment. 4 Mus. a a fanfare
played by brass instruments. b an ornate musical passage. c an
extemporized addition played esp. at the beginning or end of a
composition. 5 archaic an instance of prosperity; a
flourishing. ЬЬflourisher n. flourishy adj. [ME f. OF florir
ult. f. L florere f. flos floris flower]
flout v. & n. --v. 1 tr. express contempt for (the law, rules, etc.)
by word or action; mock; insult (flouted convention by shaving
her head). °Often confused with flaunt. 2 intr. (often foll.
by at) mock or scoff at. --n. a flouting speech or act. [perh.
f. Du. fluiten whistle, hiss: cf. FLUTE]
flow v. & n. --v.intr. 1 glide along as a stream (the Thames flows
under London Bridge). 2 a (of a liquid, esp. water) gush out;
spring. b (of blood, liquid, etc.) be spilt. 3 (of blood,
money, electric current, etc.) circulate. 4 (of people or
things) come or go in large numbers or smoothly (traffic flowed
down the hill). 5 (of talk, literary style, etc.) proceed
easily and smoothly. 6 (of a garment, hair, etc.) hang easily
or gracefully; undulate. 7 (often foll. by from) result from;
be caused by (his failure flows from his diffidence). 8 (esp.
of the tide) be in flood; run full. 9 (of wine) be poured out
copiously. 10 (of a rock or metal) undergo a permanent change
of shape under stress. 11 (foll. by with) archaic be
plentifully supplied with (land flowing with milk and honey).
--n. 1 a a flowing movement in a stream. b the manner in which
a thing flows (a sluggish flow). c a flowing liquid (couldn't
stop the flow). d a copious outpouring; a stream (a continuous
flow of complaints). 2 the rise of a tide or a river (ebb and
flow). 3 the gradual deformation of a rock or metal under
stress. 4 Sc. a bog or morass. Ьflow chart (or diagram or
sheet) 1 a diagram of the movement or action of things or
persons engaged in a complex activity. 2 a graphical
representation of a computer program in relation to its sequence
of functions (as distinct from the data it processes). flow of
spirits habitual cheerfulness. flow-on Austral. a wage or
salary adjustment made as a consequence of one already made in a
similar or related occupation. [OE flowan f. Gmc, rel. to
flower n. & v. --n. 1 the part of a plant from which the fruit or
seed is developed. 2 the reproductive organ in a plant
containing one or more pistils or stamens or both, and usu. a
corolla and calyx. 3 a blossom, esp. on a stem and used in
bunches for decoration. 4 a plant cultivated or noted for its
flowers. 5 (in pl.) ornamental phrases (flowers of speech).
--v. 1 intr. (of a plant) produce flowers; bloom or blossom. 2
intr. reach a peak. 3 tr. cause or allow (a plant) to flower.
4 tr. decorate with worked flowers or a floral design.
Ьflower-bed a garden bed in which flowers are grown.
flower-girl a woman who sells flowers, esp. in the street.
flower-head = HEAD n. 4d. the flower of the best or best part
of. flower people hippies carrying or wearing flowers as
symbols of peace and love. flower power the ideas of the flower
people regarded as an instrument in changing the world. flowers
of sulphur Chem. a fine powder produced when sulphur evaporates
and condenses. in flower with the flowers out. ЬЬflowered adj.
(also in comb.). flowerless adj. flowerlike adj. [ME f. AF
flur, OF flour, flor, f. L flos floris]
flowerer n. a plant that flowers at a specified time (a late flowerer).
floweret n. a small flower.
flowering adj. (of a plant) capable of producing flowers.
flowerpot n. a pot in which a plant may be grown.
flowery adj. 1 decorated with flowers or floral designs. 2 (of
literary style, manner of speech, etc.) high-flown; ornate. 3
full of flowers (a flowery meadow). ЬЬfloweriness n.
flowing adj. 1 (of literary style etc.) fluent; easy. 2 (of a line, a
curve, or a contour) smoothly continuous, not abrupt. 3 (of
hair, a garment, a sail, etc.) unconfined. ЬЬflowingly adv.
flown past part. of FLY(1).
flowstone n. rock deposited in a thin sheet by a flow of water.
FLQ abbr. Front de Lib‚ration du Qu‚bec.
Flt. Lt. abbr. Flight Lieutenant.
Flt. Off. abbr. Flight Officer.
Flt. Sgt. abbr. Flight Sergeant.
flu n. colloq. influenza. [abbr.]
flub v. & n. US colloq. --v.tr. & intr. (flubbed, flubbing) botch;
bungle. --n. something badly or clumsily done. [20th c.: orig.
fluctuate v.intr. vary irregularly; be unstable, vacillate; rise and
fall, move to and fro. ЬЬfluctuation n. [L fluctuare f.
fluctus flow, wave f. fluere fluct- flow]
flue n. 1 a smoke-duct in a chimney. 2 a channel for conveying
heat, esp. a hot-air passage in a wall; a tube for heating water
in some kinds of boiler. Ьflue-cure cure (tobacco) by
artificial heat from flues. flue-pipe an organ pipe into which
the air enters directly, not striking a reed. [16th c.: orig.
fluence n. colloq. influence. Ьput the fluence on apply hypnotic etc.
power to (a person). [shortening of INFLUENCE]
fluency n. 1 a smooth, easy flow, esp. in speech or writing. 2 a ready
command of words or of a specified foreign language.
fluent adj. 1 a (of speech or literary style) flowing naturally and
readily. b having command of a foreign language (is fluent in
German). c able to speak quickly and easily. 2 flowing easily
or gracefully (the fluent line of her arabesque). 3 archaic
liable to change; unsettled. ЬЬfluently adv. [L fluere flow]
fluff n. & v. --n. 1 soft, light, feathery material coming off
blankets etc. 2 soft fur or feathers. 3 sl. a a mistake in
delivering theatrical lines, in playing music, etc. b a mistake
in playing a game. --v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by up)
shake into or become a soft mass. 2 tr. & intr. colloq. make a
mistake in (a theatrical part, a game, playing music, a speech,
etc.); blunder (fluffed his opening line). 3 tr. make into
fluff. 4 tr. put a soft surface on (the flesh side of leather).
Ьbit of fluff sl. offens. a woman regarded as an object of
sexual desire. [prob. dial. alt. of flue fluff]
fluffy adj. (fluffier, fluffiest) 1 of or like fluff. 2 covered in
fluff; downy. ЬЬfluffily adv. fluffiness n.
n. a valved brass wind instrument like a cornet but with a
broader tone. [G FlЃgelhorn f. FlЃgel wing + Horn horn]
fluid n. & adj. --n. 1 a substance, esp. a gas or liquid, lacking
definite shape and capable of flowing and yielding to the
slightest pressure. 2 a fluid part or secretion. --adj. 1
able to flow and alter shape freely. 2 constantly changing or
fluctuating (the situation is fluid). 3 (of a clutch, coupling,
etc.) in which liquid is used to transmit power. Ьfluid drachm
see DRACHM. fluid ounce see OUNCE(1). ЬЬfluidify v.tr. (-ies,
-ied). fluidity n. fluidly adv. fluidness n. [F fluide or L
fluidus f. fluere flow]
fluidics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the study and technique of using
small interacting flows and fluid jets for functions usu.
performed by electronic devices. ЬЬfluidic adj.
fluidize v.tr. (also -ise) cause (a finely divided solid) to acquire the
characteristics of a fluid by the upward passage of a gas etc.
n. US a fluid ounce (see OUNCE(1)).
fluidram n. US a fluid drachm (see DRACHM).
fluke(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a lucky accident (won by a fluke). 2 a chance
breeze. --v.tr. achieve by a fluke (fluked that shot). [19th
c.: perh. f. dial. fluke guess]
fluke(2) n. 1 any parasitic flatworm of the class Digenea or Monogenea,
including liver flukes and blood flukes. 2 a flat-fish, esp. a
flounder. [OE floc]
fluke(3) n. 1 Naut. a broad triangular plate on the arm of an anchor. 2
the barbed head of a lance, harpoon, etc. 3 Zool. either of the
lobes of a whale's tail. [16th c.: perh. f. FLUKE(2)]
fluky adj. (flukier, flukiest) of the nature of a fluke; obtained
more by chance than skill. ЬЬflukily adv. flukiness n.
flume n. & v. --n. 1 an artificial channel conveying water etc. for
industrial use. 2 a ravine with a stream. --v. 1 intr. build
flumes. 2 tr. convey down a flume. [ME f. OF flum, flun f. L
flumen river f. fluere flow]
flummery n. (pl. -ies) 1 empty compliments; trifles; nonsense. 2 a
sweet dish made with beaten eggs, sugar, etc. [Welsh llymru, of
flump v. & n. --v. (often foll. by down) 1 intr. fall or move
heavily. 2 tr. set or throw down with a heavy thud. --n. the
action or sound of flumping. [imit.]
flung past and past part. of FLING.
flunk v. & n. US colloq. --v. 1 tr. a fail (an examination etc.).
b fail (an examination candidate). 2 intr. (often foll. by out)
fail utterly; give up. --n. an instance of flunking. Ьflunk
out be dismissed from school etc. after failing an examination.
[cf. FUNK(1) and obs. flink be a coward]
flunkey n. (also flunky) (pl. -eys or -ies) usu. derog. 1 a liveried
servant; a footman. 2 a toady; a snob. 3 US a cook, waiter,
etc. ЬЬflunkeyism n. [18th c. (orig. Sc.): perh. f. FLANK
with the sense 'sidesman, flanker']
fluoresce v.intr. be or become fluorescent.
n. 1 the visible or invisible radiation produced from certain
substances as a result of incident radiation of a shorter
wavelength as X-rays, ultraviolet light, etc. 2 the property of
absorbing light of short (invisible) wavelength and emitting
light of longer (visible) wavelength. [FLUORSPAR (which
fluoresces) after opalescence]
adj. (of a substance) having or showing fluorescence.
Ьfluorescent lamp (or bulb) a lamp or bulb radiating largely by
fluorescence, esp. a tubular lamp in which phosphor on the
inside surface of the tube is made to fluoresce by ultraviolet
radiation from mercury vapour. fluorescent screen a screen
coated with fluorescent material to show images from X-rays etc.
v.tr. add traces of fluoride to (drinking-water etc.).
n. (also fluoridization) the addition of traces of fluoride to
drinking-water in order to prevent or reduce tooth-decay.
fluoride n. any binary compound of fluorine.
v.tr. 1 = FLUORIDATE. 2 introduce fluorine into (a compound)
(fluorinated hydrocarbons). ЬЬfluorination n.
fluorine n. a poisonous pale-yellow gaseous element of the halogen group
occurring naturally in fluorite and cryolite, and the most
reactive of all elements. °Symb.: F. [F (as FLUORSPAR)]
fluorite n. a mineral form of calcium fluoride. [It. (as FLUORSPAR)]
n. a compound formed by replacing one or more of the hydrogen
atoms in a hydrocarbon with fluorine atoms.
n. an instrument with a fluorescent screen on which X-ray
images may be viewed without taking and developing X-ray
fluorosis n. poisoning by fluorine or its compounds. [F fluorose (as
fluorspar n. = FLUORITE. [fluor a flow, any of the minerals used as
fluxes, fluorspar, f. L fluor f. fluere flow + SPAR(3)]
flurry n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a gust or squall (of snow, rain,
etc.). 2 a sudden burst of activity. 3 a commotion;
excitement; nervous agitation (a flurry of speculation; the
flurry of the city). --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) confuse by haste or
noise; agitate. [imit.: cf. obs. flurr ruffle, hurry]
flush(1) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a blush, redden (he flushed with
embarrassment). b glow with a warm colour (sky flushed pink).
2 tr. (usu. as flushed adj.) cause to glow or blush (often foll.
by with : flushed with pride). 3 tr. a cleanse (a drain,
lavatory, etc.) by a rushing flow of water. b (often foll. by
away, down) dispose of (an object) in this way (flushed away the
cigarette). 4 intr. rush out, spurt. 5 tr. flood (the river
flushed the meadow). 6 intr. (of a plant) throw out fresh
shoots. --n. 1 a a blush. b a glow of light or colour. 2 a a
rush of water. b the cleansing of a drain, lavatory, etc. by
flushing. 3 a a rush of emotion. b the elation produced by a
victory etc. (the flush of triumph). 4 sudden abundance. 5
freshness; vigour (in the first flush of womanhood). 6 a (also
hot flush) a sudden feeling of heat during the menopause. b a
feverish temperature. c facial redness, esp. caused by fever,
alcohol, etc. 7 a fresh growth of grass etc. ЬЬflusher n.
[ME, perh. = FLUSH(4) infl. by flash and blush]
flush(2) adj. & v. --adj. 1 (often foll. by with) in the same plane;
level; even (the sink is flush with the cooker; fitted it flush
with the wall). 2 (usu. predic.) colloq. a having plenty of
money. b (of money) abundant, plentiful. 3 full to
overflowing; in flood. --v.tr. 1 make (surfaces) level. 2
fill in (a joint) level with a surface. ЬЬflushness n. [prob.
flush(3) n. a hand of cards all of one suit, esp. in poker. Ьroyal
flush a straight poker flush headed by an ace. straight flush a
flush that is a numerical sequence. [OF flus, flux f. L fluxus
flush(4) v. 1 tr. cause (esp. a game bird) to fly up. 2 intr. (of a
bird) fly up and away. Ьflush out 1 reveal. 2 drive out. [ME,
imit.: cf. fly, rush]
fluster v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become nervous or confused;
flurry (was flustered by the noise; he flusters easily). 2 tr.
confuse with drink; half-intoxicate. 3 intr. bustle. --n. a
confused or agitated state. [ME: orig. unkn.: cf. Icel.
flaustr(a) hurry, bustle]
flute n. & v. --n. 1 a a high-pitched woodwind instrument of metal
or wood, having holes along it stopped by the fingers or keys,
and held across the body. b an organ stop having a similar
sound. c any of various wind instruments resembling a flute. d
a flute-player. 2 a Archit. an ornamental vertical groove in a
column. b a trumpet-shaped frill on a dress etc. c any similar
cylindrical groove. 3 a tall narrow wineglass. --v. 1 intr.
play the flute. 2 intr. speak, sing, or whistle in a fluting
way. 3 tr. make flutes or grooves in. 4 tr. play (a tune etc.)
on a flute. ЬЬflutelike adj. fluting n. flutist n. US (cf.
FLAUTIST). fluty adj. (in sense 1a of n.). [ME f. OF fl‰ute,
fl„ute, flahute, prob. f. Prov. fl„ut]
flutter v. & n. --v. 1 a intr. flap the wings in flying or trying to
fly (butterflies fluttered in the sunshine). b tr. flap (the
wings). 2 intr. fall with a quivering motion (leaves fluttered
to the ground). 3 intr. & tr. move or cause to move irregularly
or tremblingly (the wind fluttered the flag). 4 intr. go about
restlessly; flit; hover. 5 tr. agitate, confuse. 6 intr. (of a
pulse or heartbeat) beat feebly or irregularly. 7 intr. tremble
with excitement or agitation. --n. 1 a the act of fluttering.
b an instance of this. 2 tremulous excitement; a sensation (was
in a flutter; caused a flutter with his behaviour). 3 Brit.
sl. a small bet, esp. on a horse. 4 an abnormally rapid but
regular heartbeat. 5 Aeron. an undesired oscillation in a part
of an aircraft etc. under stress. 6 Mus. a rapid movement of
the tongue (as when rolling one's rs) in playing a wind
instrument. 7 Electronics a rapid variation of pitch, esp. of
recorded sound (cf. WOW(2)). 8 a vibration. Ьflutter the
dovecots cause alarm among normally imperturbable people.
ЬЬflutterer n. fluttery adj. [OE floterian, flotorian,
frequent. form rel. to FLEET(5)]
fluvial adj. of or found in a river or rivers. [ME f. L fluvialis f.
fluvius river f. fluere flow]
adj. of, found in, or produced by a river or rivers. [F f. L
fluviatilis f. fluviatus moistened f. fluvius]
fluvio- comb. form river (fluviometer). [L fluvius river f. fluere
adj. of or caused by streams from glacial ice, or the combined
action of rivers and glaciers.
n. an instrument for measuring the rise and fall of rivers.
flux n. & v. --n. 1 a process of flowing or flowing out. 2 an
issue or discharge. 3 continuous change (in a state of flux).
4 Metallurgy a substance mixed with a metal etc. to promote
fusion. 5 Physics a the rate of flow of any fluid across a
given area. b the amount of fluid crossing an area in a given
time. 6 Physics the amount of radiation or particles incident
on an area in a given time. 7 Electr. the total electric or
magnetic field passing through a surface. 8 Med. an abnormal
discharge of blood or excrement from the body. --v. 1 tr. &
intr. make or become fluid. 2 tr. a fuse. b treat with a
fusing flux. [ME f. OF flux or L fluxus f. fluere flux- flow]
fluxion n. Math. the rate at which a variable quantity changes; a
derivative. [F fluxion or L fluxio (as FLUX)]
fly(1) v. & n. --v. (flies; past flew; past part. flown) 1 intr.
move through the air under control, esp. with wings. 2 (of an
aircraft or its occupants): a intr. travel through the air or
through space. b tr. traverse (a region or distance) (flew the
Channel). 3 tr. a control the flight of (esp. an aircraft). b
transport in an aircraft. 4 a tr. cause to fly or remain aloft.
b intr. (of a flag, hair, etc.) wave or flutter. 5 intr. pass
or rise quickly through the air or over an obstacle. 6 intr. go
or move quickly; pass swiftly (time flies). 7 intr. a flee. b
colloq. depart hastily. 8 intr. be driven or scattered; be
forced off suddenly (sent me flying; the door flew open). 9
intr. (foll. by at, upon) a hasten or spring violently. b
attack or criticize fiercely. 10 tr. flee from; escape in
haste. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 (usu. in pl.) a a flap on a garment,
esp. trousers, to contain or cover a fastening. b this
fastening. 2 a flap at the entrance of a tent. 3 (in pl.) the
space over the proscenium in a theatre. 4 the act or an
instance of flying. 5 (pl. usu. flys) Brit. hist. a
one-horse hackney carriage. 6 a speed-regulating device in
clockwork and machinery. Ьfly-away (of hair etc.) tending to
fly out or up; streaming. fly-by (pl. -bys) a flight past a
position, esp. the approach of a spacecraft to a planet for
observation. fly-by-night adj. unreliable. --n. an unreliable
person. fly-half Rugby Football a stand-off half. fly high 1
pursue a high ambition. 2 excel, prosper. fly in the face of
openly disregard or disobey; conflict roundly with (probability,
the evidence, etc.). fly into a rage (or temper etc.) become
suddenly or violently angry. fly a kite 1 try something out;
test public opinion. 2 raise money by an accommodation bill.
fly off the handle colloq. lose one's temper suddenly and
unexpectedly. fly-past a ceremonial flight of aircraft past a
person or a place. fly-pitcher sl. a street-trader.
fly-pitching sl. street-trading. ЬЬflyable adj. [OE fleogan
fly(2) n. (pl. flies) 1 any insect of the order Diptera with two usu.
transparent wings. 2 any other winged insect, e.g. a firefly or
mayfly. 3 a disease of plants or animals caused by flies. 4 a
natural or artificial fly used as bait in fishing. Ьfly agaric
a poisonous fungus Amanita Muscaria, forming bright-red
mushrooms with white flecks. fly-blow flies' eggs contaminating
food, esp. meat. fly-blown adj. tainted, esp. by flies.
fly-fish v.intr. fish with a fly. fly in the ointment a minor
irritation that spoils enjoyment. fly on the wall an unnoticed
observer. fly-paper sticky treated paper for catching flies.
fly-post display (posters etc.) rapidly in unauthorized places.
fly-tip illegally dump (waste). fly-tipper a person who engages
in fly-tipping. fly-trap any of various plants that catch
flies, esp. the Venus fly-trap. like flies in large numbers
(usu. of people dying in an epidemic etc.). no flies on colloq.
nothing to diminish (a person's) astuteness. [OE flyge, fleoge
fly(3) adj. Brit. sl. knowing, clever, alert. ЬЬflyness n. [19th
c.: orig. unkn.]
n. any bird of the families Tyrannidae and Muscicapidae,
catching insects esp. in short flights from a perch.
flyer n. (also flier) colloq. 1 an airman or airwoman. 2 a thing
that flies in a specified way (a poor flyer). 3 a fast-moving
animal or vehicle. 4 an ambitious or outstanding person. 5 US
a small handbill. 6 US a speculative investment. 7 a flying
flying adj. & n. --adj. 1 fluttering or waving in the air; hanging
loose. 2 hasty, brief (a flying visit). 3 designed for rapid
movement. 4 (of an animal) able to make very long leaps by
using winglike membranes etc. --n. flight, esp. in an aircraft.
Ьflying boat a seaplane with a boatlike fuselage. flying bomb a
pilotless aircraft with an explosive warhead. flying buttress a
buttress slanting from a separate column, usu. forming an arch
with the wall it supports. flying doctor a doctor (esp. in a
large sparsely populated area) who visits distant patients by
aircraft. flying fish any tropical fish of the family
Exocoetidae, with winglike pectoral fins for gliding through the
air. flying fox any of various fruit-eating bats esp. of the
genus Pteropus, with a fox-like head. flying lemur either of
two mammals of the genus Cyanocephalus of S. Asia, with a
lemur-like appearance and having a membrane between the fore and
hind limbs for gliding from tree to tree. flying lizard any
lizard of the genus Draco, having membranes on elongated ribs
for gliding. flying officer the RAF rank next below flight
lieutenant. flying phalanger any of various phalangers having a
membrane between the fore and hind limbs for gliding. flying
picket an industrial picket that can be moved rapidly from one
site to another, esp. to reinforce local pickets. flying saucer
any unidentified, esp. circular, flying object, popularly
supposed to have come from space. flying squad a police
detachment or other body organized for rapid movement. flying
squirrel any of various squirrels, esp. of the genus Pteromys,
with skin joining the fore and hind limbs for gliding from tree
to tree. flying start 1 a start (of a race etc.) in which the
starting-point is passed at full speed. 2 a vigorous start
giving an initial advantage. flying wing an aircraft with
little or no fuselage and no tailplane. with flying colours
flyleaf n. (pl. -leaves) a blank leaf at the beginning or end of a
flyover n. 1 Brit. a bridge carrying one road or railway over another.
2 US = fly-past (see FLY(1)).
flysheet n. 1 a tract or circular of two or four pages. 2 a canvas
cover pitched outside and over a tent to give extra protection
against bad weather.
flyweight n. 1 a weight in certain sports intermediate between light
flyweight and bantamweight, in the amateur boxing scale 48-51 kg
but differing for professionals, wrestlers, and weightlifters.
2 a sportsman of this weight. Ьlight flyweight 1 a weight in
amateur boxing up to 48 kg. 2 an amateur boxer of this weight.
flywheel n. a heavy wheel on a revolving shaft used to regulate
machinery or accumulate power.
FO abbr. 1 Flying Officer. 2 hist. (in the UK) Foreign Office.
fo. abbr. folio.
foal n. & v. --n. the young of a horse or related animal. --v.tr.
(of a mare etc.) give birth to (a foal). Ьin (or with) foal (of
a mare etc.) pregnant. [OE fola f. Gmc: cf. FILLY]
foam n. & v. --n. 1 a mass of small bubbles formed on or in liquid
by agitation, fermentation, etc. 2 a froth of saliva or sweat.
3 a substance resembling these, e.g. rubber or plastic in a
cellular mass. --v.intr. 1 emit foam; froth. 2 run with foam.
3 (of a vessel) be filled and overflow with foam. Ьfoam at the
mouth be very angry. ЬЬfoamless adj. foamy adj. (foamier,
foamiest ). [OE fam f. WG]
fob(1) n. & v. --n. 1 (in full fob-chain) a chain attached to a watch
for carrying in a waistcoat or waistband pocket. 2 a small
pocket for carrying a watch. 3 a tab on a key-ring. --v.tr.
(fobbed, fobbing) put in one's fob; pocket. [orig. cant, prob.
fob(2) v.tr. (fobbed, fobbing) Ьfob off 1 (often foll. by with a
thing) deceive into accepting something inferior. 2 (often
foll. by on to a person) palm or pass off (an inferior thing).
[16th c.: cf. obs. fop to dupe, G foppen to banter]
f.o.b. abbr. free on board.
focal adj. of, at, or in terms of a focus. Ьfocal distance (or
length) the distance between the centre of a mirror or lens and
its focus. focal plane the plane through the focus
perpendicular to the axis of a mirror or lens. focal point =
FOCUS n. 1. [mod.L focalis (as FOCUS)]
focalize v.tr. (also -ise) = FOCUS v. ЬЬfocalization n.
fo'c's'le var. of FORECASTLE.
focus n. & v. --n. (pl. focuses or foci) 1 Physics a the point at
which rays or waves meet after reflection or refraction. b the
point from which diverging rays or waves appear to proceed.
Also called focal point. 2 a Optics the point at which an
object must be situated for an image of it given by a lens or
mirror to be well defined (bring into focus). b the adjustment
of the eye or a lens necessary to produce a clear image (the
binoculars were not in focus). c a state of clear definition
(the photograph was out of focus). 3 the centre of interest or
activity (focus of attention). 4 Geom. one of the points from
which the distances to any point of a given curve are connected
by a linear relation. 5 Med. the principal site of an infection
or other disease. 6 Geol. the place of origin of an earthquake.
--v. (focused, focusing or focussed, focussing) 1 tr. bring
into focus. 2 tr. adjust the focus of (a lens, the eye, etc.).
3 tr. & intr. (often foll. by on) concentrate or be concentrated
on. 4 intr. & tr. converge or make converge to a focus.
ЬЬfocuser n. [L, = hearth]
fodder n. & v. --n. dried hay or straw etc. for cattle, horses, etc.
--v.tr. give fodder to. [OE fodor f. Gmc, rel. to FOOD]
foe n. esp. poet. or formal an enemy or opponent. [OE fah
hostile, rel. to FEUD(1)]
foehn var. of FOEHN.
foetid var. of FETID.
foetus n. (US fetus) an unborn or unhatched offspring of a mammal esp.
a human one more than eight weeks after conception. ЬЬfoetal
adj. foeticide n. [ME f. L fetus offspring]
fog(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a thick cloud of water droplets or smoke
suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth's surface
restricting or obscuring visibility. b obscurity in the
atmosphere caused by this. 2 Photog. cloudiness on a developed
negative etc. obscuring the image. 3 an uncertain or confused
position or state. --v. (fogged, fogging) 1 tr. a envelop or
cover with fog or condensed vapour. b bewilder or confuse as if
with a fog. 2 intr. become covered with fog or condensed
vapour. 3 tr. Photog. make (a negative etc.) obscure or
cloudy. Ьfog-bank a mass of fog at sea. fog-bound unable to
proceed because of fog. fog-bow a manifestation like a rainbow,
produced by light on fog. fog-lamp a lamp used to improve
visibility in fog. fog-signal a detonator placed on a railway
line in fog to warn train drivers. in a fog puzzled; at a loss.
[perh. back-form. f. FOGGY]
fog(2) n. & v. esp. Brit. --n. 1 a second growth of grass after
cutting; aftermath. 2 long grass left standing in winter.
--v.tr. (fogged, fogging) 1 leave (land) under fog. 2 feed
(cattle) on fog. [ME: orig. unkn.]
fogey var. of FOGY.
foggy adj. (foggier, foggiest) 1 (of the atmosphere) thick or obscure
with fog. 2 of or like fog. 3 vague, confused, unclear. Ьnot
have the foggiest colloq. have no idea at all. ЬЬfoggily adv.
foghorn n. 1 a deep-sounding instrument for warning ships in fog. 2
colloq. a loud penetrating voice.
fogy n. (also fogey) (pl. -ies or -eys) a dull old-fashioned person
(esp. old fogy). ЬЬfogydom n. fogyish adj. [18th c.: rel. to
sl. fogram, of unkn. orig.]
f”hn n. (also foehn) 1 a hot southerly wind on the northern slopes
of the Alps. 2 a warm dry wind on the lee side of mountains.
[G, ult. f. L Favonius mild west wind]
foible n. 1 a minor weakness or idiosyncrasy. 2 Fencing the part of a
sword-blade from the middle to the point. [F, obs. form of
faible (as FEEBLE)]
foie gras n. colloq. = pѓt‚ de foie gras.
foil(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 frustrate, baffle, defeat. 2 Hunting a run
over or cross (ground or a scent) to confuse the hounds. b
(absol.) (of an animal) spoil the scent in this way. --n. 1
Hunting the track of a hunted animal. 2 archaic a repulse or
defeat. [ME, = trample down, perh. f. OF fouler to full cloth,
trample, ult. f. L fullo FULLER(1)]
foil(2) n. 1 a metal hammered or rolled into a thin sheet (tin foil).
b a sheet of this, or of tin amalgam, attached to mirror glass
as a reflector. c a leaf of foil placed under a precious stone
etc. to brighten or colour it. 2 a person or thing that
enhances the qualities of another by contrast. 3 Archit. a
leaf-shaped curve formed by the cusping of an arch or circle.
[ME f. OF f. L folium leaf, and f. OF foille f. L folia (pl.)]
foil(3) n. a light blunt-edged sword with a button on its point used in
fencing. ЬЬfoilist n. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
foil(4) n. = HYDROFOIL. [abbr.]
foist v.tr. (foll. by (off) on, (off) upon) 1 present (a thing)
falsely as genuine or superior. 2 falsely fix the ownership of.
3 (foll. by in, into) introduce surreptitiously or
unwarrantably. [orig. of palming a false die, f. Du. dial.
vuisten take in the hand f. vuist FIST]
fol. abbr. folio.
folacin n. = FOLIC ACID. [folic acid + -IN]
fold(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a bend or close (a flexible thing) over
upon itself. b (foll. by back, over, down) bend a part of (a
flexible thing) in the manner specified (fold down the flap). 2
intr. become or be able to be folded. 3 tr. (foll. by away, up)
make compact by folding. 4 intr. (often foll. by up) colloq. a
collapse, disintegrate. b (of an enterprise) fail; go bankrupt.
5 tr. poet. embrace (esp. fold in the arms or to the breast).
6 tr. (foll. by about, round) clasp (the arms); wrap, envelop.
7 tr. (foll. by in) mix (an ingredient with others) using a
gentle cutting and turning motion. --n. 1 the act or an
instance of folding. 2 a line made by or for folding. 3 a
folded part. 4 a hollow among hills. 5 Geol. a curvature of
strata. Ьfold one's arms place one's arms across the chest,
side by side or entwined. fold one's hands clasp them. folding
door a door with jointed sections, folding on itself when
opened. folding money esp. US colloq. banknotes. fold-out an
oversize page in a book etc. to be unfolded by the reader.
ЬЬfoldable adj. [OE falden, fealden f. Gmc]
fold(2) n. & v. --n. 1 = SHEEPFOLD. 2 a body of believers or members
of a Church. --v.tr. enclose (sheep) in a fold. [OE fald]
-fold suffix forming adjectives and adverbs from cardinal numbers,
meaning: 1 in an amount multiplied by (repaid tenfold). 2
consisting of so many parts (threefold blessing). [OE - fald,
-feald, rel. to FOLD(1): orig. sense 'folded in so many layers']
foldaway adj. adapted or designed to be folded away.
folder n. 1 a folding cover or holder for loose papers. 2 a folded
folderol var. of FALDERAL.
adj. 1 of or like leaves. 2 having organs like leaves. 3
laminated. [L foliaceus leafy f. folium leaf]
foliage n. 1 leaves, leafage. 2 a design in art resembling leaves.
Ьfoliage leaf a leaf excluding petals and other modified leaves.
[ME f. F feuillage f. feuille leaf f. OF foille: see FOIL(2)]
foliar adj. of or relating to leaves. Ьfoliar feed feed supplied to
leaves of plants. [mod.L foliaris f. L folium leaf]
foliate adj. & v. --adj. 1 leaflike. 2 having leaves. 3 (in comb.)
having a specified number of leaflets (trifoliate). --v. 1
intr. split into laminae. 2 tr. decorate (an arch or door-head)
with foils. 3 tr. number leaves (not pages) of (a volume)
consecutively. ЬЬfoliation n. [L foliatus leaved f. folium
n. a vitamin of the B complex, found in leafy green vegetables,
liver, and kidney, a deficiency of which causes pernicious
anaemia. Also called FOLACIN or PTEROYLGLUTAMIC ACID. [L folium
leaf (because found esp. in green leaves) + -IC]
folio n. & adj. --n. (pl. -os) 1 a leaf of paper etc., esp. one
numbered only on the front. 2 a leaf-number of a book. 3 a
sheet of paper folded once making two leaves of a book. 4 a
book made of such sheets. --adj. (of a book) made of folios, of
the largest size. Ьin folio made of folios. [L, ablat. of
folium leaf, = on leaf (as specified)]
foliole n. a division of a compound leaf; a leaflet. [F f. LL foliolum
dimin. of L folium leaf]
folk n. (pl. folk or folks) 1 (treated as pl.) people in general or
of a specified class (few folk about; townsfolk). 2 (in pl.)
(usu. folks) one's parents or relatives. 3 (treated as sing.)
a people. 4 (treated as sing.) colloq. traditional music. 5
(attrib.) of popular origin; traditional (folk art).
Ьfolk-dance 1 a dance of popular origin. 2 the music for such a
dance. folk etymology a popular modifying of the form of a word
or phrase to make it seem to be derived from a more familiar
word (e.g. forlorn hope). folk memory recollection of the past
persisting among a people. folk-singer a singer of folk-songs.
folk-song a song of popular or traditional origin or style.
folk-tale a popular or traditional story. folk-ways the
traditional behaviour of a people. [OE folc f. Gmc]
folkish adj. of the common people; traditional, unsophisticated.
folklore n. the traditional beliefs and stories of a people; the study
of these. ЬЬfolkloric adj. folklorist n. folkloristic adj.
folksy adj. (folksier, folksiest) 1 friendly, sociable, informal. 2 a
having the characteristics of folk art, culture, etc. b
ostensibly or artificially folkish. ЬЬfolksiness n.
follicle n. 1 a small sac or vesicle. 2 a small sac-shaped secretory
gland or cavity. 3 Bot. a single-carpelled dry fruit opening on
one side only to release its seeds. ЬЬfollicular adj.
folliculate adj. folliculated adj. [L folliculus dimin. of
follow v. 1 tr. or (foll. by after) intr. go or come after (a person
or thing proceeding ahead). 2 tr. go along (a route, path,
etc.). 3 tr. & intr. come after in order or time (Nero followed
Claudius; dessert followed; my reasons are as follows). 4 tr.
take as a guide or leader. 5 tr. conform to (follow your
example). 6 tr. practise (a trade or profession). 7 tr.
undertake (a course of study etc.). 8 tr. understand the
meaning or tendency of (a speaker or argument). 9 tr. maintain
awareness of the current state or progress of (events etc. in a
particular sphere). 10 tr. (foll. by with) provide with a
sequel or successor. 11 intr. happen after something else;
ensue. 12 intr. a be necessarily true as a result of something
else. b (foll. by from) be a result of. 13 tr. strive after;
aim at; pursue (followed fame and fortune). Ьfollow-my-leader a
game in which players must do as the leader does. follow one's
nose trust to instinct. follow on 1 continue. 2 (of a cricket
team) have to bat again immediately after the first innings.
follow-on n. an instance of this. follow out carry out; adhere
precisely to (instructions etc.). follow suit 1 Cards play a
card of the suit led. 2 conform to another person's actions.
follow through 1 continue (an action etc.) to its conclusion. 2
Sport continue the movement of a stroke after the ball has been
struck. follow-through n. the action of following through.
follow up (foll. by with) 1 pursue, develop, supplement. 2 make
further investigation of. follow-up n. a subsequent or
continued action, measure, experience, etc. [OE folgian f. Gmc]
follower n. 1 an adherent or devotee. 2 a person or thing that follows.
following prep., n., & adj. --prep. coming after in time; as a sequel to.
--n. a body of adherents or devotees. --adj. that follows or
folly n. (pl. -ies) 1 foolishness; lack of good sense. 2 a foolish
act, behaviour, idea, etc. 3 an ornamental building, usu. a
tower or mock Gothic ruin. 4 (in pl.) Theatr. a a revue with
glamorous female performers, esp. scantily-clad. b the
performers. [ME f. OF folie f. fol mad, FOOL(1)]
foment v.tr. 1 instigate or stir up (trouble, sedition, etc.). 2 a
bathe with warm or medicated liquid. b apply warmth to.
ЬЬfomenter n. [ME f. F fomenter f. LL fomentare f. L fomentum
poultice, lotion f. fovere heat, cherish]
n. 1 the act or an instance of fomenting. 2 materials prepared
for application to a wound etc. [ME f. OF or LL fomentatio (as
fond adj. 1 (foll. by of) having affection or a liking for. 2
affectionate, loving, doting. 3 (of beliefs etc.) foolishly
optimistic or credulous; na‹ve. ЬЬfondly adv. fondness n. [ME
f. obs. fon fool, be foolish]
fondant n. a soft sweet of flavoured sugar. [F, pres. part. of fondre
melt f. L fundere pour]
fondle v.tr. touch or stroke lovingly; caress. ЬЬfondler n.
[back-form. f. fondling fondled person (as FOND, -LING(1))]
fondue n. a dish of flavoured melted cheese. [F, fem. past part. of
fondre melt f. L fundere pour]
font(1) n. 1 a receptacle in a church for baptismal water. 2 the
reservoir for oil in a lamp. ЬЬfontal adj. (in sense 1). [OE
font, fant f. OIr. fant, font f. L fons fontis fountain,
font(2) var. of FOUNT(2).
fontanel US var. of FONTANELLE.
n. (US fontanel) a membranous space in an infant's skull at the
angles of the parietal bones. [F fontanelle f. mod.L fontanella
f. OF fontenelle dimin. of fontaine fountain]
food n. 1 a nutritious substance, esp. solid in form, that can be
taken into an animal or a plant to maintain life and growth. 2
ideas as a resource for or stimulus to mental work (food for
thought). Ьfood additive a substance added to food to enhance
its colour, flavour, or presentation, or for any other
non-nutritional purpose. food-chain Ecol. a series of
organisms each dependent on the next for food. food poisoning
illness due to bacteria or other toxins in food. food processor
a machine for chopping and mixing food materials. food value
the relative nourishing power of a food. [OE foda f. Gmc: cf.
foodie n. (also foody) (pl. -ies) colloq. a person who is particular
about food; a gourmet.
foodstuff n. any substance suitable as food.
fool(1) n., v., & adj. --n. 1 a person who acts unwisely or
imprudently; a stupid person. 2 hist. a jester; a clown. 3 a
dupe. --v. 1 tr. deceive so as to cause to appear foolish. 2
tr. (foll. by into + verbal noun, or out of) trick; cause to do
something foolish. 3 tr. play tricks on; dupe. 4 intr. act in
a joking, frivolous, or teasing way. 5 intr. (foll. by about,
around) behave in a playful or silly way. --adj. US colloq.
foolish, silly. Ьact (or play) the fool behave in a silly way.
fool's errand a fruitless venture. fool's gold iron pyrites.
fool's paradise happiness founded on an illusion. fool's
parsley a species of hemlock resembling parsley. make a fool of
make (a person or oneself) look foolish; trick or deceive. no
(or nobody's) fool a shrewd or prudent person. [ME f. OF fol f.
L follis bellows, empty-headed person]
fool(2) n. a dessert of usu. stewed fruit crushed and mixed with cream,
custard, etc. [16th c.: perh. f. FOOL(1)]
foolery n. (pl. -ies) 1 foolish behaviour. 2 a foolish act.
foolhardy adj. (foolhardier, foolhardiest) rashly or foolishly bold;
reckless. ЬЬfoolhardily adv. foolhardiness n. [ME f. OF
folhardi f. fol foolish + hardi bold]
foolish adj. (of a person, action, etc.) lacking good sense or
judgement; unwise. ЬЬfoolishly adv. foolishness n.
foolproof adj. (of a procedure, mechanism, etc.) so straightforward or
simple as to be incapable of misuse or mistake.
foolscap n. Brit. a size of paper, about 330 x 200 (or 400) mm. [named
from the former watermark representing a fool's cap]
foot n. & v. --n. (pl. feet) 1 a the lower extremity of the leg
below the ankle. b the part of a sock etc. covering the foot.
2 a the lower or lowest part of anything, e.g. a mountain, a
page, stairs, etc. b the lower end of a table. c the end of a
bed where the user's feet normally rest. 3 the base, often
projecting, of anything extending vertically. 4 a step, pace,
or tread; a manner of walking (fleet of foot). 5 (pl. feet or
foot) a unit of linear measure equal to 12 inches (30.48 cm). 6
Prosody a a group of syllables (one usu. stressed) constituting
a metrical unit. b a similar unit of speech etc. 7 Brit.
hist. infantry (a regiment of foot). 8 Zool. the locomotive or
adhesive organ of invertebrates. 9 Bot. the part by which a
petal is attached. 10 a device on a sewing-machine for holding
the material steady as it is sewn. 11 (pl. foots) a dregs; oil
refuse. b coarse sugar. --v.tr. 1 (usu. as foot it) a
traverse (esp. a long distance) by foot. b dance. 2 pay (a
bill, esp. one considered large). Ьat a person's feet as a
person's disciple or subject. feet of clay a fundamental
weakness in a person otherwise revered. foot-and-mouth disease
a contagious viral disease of cattle etc. foot-fault (in lawn
tennis) incorrect placement of the feet while serving.
foot-pound the amount of energy required to raise 1 lb. a
distance of 1 foot. foot-pound-second system a system of
measurement with these as basic units. foot-rot a bacterial
disease of the feet in sheep and cattle. foot-rule a ruler 1
foot long. foot-soldier a soldier who fights on foot. get
one's feet wet begin to participate. have one's (or both) feet
on the ground be practical. have a foot in the door have a
prospect of success. have one foot in the grave be near death
or very old. my foot! int. expressing strong contradiction.
not put a foot wrong make no mistakes. off one's feet so as to
be unable to stand, or in a state compared with this (was rushed
off my feet). on foot walking, not riding etc. put one's best
foot forward make every effort; proceed with determination. put
one's feet up colloq. take a rest. put one's foot down colloq.
1 be firmly insistent or repressive. 2 accelerate a motor
vehicle. put one's foot in it colloq. commit a blunder or
indiscretion. set foot on (or in) enter; go into. set on foot
put (an action, process, etc.) in motion. under one's feet in
the way. under foot on the ground. ЬЬfooted adj. (also in
comb.). footless adj. [OE fot f. Gmc]
footage n. 1 length or distance in feet. 2 an amount of film made for
showing, broadcasting, etc.
football n. & v. --n. 1 any of several outdoor games between two teams
played with a ball on a pitch with goals at each end, esp. =
Association Football. 2 a large inflated ball of a kind used in
these. 3 a topical issue or problem that is the subject of
continued argument or controversy. --v.intr. play football.
Ьfootball pool (or pools) a form of gambling on the results of
football matches, the winners receiving sums accumulated from
entry money. ЬЬfootballer n.
footboard n. 1 a board to support the feet or a foot. 2 an upright board
at the foot of a bed.
footbrake n. a brake operated by the foot in a motor vehicle.
n. a bridge for use by pedestrians.
footer(1) n. (in comb.) a person or thing of so many feet in length or
footer(2) n. Brit. colloq. = FOOTBALL 1.
footfall n. the sound of a footstep.
foothill n. (often in pl.) any of the low hills around the base of a
foothold n. 1 a place, esp. in climbing, where a foot can be supported
securely. 2 a secure initial position or advantage.
footing n. 1 a foothold; a secure position (lost his footing). 2 the
basis on which an enterprise is established or operates; the
position or status of a person in relation to others (on an
equal footing). 3 the foundations of a wall, usu. with a course
of brickwork wider than the base of the wall.
footle v.intr. (usu. foll. by about) colloq. behave foolishly or
trivially. [19th c.: perh. f. dial. footer idle]
n.pl. a row of lights along the front of a stage at the level
of the actors' feet.
footling adj. colloq. trivial, silly.
footloose adj. free to go where or act as one pleases.
footman n. (pl. -men) 1 a liveried servant attending at the door, at
table, or on a carriage. 2 hist. an infantryman.
footmark n. a footprint.
footnote n. & v. --n. a note printed at the foot of a page. --v.tr.
supply with a footnote or footnotes.
footpad n. hist. an unmounted highwayman.
footpath n. a path for pedestrians; a pavement.
footplate n. esp. Brit. the platform in the cab of a locomotive for the
footprint n. 1 the impression left by a foot or shoe. 2 Computing the
area of desk space etc. occupied by a microcomputer or other
piece of hardware.
footrest n. a support for the feet or a foot.
footsie n. colloq. amorous play with the feet. [joc. dimin. of FOOT]
footslog v. & n. --v.intr. (-slogged, -slogging) walk or march, esp.
laboriously for a long distance. --n. a laborious walk or
march. ЬЬfootslogger n.
footsore adj. having sore feet, esp. from walking.
footstalk n. 1 Bot. a stalk of a leaf or peduncle of a flower. 2 Zool.
an attachment of a barnacle etc.
footstep n. 1 a step taken in walking. 2 the sound of this. Ьfollow
(or tread) in a person's footsteps do as another person did
footstool n. a stool for resting the feet on when sitting.
footway n. a path or way for pedestrians.
footwear n. shoes, socks, etc.
footwork n. the use of the feet, esp. skilfully, in sports, dancing,
fop n. an affectedly elegant or fashionable man; a dandy.
ЬЬfoppery n. foppish adj. foppishly adv. foppishness n.
[17th c.: perh. f. earlier fop fool]
for prep. & conj. --prep. 1 in the interest or to the benefit of;
intended to go to (these flowers are for you; wish to see it for
myself; did it all for my country; silly for you to go). 2 in
defence, support, or favour of (fight for one's rights). 3
suitable or appropriate to (a dance for beginners; not for me to
say). 4 in respect of or with reference to; regarding; so far
as concerns (usual for ties to be worn; don't care for him at
all; ready for bed; MP for Lincoln). 5 representing or in place
of (here for my uncle). 6 in exchange against (swopped it for a
bigger one). 7 a as the price of (give me њ5 for it). b at the
price of (bought it for њ5). c to the amount of (a bill for
њ100; all out for 45). 8 as the penalty of (fined them heavily
for it). 9 in requital of (that's for upsetting my sister). 10
as a reward for (here's њ5 for your trouble). 11 a with a view
to; in the hope or quest of; in order to get (go for a walk; run
for a doctor; did it for the money). b on account of (could not
speak for laughing). 12 corresponding to (word for word). 13
to reach; in the direction of; towards (left for Rome; ran for
the end of the road). 14 conducive or conducively to; in order
to achieve (take the pills for a sound night's sleep). 15 so as
to start promptly at (the meeting is at seven-thirty for eight).
16 through or over (a distance or period); during (walked for
miles; sang for two hours). 17 in the character of; as being
(for the last time; know it for a lie; I for one refuse). 18
because of; on account of (could not see for tears). 19 in
spite of; notwithstanding (for all we know; for all your fine
words). 20 considering or making due allowance in respect of
(good for a beginner). 21 in order to be (gone for a soldier).
--conj. because, since, seeing that. Ьbe for it Brit. colloq.
be in imminent danger of punishment or other trouble. for ever
see EVER; (cf. FOREVER). o (or oh) for I wish I had. [OE,
prob. a reduction of Gmc fora (unrecorded) BEFORE (of place and
for- prefix forming verbs and their derivatives meaning: 1 away, off,
apart (forget; forgive). 2 prohibition (forbid). 3 abstention
or neglect (forgo; forsake). 4 excess or intensity (forlorn).
[OE for-, f‘r-]
f.o.r. abbr. free on rail.
forage n. & v. --n. 1 food for horses and cattle. 2 the act or an
instance of searching for food. --v. 1 intr. go searching;
rummage (esp. for food). 2 tr. collect food from; ravage. 3
tr. a get by foraging. b supply with food. Ьforage cap an
infantry undress cap. ЬЬforager n. [ME f. OF fourrage,
fourrager, rel. to FODDER]
foramen n. (pl. foramina) Anat. an opening, hole, or passage, esp. in
a bone. ЬЬforaminate adj. [L foramen -minis f. forare bore a
n. (also foraminiferan) any protozoan of the order
Foraminifera, having a perforated shell through which
amoeba-like pseudopodia emerge. ЬЬforaminiferous adj.
var. of FORAMINIFER.
conj. archaic because, since. [= for as much]
foray n. & v. --n. a sudden attack; a raid or incursion. --v.intr.
make or go on a foray. [ME, prob. earlier as verb: back-form.
f. forayer f. OF forrier forager, rel. to FODDER]
forbade (also forbad) past of FORBID.
v.intr. & tr. (past forbore; past part. forborne) (often foll.
by from, or to + infin.) literary abstain or desist (from)
(could not forbear (from) speaking out; forbore to mention it).
[OE forberan (as FOR-, BEAR(1))]
var. of FOREBEAR.
n. patient self-control; tolerance.
forbid v.tr. (forbidding; past forbade or forbad; past part.
forbidden) 1 (foll. by to + infin.) order not (I forbid you to
go). 2 refuse to allow (a thing, or a person to have a thing)
(I forbid it; was forbidden any wine). 3 refuse a person entry
to (the gardens are forbidden to children). Ьforbidden degrees
see DEGREE. forbidden fruit something desired or enjoyed all
the more because not allowed. God forbid! may it not happen!
[OE forbeodan (as FOR-, BID)]
forbye prep. & adv. archaic or Sc. --prep. besides. --adv. in
force(1) n. & v. --n. 1 power; exerted strength or impetus; intense
effort. 2 coercion or compulsion, esp. with the use or threat
of violence. 3 a military strength. b (in pl.) troops;
fighting resources. c an organized body of people, esp.
soldiers, police, or workers. 4 binding power; validity. 5
effect; precise significance (the force of their words). 6 a
mental or moral strength; influence, efficacy (force of habit).
b vividness of effect (described with much force). 7 Physics a
an influence tending to cause the motion of a body. b the
intensity of this equal to the mass of the body and its
acceleration. 8 a person or thing regarded as exerting
influence (is a force for good). --v. 1 tr. constrain (a
person) by force or against his or her will. 2 tr. make a way
through or into by force; break open by force. 3 tr. (usu. with
prep. or adv.) drive or propel violently or against resistance
(forced it into the hole; the wind forced them back). 4 tr.
(foll. by on, upon) impose or press (on a person) (forced their
views on us). 5 tr. a cause or produce by effort (forced a
smile). b attain by strength or effort (forced an entry; must
force a decision). 6 tr. strain or increase to the utmost;
overstrain. 7 tr. artificially hasten the development or
maturity of (a plant). 8 tr. seek or demand quick results from;
accelerate the process of (force the pace). 9 intr. Cards make
a play that compels another particular play. Ьby force of by
means of. force the bidding (at an auction) make bids to raise
the price rapidly. forced labour compulsory labour, esp. under
harsh conditions. forced landing the unavoidable landing of an
aircraft in an emergency. forced march a long and vigorous
march esp. by troops. force-feed force (esp. a prisoner) to
take food. force field (in science fiction) an invisible
barrier of force. force a person's hand make a person act
prematurely or unwillingly. force the issue render an immediate
decision necessary. force-land land an aircraft in an
emergency. force-pump a pump that forces water under pressure.
in force 1 valid, effective. 2 in great strength or numbers.
join forces combine efforts. ЬЬforceable adj. forceably adv.
forcer n. [ME f. OF force, forcer ult. f. L fortis strong]
n. 1 irresistible compulsion or coercion. 2 an unforeseeable
course of events excusing a person from the fulfilment of a
contract. [F, = superior strength]
forcemeat n. meat etc. chopped and seasoned for use as a stuffing or a
garnish. [obs. force, farce stuff f. OF farsir: see FARCE]
forceps n. (pl. same) 1 surgical pincers, used for grasping and
holding. 2 Bot. & Zool. an organ or structure resembling
forceps. ЬЬforcipate adj. [L forceps forcipis]
forcible adj. done by or involving force; forceful. ЬЬforcibleness n.
forcibly adv. [ME f. AF & OF (as FORCE(1))]
ford n. & v. --n. a shallow place where a river or stream may be
crossed by wading or in a vehicle. --v.tr. cross (water) at a
ford. ЬЬfordable adj. fordless adj. [OE f. WG]
fore adj., n., int., & prep. --adj. situated in front. --n. the
front part, esp. of a ship; the bow. --int. Golf a warning to
a person in the path of a ball. --prep. archaic (in oaths) in
the presence of (fore God). Ьcome to the fore take a leading
part. fore and aft at bow and stern; all over the ship.
fore-and-aft adj. (of a sail or rigging) set lengthwise, not on
the yards. to the fore in front; conspicuous. [OE f. Gmc.:
(adj. & n.) ME f. compounds with FORE-]
fore- prefix forming: 1 verbs meaning: a in front (foreshorten). b
beforehand; in advance (foreordain; forewarn). 2 nouns meaning:
a situated in front of (forecourt). b the front part of
(forehead). c of or near the bow of a ship (forecastle). d
n. 1 the part of the arm from the elbow to the wrist or the
fingertips. 2 the corresponding part in a foreleg or wing.
v.tr. prepare or arm beforehand.
forebear n. (also forbear) (usu. in pl.) an ancestor. [FORE + obs.
bear, beer (as BE, -ER(1))]
forebode v.tr. 1 betoken; be an advance warning of (an evil or unwelcome
event). 2 have a presentiment of (usu. evil).
n. an expectation of trouble or evil; a presage or omen.
forecast v. & n. --v.tr. (past and past part. -cast or -casted)
predict; estimate or calculate beforehand. --n. a calculation
or estimate of something future, esp. coming weather.
n. (also fo'c's'le) Naut. 1 the forward part of a ship where
the crew has quarters. 2 hist. a short raised deck at the bow.
foreclose v.tr. 1 (also absol.; foll. by on) stop (a mortgage) from being
redeemable or (a mortgager) from redeeming, esp. as a result of
defaults in payment. 2 exclude, prevent. 3 shut out; bar.
ЬЬforeclosure n. [ME f. OF forclos past part. of forclore f.
for- out f. L foras + CLOSE(2)]
forecourt n. 1 an enclosed space in front of a building. 2 the part of a
filling-station where petrol is supplied. 3 (in lawn tennis)
the part of a tennis-court between the service line and the net.
foredoom v.tr. (often foll. by to) doom or condemn beforehand.
fore-edge n. (also foredge) the front or outer edge (esp. of the pages of
n. (usu. in pl.) 1 an ancestor. 2 a member of a past
generation of a family or people.
n. the finger next to the thumb.
forefoot n. (pl. -feet) 1 either of the front feet of a four-footed
animal. 2 Naut. the foremost section of a ship's keel.
forefront n. 1 the foremost part. 2 the leading position.
var. of FORGATHER.
forego(1) v.tr. & intr. (-goes; past -went; past part. -gone) precede in
place or time. ЬЬforegoer n. [OE foregan]
forego(2) var. of FORGO.
foregoing adj. preceding; previously mentioned.
foregone past part. of FOREGO(1). --attrib.adj. previous, preceding,
completed. Ьforegone conclusion an easily foreseen or
n. 1 the part of a view, esp. in a picture, that is nearest the
observer. 2 the most conspicuous position. [Du. voorgrond (as
forehand n. 1 Tennis etc. a a stroke played with the palm of the hand
facing the opponent. b (attrib.) (also forehanded) of or made
with a forehand. 2 the part of a horse in front of the seated
forehead n. the part of the face above the eyebrows. [OE forheafod (as
forehock n. a foreleg cut of pork or bacon.
foreign adj. 1 of or from or situated in or characteristic of a country
or a language other than one's own. 2 dealing with other
countries (foreign service). 3 of another district, society,
etc. 4 (often foll. by to) unfamiliar, strange,
uncharacteristic (his behaviour is foreign to me). 5 coming
from outside (a foreign body lodged in my eye). Ьforeign aid
money, food, etc. given or lent by one country to another.
foreign exchange 1 the currency of other countries. 2 dealings
in these. foreign legion a body of foreign volunteers in an
army (esp. the French army). foreign minister (or secretary) a
government minister in charge of his or her country's relations
with other countries. foreign office a government department
dealing with other countries. ЬЬforeignness n. [ME f. OF
forein, forain ult. f. L foras, -is outside: for -g- cf.
foreigner n. 1 a person born in or coming from a foreign country or
place. 2 dial. a non-native of a place. 3 a a foreign ship. b
an imported animal or article.
forejudge v.tr. judge or determine before knowing the evidence.
foreknow v.tr. (past -knew; past part. -known) know beforehand; have
prescience of. ЬЬforeknowledge n.
forelady n. (pl. -ies) US = FOREWOMAN.
foreland n. 1 a cape or promontory. 2 a piece of land in front of
foreleg n. each of the front legs of a quadruped.
forelimb n. any of the front limbs of an animal.
forelock n. a lock of hair growing just above the forehead. Ьtake time
by the forelock seize an opportunity.
foreman n. (pl. -men) 1 a worker with supervisory responsibilities. 2
the member of a jury who presides over its deliberations and
speaks on its behalf.
foremast n. the forward (lower) mast of a ship.
foremost adj. & adv. --adj. 1 the chief or most notable. 2 the most
advanced in position; the front. --adv. before anything else in
position; in the first place (first and foremost). [earlier
formost, formest, superl. of OE forma first, assim. to FORE,
forename n. a first or Christian name.
forenoon n. Naut. or Law or archaic the part of the day before noon.
forensic adj. of or used in connection with courts of law (forensic
science). Ьforensic medicine the application of medical
knowledge to legal problems. ЬЬforensically adv. [L forensis
v.tr. predestinate; ordain beforehand. ЬЬforeordination n.
forepaw n. either of the front paws of a quadruped.
forepeak n. Naut. the end of the forehold in the angle of the bows.
foreplay n. stimulation preceding sexual intercourse.
forerun v.tr. (-running; past -ran; past part. -run) 1 go before. 2
indicate the coming of; foreshadow.
n. 1 a predecessor. 2 an advance messenger.
foresail n. Naut. the principal sail on a foremast (the lowest square
sail, or the fore-and-aft bent on the mast, or the triangular
before the mast).
foresee v.tr. (past -saw; past part. -seen) (often foll. by that +
clause) see or be aware of beforehand. ЬЬforeseeable adj.
foreseeability n. foreseer n. [OE foreseon (as FORE- +
v.tr. be a warning or indication of (a future event).
n.pl. Naut. the inner part of the bows of a boat with gratings
for the bowman to stand on.
foreshore n. the part of the shore between high- and low-water marks, or
between the water and cultivated or developed land.
v.tr. show or portray (an object) with the apparent shortening
due to visual perspective.
foresight n. 1 regard or provision for the future. 2 the process of
foreseeing. 3 the front sight of a gun. 4 Surveying a sight
taken forwards. ЬЬforesighted adj. foresightedly adv.
foresightedness n. [ME, prob. after ON forsj , forsjў (as
foreskin n. the fold of skin covering the end of the penis. Also called
forest n. & v. --n. 1 a (often attrib.) a large area covered chiefly
with trees and undergrowth. b the trees growing in it. c a
large number or dense mass of vertical objects (a forest of
masts). 2 a district formerly a forest but now cultivated
(Sherwood Forest). 3 hist. an area usu. owned by the sovereign
and kept for hunting. --v.tr. 1 plant with trees. 2 convert
into a forest. Ьforest-tree a large tree suitable for a forest.
[ME f. OF f. LL forestis silva wood outside the walls of a park
f. L foris outside]
forestall v.tr. 1 act in advance of in order to prevent. 2 anticipate
(the action of another, or an event). 3 anticipate the action
of. 4 deal with beforehand. 5 hist. buy up (goods) in order to
profit by an enhanced price. ЬЬforestaller n. forestalment n.
[ME in sense 5: cf. AL forestallare f. OE foresteall an ambush
(as FORE-, STALL)]
forestay n. Naut. a stay from the head of the foremast to the ship's
deck to support the foremast.
forester n. 1 a person in charge of a forest or skilled in forestry. 2
a person or animal living in a forest. 3 (Forester) a member of
the Ancient Order of Foresters (a friendly society). [ME f. OF
forestier (as FOREST)]
forestry n. 1 the science or management of forests. 2 wooded country;
foretaste n. & v. --n. partial enjoyment or suffering in advance;
anticipation. --v.tr. taste beforehand; anticipate the
foretell v.tr. (past and past part. -told) 1 tell of (an event etc.)
before it takes place; predict, prophesy. 2 presage; be a
precursor of. ЬЬforeteller n.
n. 1 care or provision for the future. 2 previous thinking or
devising. 3 deliberate intention.
foretoken n. & v. --n. a sign of something to come. --v.tr. portend;
indicate beforehand. [OE foretacn (as FORE-, TOKEN)]
foretold past and past part. of FORETELL.
foretop n. Naut. a platform at the top of a foremast (see TOP(1) n.
9). Ьforetop-gallant mast the mast above the fore-topmast.
foretop-gallant-sail the sail above the fore-topsail.
n. Naut. the mast above the foremast.
n. Naut. the sail above the foresail.
forever adv. continually, persistently (is forever complaining) (cf.
adv. esp. US an emphatic form of FOREVER or for ever (see
forewarn v.tr. warn beforehand. ЬЬforewarner n.
forewent past of FOREGO(1), FOREGO(2).
forewoman n. (pl. -women) 1 a female worker with supervisory
responsibilities. 2 a woman who presides over a jury's
deliberations and speaks on its behalf.
foreword n. introductory remarks at the beginning of a book, often by a
person other than the author. [FORE- + WORD after G Vorwort]
foreyard n. Naut. the lowest yard on a foremast.
forfeit n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a penalty for a breach of contract or
neglect; a fine. 2 a a trivial fine for a breach of rules in
clubs etc. or in games. b (in pl.) a game in which forfeits are
exacted. 3 something surrendered as a penalty. 4 the process
of forfeiting. 5 Law property or a right or privilege lost as a
legal penalty. --adj. lost or surrendered as a penalty.
--v.tr. (forfeited, forfeiting) lose the right to, be deprived
of, or have to pay as a penalty. ЬЬforfeitable adj. forfeiter
n. forfeiture n. [ME (= crime) f. OF forfet, forfait past
part. of forfaire transgress (f. L foris outside) + faire f. L
forfend v.tr. 1 US protect by precautions. 2 archaic avert; keep off.
forgather v.intr. (also foregather) assemble; meet together; associate.
[16th-c. Sc. f. Du. vergaderen, assim. to FOR-, GATHER]
forgave past of FORGIVE.
forge(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a make (money etc.) in fraudulent imitation.
b write (a document or signature) in order to pass it off as
written by another. 2 fabricate, invent. 3 shape (esp. metal)
by heating in a fire and hammering. --n. 1 a blacksmith's
workshop; a smithy. 2 a a furnace or hearth for melting or
refining metal. b a workshop containing this. ЬЬforgeable adj.
forger n. [ME f. OF forge (n.), forger (v.) f. L fabricare
forge(2) v.intr. move forward gradually or steadily. Ьforge ahead 1
take the lead in a race. 2 move forward or make progress
rapidly. [18th c.: perh. an aberrant pronunc. of FORCE(1)]
forgery n. (pl. -ies) 1 the act or an instance of forging,
counterfeiting, or falsifying a document etc. 2 a forged or
spurious thing, esp. a document or signature.
forget v. (forgetting; past forgot; past part. forgotten or esp. US
forgot) 1 tr. & (often foll. by about) intr. lose the
remembrance of; not remember (a person or thing). 2 tr. (foll.
by clause or to + infin.) not remember; neglect (forgot to come;
forgot how to do it). 3 tr. inadvertently omit to bring or
mention or attend to. 4 tr. (also absol.) put out of mind;
cease to think of (forgive and forget). Ьforget-me-not any
plant of the genus Myosotis, esp. M. alpestris with small
yellow-eyed bright blue flowers. forget oneself 1 neglect one's
own interests. 2 act unbecomingly or unworthily. ЬЬforgettable
adj. forgetter n. [OE forgietan f. WG (as FOR-, GET)]
forgetful adj. 1 apt to forget, absent-minded. 2 (often foll. by of)
forgetting, neglectful. ЬЬforgetfully adj. forgetfulness n.
forgive v.tr. (also absol. or with double object) (past forgave; past
part. forgiven) 1 cease to feel angry or resentful towards;
pardon (an offender or offence) (forgive us our mistakes). 2
remit or let off (a debt or debtor). ЬЬforgivable adj.
forgivably adv. forgiver n. [OE forgiefan (as FOR-, GIVE)]
n. the act of forgiving; the state of being forgiven. [OE
forgiefenes (as FORGIVE)]
forgiving adj. inclined readily to forgive. ЬЬforgivingly adv.
forgo v.tr. (also forego) (-goes; past -went; past part. -gone) 1
abstain from; go without; relinquish. 2 omit or decline to take
or use (a pleasure, advantage, etc.). [OE forgan (as FOR-,
forgot past of FORGET.
forgotten past part. of FORGET.
forint n. the chief monetary unit of Hungary. [Magyar f. It.
fiorino: see FLORIN]
fork n. & v. --n. 1 an instrument with two or more prongs used in
eating or cooking. 2 a similar much larger instrument used for
digging, lifting, etc. 3 any pronged device or component
(tuning-fork). 4 a forked support for a bicycle wheel. 5 a a
divergence of anything, e.g. a stick or road, or US a river,
into two parts. b the place where this occurs. c either of the
two parts (take the left fork). 6 a flash of forked lightning.
7 Chess a simultaneous attack on two pieces by one. --v. 1
intr. form a fork or branch by separating into two parts. 2
intr. take one or other road etc. at a fork (fork left for
Banbury). 3 tr. dig or lift etc. with a fork. 4 tr. Chess
attack (two pieces) simultaneously with one. Ьfork-lift truck a
vehicle with a horizontal fork in front for lifting and carrying
loads. fork lunch (or supper etc.) a light meal eaten with a
fork at a buffet etc. fork out (or up) sl. hand over or pay,
usu. reluctantly. [OE forca, force f. L furca]
forked adj. 1 having a fork or forklike end or branches. 2 divergent,
cleft. 3 (in comb.) having so many prongs (three-forked).
Ьforked lightning a lightning-flash in the form of a zigzag or
forlorn adj. 1 sad and abandoned or lonely. 2 in a pitiful state; of
wretched appearance. 3 desperate, hopeless, forsaken. Ьforlorn
hope 1 a faint remaining hope or chance. 2 a desperate
enterprise. ЬЬforlornly adv. forlornness n. [past part. of
obs. forlese f. OE forleosan (as FOR-, LOSE): forlorn hope f.
Du. verloren hoop lost troop, orig. of a storming-party etc.]
form n. & v. --n. 1 a a shape; an arrangement of parts. b the
outward aspect (esp. apart from colour) or shape of a body. 2 a
person or animal as visible or tangible (the familiar form of
the postman). 3 the mode in which a thing exists or manifests
itself (took the form of a book). 4 a species, kind, or
variety. 5 a a printed document with blank spaces for
information to be inserted. b a regularly drawn document. 6
esp. Brit. a class in a school. 7 a customary method; what is
usually done (common form). 8 a set order of words; a formula.
9 behaviour according to a rule or custom. 10 (prec. by the)
correct procedure (knows the form). 11 a (of an athlete, horse,
etc.) condition of health and training (is in top form). b
Racing details of previous performances. 12 general state or
disposition (was in great form). 13 sl. a criminal record. 14
formality or mere ceremony. 15 Gram. a one of the ways in
which a word may be spelt or pronounced or inflected. b the
external characteristics of words apart from meaning. 16
arrangement and style in literary or musical composition. 17
Philos. the essential nature of a species or thing. 18 a long
bench without a back. 19 esp. US Printing = FORME. 20 a
hare's lair. 21 = FORMWORK. --v. 1 tr. make or fashion into a
certain shape or form. 2 intr. take a certain shape; be formed.
3 tr. be the material of; make up or constitute (together form a
unit; forms part of the structure). 4 tr. train or instruct. 5
tr. develop or establish as a concept, institution, or practice
(form an idea; formed an alliance; form a habit). 6 tr. (foll.
by into) embody, organize. 7 tr. articulate (a word). 8 tr. &
intr. (often foll. by up) esp. Mil. bring or be brought into a
certain arrangement or formation. 9 tr. construct (a new word)
by derivation, inflection, etc. Ьbad form an offence against
current social conventions. form class Linguistics a class of
linguistic forms with grammatical or syntactical features in
common. form criticism textual analysis of the Bible etc. by
tracing the history of its content by forms (e.g. proverbs,
myths). form letter a standardized letter to deal with
frequently occurring matters. good form what complies with
current social conventions. in form fit for racing etc. off
form not playing or performing well. on form playing or
performing well. out of form not fit for racing etc. [ME f. OF
forme f. L forma mould, form]
-form comb. form (usu. as -iform) forming adjectives meaning: 1 having
the form of (cruciform; cuneiform). 2 having such a number of
(uniform; multiform). [from or after F - forme f. L -formis f.
formal adj. & n. --adj. 1 used or done or held in accordance with
rules, convention, or ceremony (formal dress; a formal
occasion). 2 ceremonial; required by convention (a formal
call). 3 precise or symmetrical (a formal garden). 4 prim or
stiff in manner. 5 perfunctory, having the form without the
spirit. 6 valid or correctly so called because of its form;
explicit and definite (a formal agreement). 7 in accordance
with recognized forms or rules. 8 of or concerned with
(outward) form or appearance, esp. as distinct from content or
matter. 9 Logic concerned with the form and not the matter of
reasoning. 10 Philos. of the essence of a thing; essential not
material. --n. US 1 evening dress. 2 an occasion on which
evening dress is worn. ЬЬformally adv. formalness n. [ME f. L
formalis (as FORM)]
n. a colourless pungent gas used as a disinfectant and
preservative and in the manufacture of synthetic resins. °Chem.
formula: CHO. Also called METHANAL. [FORMIC (ACID) +
formalin n. a colourless solution of formaldehyde in water used as a
preservative for biological specimens etc.
formalism n. 1 a excessive adherence to prescribed forms. b the use of
forms without regard to inner significance. 2 derog. an
artist's concentration on form at the expense of content. 3 the
treatment of mathematics as a manipulation of meaningless
symbols. 4 Theatr. a symbolic and stylized manner of
production. 5 Physics & Math. the mathematical description of a
physical situation etc. ЬЬformalist n. formalistic adj.
formality n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a formal or ceremonial act, requirement of
etiquette, regulation, or custom (often with an implied lack of
real significance). b a thing done simply to comply with a
rule. 2 the rigid observance of rules or convention. 3
ceremony; elaborate procedure. 4 being formal; precision of
manners. 5 stiffness of design. [F formalit‚ or med.L
formalitas (as FORMAL)]
formalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 give definite shape or legal formality to.
2 make ceremonious, precise, or rigid; imbue with formalism.
formant n. 1 the characteristic pitch-constituent of a vowel. 2 a
morpheme occurring only in combination in a word or word-stem.
[G f. L formare formant- to form]
format n. & v. --n. 1 the shape and size of a book, periodical, etc.
2 the style or manner of an arrangement or procedure. 3
Computing a defined structure for holding data etc. in a record
for processing or storage. --v.tr. (formatted, formatting) 1
arrange or put into a format. 2 Computing prepare (a storage
medium) to receive data. [F f. G f. L formatus (liber) shaped
(book), past part. of formare FORM]
formate see FORMIC ACID.
formation n. 1 the act or an instance of forming; the process of being
formed. 2 a thing formed. 3 a structure or arrangement of
parts. 4 a particular arrangement, e.g. of troops, aircraft in
flight, etc. 5 Geol. an assemblage of rocks or series of strata
having some common characteristic. ЬЬformational adj. [ME f.
OF formation or L formatio (as FORM)]
formative adj. & n. --adj. 1 serving to form or fashion; of formation.
2 Gram. (of a flexional or derivative suffix or prefix) used in
forming words. --n. Gram. a formative element. ЬЬformatively
adv. [ME f. OF formatif -ive or med.L formativus (as FORM)]
forme n. (US form: see FORM n. 19.) Printing 1 a body of type
secured in a chase for printing at one impression. 2 a quantity
of film arranged for making a plate etc. [var. of FORM]
former(1) attrib.adj. 1 of or occurring in the past or an earlier period
(in former times). 2 having been previously (her former
husband). 3 (prec. by the; often absol.) the first or first
mentioned of two (opp. LATTER). [ME f. forme first, after
former(2) n. 1 a person or thing that forms. 2 Electr. a frame or core
for winding a coil on. 3 Aeron. a transverse strengthening
member in a wing or fuselage. 4 (in comb.) a pupil of a
specified form in a school (fourth-former).
formerly adv. in the past; in former times.
Formica n. propr. a hard durable plastic laminate used for working
surfaces, cupboard doors, etc. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
n. a colourless irritant volatile acid (HCOOH) contained in the
fluid emitted by some ants. Also called METHANOIC ACID.
ЬЬformate n. [L formica ant]
n. a sensation as of ants crawling over the skin. [L
formicatio f. formica ant]
disp. adj. 1 inspiring fear or dread. 2 inspiring respect or
awe. 3 likely to be hard to overcome, resist, or deal with.
ЬЬformidableness n. formidably adv. [F formidable or L
formidabilis f. formidare fear]
formless adj. shapeless; without determinate or regular form.
ЬЬformlessly adv. formlessness n.
formula n. (pl. formulas or (esp. in senses 1, 2) formulae) 1 Chem. a
set of chemical symbols showing the constituents of a substance
and their relative proportions. 2 Math. a mathematical rule
expressed in symbols. 3 a a fixed form of words, esp. one used
on social or ceremonial occasions. b a rule unintelligently or
slavishly followed; an established or conventional usage. c a
form of words embodying or enabling agreement, resolution of a
dispute, etc. 4 a a list of ingredients; a recipe. b US an
infant's food made up from a recipe. 5 a classification of
racing car, esp. by the engine capacity. ЬЬformulaic adj.
formularize v.tr. (also -ise). formulize v.tr. (also -ise).
[L, dimin. of forma FORM]
formulary n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a collection of formulas or set
forms, esp. for religious use. 2 Pharm. a compendium of
formulae used in the preparation of medicinal drugs. --adj. 1
using formulae. 2 in or of formulae. [(n.) F formulaire or f.
med.L formularius (liber book) f. L (as FORMULA): (adj.) f.
formulate v.tr. 1 express in a formula. 2 express clearly and precisely.
formulism n. adherence to or dependence on conventional formulas.
ЬЬformulist n. formulistic adj.
formwork n. = SHUTTERING 1.
fornicate v.intr. archaic or joc. (of people not married or not married
to each other) have sexual intercourse voluntarily.
ЬЬfornication n. fornicator n. [eccl.L fornicari f. L fornix
forrader colloq. compar. of FORWARD.
forsake v.tr. (past forsook; past part. forsaken) 1 give up; break off
from; renounce. 2 withdraw one's help, friendship, or
companionship from; desert, abandon. ЬЬforsakenness n.
forsaker n. [OE forsacan deny, renounce, refuse, f. WG; cf. OE
forsooth adv. archaic or joc. truly; in truth; no doubt. [OE forsoth
(as FOR, SOOTH)]
forsythia n. any ornamental shrub of the genus Forsythia bearing
bright-yellow flowers in early spring. [mod.L f. W. Forsyth,
Engl. botanist d. 1804]
fort n. 1 a fortified building or position. 2 hist. a
trading-station, orig. fortified. [F fort or It. forte f. L
forte(1) n. 1 a person's strong point; a thing in which a person excels.
2 Fencing the part of a sword-blade from the hilt to the middle
(cf. FOIBLE 2). [F fort strong f. L fortis]
forte(2) adj., adv., & n. Mus. --adj. performed loudly. --adv. loudly.
--n. a passage to be performed loudly. Ьforte piano adj. & adv.
loud and then immediately soft. [It., = strong, loud]
n. (pl. -os) Mus. = PIANOFORTE esp. with ref. to an instrument
of the 18th to early 19th c. [FORTE(2) + PIANO(2)]
forth adv. archaic except in set phrases and after certain verbs,
esp. bring, come, go, and set 1 forward; into view. 2 onwards
in time (from this time forth; henceforth). 3 forwards. 4 out
from a starting-point (set forth). Ьand so forth and so on; and
the like. [OE f. Gmc]
attrib. adj. 1 a about or likely to appear or become
available. b approaching. 2 produced when wanted (no reply was
forthcoming). 3 (of a person) informative, responsive.
adj. & adv. --adj. 1 direct and outspoken; straightforward. 2
decisive, unhesitating. --adv. in a direct manner; bluntly.
ЬЬforthrightly adv. forthrightness n. [OE forthriht (as FORTH,
n. 1 the act or an instance of fortifying; the process of being
fortified. 2 Mil. a the art or science of fortifying. b (usu.
in pl.) defensive works fortifying a position. [ME f. F f. LL
fortificatio -onis act of strengthening (as FORTIFY)]
fortify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 provide or equip with defensive works so
as to strengthen against attack. 2 strengthen or invigorate
mentally or morally; encourage. 3 strengthen the structure of.
4 strengthen (wine) with alcohol. 5 increase the nutritive
value of (food, esp. with vitamins). ЬЬfortifiable adj.
fortifier n. [ME f. OF fortifier f. LL fortificare f. L fortis
adj., adv., & n. Mus. --adj. performed very loudly. --adv.
very loudly. --n. (pl. -os or fortissimi) a passage to be
performed very loudly. [It., superl. of FORTE(2)]
fortitude n. courage in pain or adversity. [ME f. F f. L fortitudo
-dinis f. fortis strong]
fortnight n. 1 a period of two weeks. 2 (prec. by a specified day) two
weeks after (that day) (Tuesday fortnight). [OE feowertiene
niht fourteen nights]
adj., adv., & n. --adj. done, produced, or occurring once a
fortnight. --adv. every fortnight. --n. (pl. -ies) a
magazine etc. issued every fortnight.
Fortran n. (also FORTRAN) Computing a high-level programming language
used esp. for scientific calculations. [formula translation]
fortress n. a military stronghold, esp. a strongly fortified town fit
for a large garrison. [ME f. OF forteresse, ult. f. L fortis
adj. due to or characterized by chance; accidental, casual.
ЬЬfortuitously adv. fortuitousness n. [L fortuitus f. forte
fortuity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a chance occurrence. 2 accident or chance;
fortunate adj. 1 favoured by fortune; lucky, prosperous. 2 auspicious,
favourable. [ME f. L fortunatus (as FORTUNE)]
adv. 1 luckily, successfully. 2 (qualifying a whole sentence)
it is fortunate that.
fortune n. 1 a chance or luck as a force in human affairs. b a
person's destiny. 2 (Fortune) this force personified, often as
a deity. 3 (in sing. or pl.) luck (esp. favourable) that
befalls a person or enterprise. 4 good luck. 5 prosperity; a
prosperous condition. 6 (also colloq. small fortune) great
wealth; a huge sum of money. Ьfortune-hunter colloq. a person
seeking wealth by marriage. fortune-teller a person who claims
to predict future events in a person's life. fortune-telling
the practice of this. make a (or one's) fortune acquire wealth
or prosperity. tell a person's fortune make predictions about a
person's future. [ME f. OF f. L fortuna luck, chance]
forty n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 the product of four and ten. 2 a
symbol for this (40, xl, XL). 3 (in pl.) the numbers from 40 to
49, esp. the years of a century or of a person's life. 4 (the
Forties) Brit. the sea area between the NE coast of Scotland and
the SW coast of Norway (so called from its depth of forty
fathoms or more). --adj. that amount to forty. Ьforty-first,
-second , etc. the ordinal numbers between fortieth and
fiftieth. forty-five a gramophone record played at 45 r.p.m.
the Forty-five the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. forty-niner US a
seeker for gold etc., esp. in the Californian gold-rush of 1849.
forty-one, -two , etc. the cardinal numbers between forty and
fifty. forty winks colloq. a short sleep. ЬЬfortieth adj. &
n. fortyfold adj. & adv. [OE feowertig (as FOUR, -TY(2))]
forum n. 1 a place of or meeting for public discussion. 2 a
periodical etc. giving an opportunity for discussion. 3 a court
or tribunal. 4 hist. a public square or market-place in an
ancient Roman city used for judicial and other business. [L, in
forward adj., n., adv., & v. --adj. 1 lying in one's line of motion.
2 a onward or towards the front. b Naut. belonging to the fore
part of a ship. 3 precocious; bold in manner; presumptuous. 4
Commerce relating to future produce, delivery, etc. (forward
contract). 5 a advanced; progressing towards or approaching
maturity or completion. b (of a plant etc.) well advanced or
early. --n. an attacking player positioned near the front of a
team in football, hockey, etc. --adv. 1 to the front; into
prominence (come forward; move forward). 2 in advance; ahead
(sent them forward). 3 onward so as to make progress (not
getting any further forward). 4 towards the future;
continuously onwards (from this time forward). 5 (also
forwards) a towards the front in the direction one is facing. b
in the normal direction of motion or of traversal. c with
continuous forward motion (backwards and forwards; rushing
forward). 6 Naut. & Aeron. in, near, or towards the bow or
nose. --v.tr. 1 a send (a letter etc.) on to a further
destination. b dispatch (goods etc.) (forwarding agent). 2
help to advance; promote. Ьforward-looking progressive;
favouring change. ЬЬforwarder n. forwardly adv. forwardness
n. (esp. in sense 3 of adj.). [OE forweard, var. of forthweard
(as FORTH, -WARD)]
forwards var. of FORWARD adv. 5.
forwent past of FORGO.
fossa n. (pl. fossae) Anat. a shallow depression or cavity. [L, =
ditch, fem. past part. of fodere dig]
fosse n. 1 a long narrow trench or excavation, esp. in a
fortification. 2 Anat. = FOSSA. [ME f. OF f. L fossa: see
fossick v.intr. Austral. & NZ colloq. 1 (foll. by about, around)
rummage, search. 2 search for gold etc. in abandoned workings.
ЬЬfossicker n. [19th c.: cf. dial. fossick bustle about]
fossil n. & adj. --n. 1 the remains or impression of a (usu.
prehistoric) plant or animal hardened in rock (often attrib. :
fossil bones; fossil shells). 2 colloq. an antiquated or
unchanging person or thing. 3 a word that has become obsolete
except in set phrases or forms, e.g. hue in hue and cry.
--adj. 1 of or like a fossil. 2 antiquated; out of date.
Ьfossil fuel a natural fuel such as coal or gas formed in the
geological past from the remains of living organisms. fossil
ivory see IVORY. ЬЬfossiliferous adj. fossilize v.tr. & intr.
(also -ise). fossilization n. [F fossile f. L fossilis f.
fodere foss- dig]
fossorial adj. 1 (of animals) burrowing. 2 (of limbs etc.) used in
burrowing. [med.L fossorius f. fossor digger (as FOSSIL)]
foster v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 a promote the growth or development of. b
encourage or harbour (a feeling). 2 (of circumstances) be
favourable to. 3 a bring up (a child that is not one's own by
birth). b Brit. (of a local authority etc.) assign (a child) to
be fostered. 4 cherish; have affectionate regard for (an idea,
scheme, etc.). --adj. 1 having a family connection by
fostering and not by birth (foster-brother; foster-child;
foster-parent). 2 involving or concerned with fostering a child
(foster care; foster home). ЬЬfosterage n. (esp. in sense 3 of
v.). fosterer n. [OE fostrian, foster, rel. to FOOD]
n. a foster-child; a nursling or prot‚g‚. [OE fosterling (as
fouett‚ n. Ballet a quick whipping movement of the raised leg. [F,
past part. of fouetter whip]
fought past and past part. of FIGHT.
foul adj., n., adv., & v. --adj. 1 offensive to the senses;
loathsome, stinking. 2 dirty, soiled, filthy. 3 colloq.
revolting, disgusting. 4 a containing or charged with noxious
matter (foul air). b clogged, choked. 5 morally polluted;
disgustingly abusive or offensive (foul language; foul deeds).
6 unfair; against the rules of a game etc. (by fair means or
foul). 7 (of the weather) wet, rough, stormy. 8 (of a rope
etc.) entangled. 9 (of a ship's bottom) overgrown with weeds,
barnacles, etc. --n. 1 Sport an unfair or invalid stroke or
piece of play. 2 a collision or entanglement, esp. in riding,
rowing, or running. 3 a foul thing. --adv. unfairly; contrary
to the rules. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become foul or dirty.
2 tr. (of an animal) make dirty with excrement. 3 a tr. Sport
commit a foul against (a player). b intr. commit a foul. 4 a
tr. (often foll. by up) cause (an anchor, cable, etc.) to become
entangled or muddled. b intr. become entangled. 5 tr. jam or
block (a crossing, railway line, or traffic). 6 tr. (usu. foll.
by up) colloq. spoil or bungle. 7 tr. run foul of; collide
with. 8 tr. pollute with guilt; dishonour. Ьfoul brood a fatal
disease of larval bees caused by bacteria. foul mouth a person
who uses foul language. foul play 1 unfair play in games. 2
treacherous or violent activity, esp. murder. foul-up a muddled
or bungled situation. ЬЬfoully adv. foulness n. [OE ful f.
foulard n. 1 a thin soft material of silk or silk and cotton. 2 an
article made of this. [F]
foumart n. a polecat. [ME fulmert etc. (as FOUL, mart MARTEN)]
found(1) past and past part. of FIND.
found(2) v. 1 tr. a establish (esp. with an endowment). b originate or
initiate (an institution). 2 tr. be the original builder or
begin the building of (a town etc.). 3 tr. lay the base of (a
building etc.). 4 (foll. by on, upon) a tr. construct or base
(a story, theory, rule, etc.) according to a specified principle
or ground. b intr. have a basis in. Ьfounding father a person
associated with a founding, esp. an American statesman at the
time of the Revolution. [ME f. OF fonder f. L fundare f.
found(3) v.tr. 1 a melt and mould (metal). b fuse (materials for
glass). 2 make by founding. ЬЬfounder n. [ME f. OF fondre f.
L fundere fus- pour]
n. 1 a the solid ground or base, natural or artificial, on
which a building rests. b (usu. in pl.) the lowest load-bearing
part of a building, usu. below ground level. 2 a body or ground
on which other parts are overlaid. 3 a basis or underlying
principle; groundwork (the report has no foundation). 4 a the
act or an instance of establishing or constituting (esp. an
endowed institution) on a permanent basis. b such an
institution, e.g. a monastery, college, or hospital. 5 (in full
foundation garment) a woman's supporting undergarment, e.g. a
corset. Ьfoundation cream a cream used as a base for applying
cosmetics. foundation-stone 1 a stone laid with ceremony to
celebrate the founding of a building. 2 the main ground or
basis of something. ЬЬfoundational adj. [ME f. OF fondation f.
L fundatio -onis (as FOUND(2))]
n. a person who founds an institution. ЬЬfoundership n.
v. & n. --v. 1 a intr. (of a ship) fill with water and sink.
b tr. cause (a ship) to founder. 2 intr. (of a plan etc.) fail.
3 intr. (of earth, a building, etc.) fall down or in, give way.
4 a intr. (of a horse or its rider) fall to the ground, fall
from lameness, stick fast in mud etc. b tr. cause (a horse) to
break down, esp. with founder. --n. 1 inflammation of a
horse's foot from overwork. 2 rheumatism of the chest-muscles
in horses. [ME f. OF fondrer, esfondrer submerge, collapse,
ult. f. L fundus bottom]
foundling n. an abandoned infant of unknown parentage. [ME, perh. f.
obs. funding (as FIND, -ING(3)), assim. to -LING(1)]
foundry n. (pl. -ies) a workshop for or a business of casting metal.
fount(1) n. poet. a spring or fountain; a source. [back-form. f.
FOUNTAIN after MOUNT(2)]
fount(2) n. (also font) Printing a set of type of one face or size. [F
fonte f. fondre FOUND(3)]
fountain n. 1 a a jet or jets of water made to spout for ornamental
purposes or for drinking. b a structure provided for this. 2 a
structure for the constant public supply of drinking-water. 3 a
natural spring of water. 4 a source (in physical or abstract
senses). 5 = soda-fountain. 6 a reservoir for oil, ink, etc.
Ьfountain-head an original source. fountain-pen a pen with a
reservoir or cartridge holding ink. ЬЬfountained adj. (also in
comb.). [ME f. OF fontaine f. LL fontana fem. of L fontanus
(adj.) f. fons fontis a spring]
four n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than three, or six less than ten;
the product of two units and two units. 2 a symbol for this (4,
iv, IV, rarely iiii, IIII). 3 a size etc. denoted by four. 4 a
four-oared rowing-boat or its crew. 5 the time of four o'clock
(is it four yet?). 6 a card with four pips. 7 a hit at cricket
scoring four runs. --adj. that amount to four. Ьfour-eyes sl.
a person wearing glasses. four-flush US Cards a poker hand of
little value, having four cards of the same suit and one of
another. four-flusher US a bluffer or humbug. four hundred US
the social ‚lite of a community. four-in-hand 1 a vehicle with
four horses driven by one person. 2 US a necktie worn with a
knot and two hanging ends superposed. four-leaf (or -leaved)
clover a clover leaf with four leaflets thought to bring good
luck. four-letter word any of several short words referring to
sexual or excretory functions, regarded as coarse or offensive.
four o'clock = marvel of Peru. four-part Mus. arranged for
four voices to sing or instruments to play. four-poster a bed
with a post at each corner supporting a canopy. four-square
adj. 1 solidly based. 2 steady, resolute; forthright. 3
square-shaped. --adv. steadily, resolutely. four-stroke (of an
internal-combustion engine) having a cycle of four strokes
(intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust). four-wheel
drive drive acting on all four wheels of a vehicle. on all
fours on hands and knees. [OE feower f. Gmc]
n. Anat. a thin fold of skin at the back of the vulva. [F,
dimin. of fourche (as FORK)]
fourfold adj. & adv. 1 four times as much or as many. 2 consisting of
four parts. 3 amounting to four.
n. Math. the resolution of periodic data into harmonic
functions using a Fourier series. [J. B. J. Fourier, Fr.
mathematician d. 1830]
n. Math. an expansion of a periodic function as a series of
fourpence n. Brit. the sum of four pence, esp. before decimalization.
fourpenny adj. Brit. costing four pence, esp. before decimalization.
Ьfourpenny one colloq. a hit or blow.
fourscore n. archaic eighty.
foursome n. 1 a group of four persons. 2 a golf match between two pairs
with partners playing the same ball.
fourteen n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than thirteen, or four more than
ten; the product of two units and seven units. 2 a symbol for
this (14, xiv, XIV). 3 a size etc. denoted by fourteen. --adj.
that amount to fourteen. ЬЬfourteenth adj. & n. [OE
feowertiene (as FOUR, -TEEN)]
fourth n. & adj. --n. 1 the position in a sequence corresponding to
that of the number 4 in the sequence 1-4. 2 something occupying
this position. 3 the fourth person etc. in a race or
competition. 4 each of four equal parts of a thing; a quarter.
5 the fourth (and often highest) in a sequence of gears. 6 Mus.
a an interval or chord spanning four consecutive notes in the
diatonic scale (e.g. C to F). b a note separated from another
by this interval. --adj. that is the fourth. Ьfourth dimension
1 a postulated dimension additional to those determining area
and volume. 2 time regarded as equivalent to linear dimensions.
fourth estate joc. the press; journalism. ЬЬfourthly adv. [OE
feortha, feowertha f. Gmc]
4to abbr. quarto.
fovea n. (pl. foveae) Anat. a small depression or pit, esp. the pit
in the retina of the eye for focusing images. ЬЬfoveal adj.
foveate adj. [L]
fowl n. & v. (pl. same or fowls) --n. 1 any domestic cock or hen of
various gallinaceous birds, kept for eggs and flesh. 2 the
flesh of birds, esp. a domestic cock or hen, as food. 3 archaic
(except in comb. or collect.) a bird (guineafowl; wildfowl).
--v.intr. catch or hunt wildfowl. Ьfowl cholera see CHOLERA.
fowl pest an infectious virus disease of fowls. fowl-run 1 a
place where fowls may run. 2 a breeding establishment for
fowls. ЬЬfowler n. fowling n. [OE fugol f. Gmc]
fox n. & v. --n. 1 a any of various wild flesh-eating mammals of
the dog family, esp. of the genus Vulpes, with a sharp snout,
bushy tail, and red or grey fur. b the fur of a fox. 2 a
cunning or sly person. 3 US sl. an attractive young woman.
--v. 1 a intr. act craftily. b tr. deceive, baffle, trick. 2
tr. (usu. as foxed adj.) discolour (the leaves of a book,
engraving, etc.) with brownish marks. Ьfox-terrier 1 a terrier
of a short-haired breed originally used for unearthing foxes. 2
this breed. ЬЬfoxing n. (in sense 2 of v.). foxlike adj. [OE
foxglove n. any tall plant of the genus Digitalis, with erect spikes of
purple or white flowers like glove-fingers.
foxhole n. 1 Mil. a hole in the ground used as a shelter against enemy
fire or as a firing-point. 2 a place of refuge or concealment.
foxhound n. a kind of hound bred and trained to hunt foxes.
fox-hunt n. & v. --n. 1 the hunting of foxes with hounds. 2 a
particular group of people engaged in this. --v.intr. engage in
a fox-hunt. ЬЬfox-hunter n. fox-hunting n. & adj.
foxtail n. any of several grasses of the genus Alopecurus, with
foxtrot n. & v. --n. 1 a ballroom dance with slow and quick steps. 2
the music for this. --v.intr. (foxtrotted, foxtrotting)
perform this dance.
foxy adj. (foxier, foxiest) 1 of or like a fox. 2 sly or cunning.
3 reddish-brown. 4 (of paper) damaged, esp. by mildew. 5 US
sl. (of a woman) sexually attractive. ЬЬfoxily adv. foxiness
foyer n. the entrance hall or other large area in a hotel, theatre,
etc. [F, = hearth, home, ult. f. L focus fire]
Fra n. a prefixed title given to an Italian monk or friar. [It.,
abbr. of frate brother]
frabjous adj. delightful, joyous. ЬЬfrabjously adv. [devised by Lewis
Carroll, app. to suggest fair and joyous]
fracas n. (pl. same) a noisy disturbance or quarrel. [F f. fracasser
f. It. fracassare make an uproar]
fraction n. 1 a numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. «,
0.5). 2 a small, esp. very small, part, piece, or amount. 3 a
portion of a mixture separated by distillation etc. 4 Polit.
any organized dissentient group, esp. a group of communists in a
non-communist organization. 5 the division of the Eucharistic
bread. ЬЬfractionary adj. fractionize v.tr. (also -ise). [ME
f. OF f. LL fractio -onis f. L frangere fract- break]
adj. 1 of or relating to or being a fraction. 2 very slight;
incomplete. 3 Chem. relating to the separation of parts of a
mixture by making use of their different physical properties
(fractional crystallization; fractional distillation).
ЬЬfractionalize v.tr. (also -ise). fractionally adv. (esp. in
v.tr. 1 break up into parts. 2 separate (a mixture) by
fractional distillation etc. ЬЬfractionation n.
fractious adj. 1 irritable, peevish. 2 unruly. ЬЬfractiously adv.
fractiousness n. [FRACTION in obs. sense 'brawling', prob.
after factious etc.]
fracto- comb. form Meteorol. (of a cloud form) broken or fragmentary
(fracto-cumulus; fracto-nimbus). [L fractus broken: see
fracture n. & v. --n. 1 a breakage or breaking, esp. of a bone or
cartilage. b the result of breaking; a crack or split. 2 the
surface appearance of a freshly broken rock or mineral. 3
Linguistics a the substitution of a diphthong for a simple vowel
owing to an influence esp. of a following consonant. b a
diphthong substituted in this way. --v.intr. & tr. 1 Med.
undergo or cause to undergo a fracture. 2 break or cause to
break. [ME f. F fracture or f. L fractura (as FRACTION)]
fraenulum n. (also frenulum) (pl. -la) Anat. a small fraenum. [mod.L,
dimin. of FRAENUM]
fraenum n. (also frenum) (pl. -na) Anat. a fold of mucous membrane or
skin esp. under the tongue, checking the motion of an organ.
[L, = bridle]
fragile adj. 1 easily broken; weak. 2 of delicate frame or
constitution; not strong. ЬЬfragilely adv. fragility n. [F
fragile or L fragilis f. frangere break]
fragment n. & v. --n. 1 a part broken off; a detached piece. 2 an
isolated or incomplete part. 3 the remains of an otherwise lost
or destroyed whole, esp. the extant remains or unfinished
portion of a book or work of art. --v.tr. & intr. break or
separate into fragments. ЬЬfragmental adj. fragmentize v.tr.
(also -ise). [ME f. F fragment or L fragmentum (as FRAGILE)]
adj. 1 consisting of fragments. 2 disconnected. 3 Geol.
composed of fragments of previously existing rocks.
n. the process or an instance of breaking into fragments.
Ьfragmentation bomb a bomb designed to break up into small
rapidly-moving fragments when exploded.
fragrance n. 1 sweetness of smell. 2 a sweet scent. [F fragrance or L
fragrantia (as FRAGRANT)]
fragrancy n. (pl. -ies) = FRAGRANCE.
fragrant adj. sweet-smelling. ЬЬfragrantly adv. [ME f. F fragrant or L
fragrare smell sweet]
frail adj. & n. --adj. 1 fragile, delicate. 2 in weak health. 3
morally weak; unable to resist temptation. 4 transient,
insubstantial. --n. US sl. a woman. ЬЬfrailly adv. frailness
n. [ME f. OF fraile, frele f. L fragilis FRAGILE]
frailty n. (pl. -ies) 1 the condition of being frail. 2 liability to
err or yield to temptation. 3 a fault, weakness, or foible.
[ME f. OF frailet‚ f. L fragilitas -tatis (as FRAGILE)]
Fraktur n. a German style of black-letter type. [G]
n. (US frambesia) Med. = YAWS. [mod.L f. F framboise raspberry
f. L fraga ambrosia ambrosial strawberry]
frame n. & v. --n. 1 a case or border enclosing a picture, window,
door, etc. 2 the basic rigid supporting structure of anything,
e.g. of a building, motor vehicle, or aircraft. 3 (in pl.) the
structure of spectacles holding the lenses. 4 a human or animal
body, esp. with reference to its size or structure (his frame
shook with laughter). 5 a framed work or structure (the frame
of heaven). 6 a an established order, plan, or system (the
frame of society). b construction, constitution, build. 7 a
temporary state (esp. in frame of mind). 8 a single complete
image or picture on a cinema film or transmitted in a series of
lines by television. 9 a a triangular structure for positioning
the balls in snooker etc. b the balls positioned in this way.
c a round of play in snooker etc. 10 Hort. a boxlike structure
of glass etc. for protecting plants. 11 a removable box of
slats for the building of a honeycomb in a beehive. 12 US sl. =
frame-up. --v.tr. 1 a set in or provide with a frame. b serve
as a frame for. 2 construct by a combination of parts or in
accordance with a design or plan. 3 formulate or devise the
essentials of (a complex thing, idea, theory, etc.). 4 (foll.
by to, into) adapt or fit. 5 sl. concoct a false charge or
evidence against; devise a plot with regard to. 6 articulate
(words). Ьframe-house a house constructed of a wooden skeleton
covered with boards etc. frame of reference 1 a set of
standards or principles governing behaviour, thought, etc. 2
Geom. a system of geometrical axes for defining position.
frame-saw a saw stretched in a frame to make it rigid. frame-up
colloq. a conspiracy, esp. to make an innocent person appear
guilty. ЬЬframable adj. frameless adj. framer n. [OE framian
be of service f. fram forward: see FROM]
framework n. 1 an essential supporting structure. 2 a basic system.
framing n. a framework; a system of frames.
franc n. the chief monetary unit of France, Belgium, Switzerland,
Luxemburg, and several other countries. [ME f. OF f. Francorum
Rex king of the Franks, the legend on the earliest gold coins so
called (14th c.): see FRANK]
franchise n. & v. --n. 1 a the right to vote at State (esp.
parliamentary) elections. b the principle of qualification for
this. 2 full membership of a corporation or State; citizenship.
3 authorization granted to an individual or group by a company
to sell its goods or services in a particular way. 4 hist.
legal immunity or exemption from a burden or jurisdiction. 5 a
right or privilege granted to a person or corporation. --v.tr.
grant a franchise to. ЬЬfranchisee n. franchiser n. (also
franchisor). [ME f. OF f. franc, franche free: see FRANK]
n. & adj. --n. a monk, nun, or sister of an order founded in
1209 by St Francis of Assisi (see also Grey Friar). --adj. of
St Francis or his order. [F franciscain f. mod.L Franciscanus
f. Franciscus Francis]
francium n. Chem. a radioactive metallic element occurring naturally in
uranium and thorium ores. °Symb.: Fr. [mod.L f. France (the
Franco- comb. form 1 French; French and (Franco-German). 2 regarding
France or the French (Francophile). [med.L Francus FRANK]
francolin n. any medium-sized partridge of the genus Francolinus. [F f.
n. a person who is fond of France or the French.
n. & adj. --n. a French-speaking person. --adj.
French-speaking. [FRANCO- + Gk phone voice]
frangible adj. breakable, fragile. [OF frangible or med.L frangibilis f.
L frangere to break]
n. 1 a an almond-flavoured cream or paste. b a flan filled
with this. 2 = FRANGIPANI. [F prob. f. Marquis Frangipani,
16th-c. It. inventor of the perfume]
n. (pl. frangipanis) 1 any tree or shrub of the genus
Plumeria, native to tropical America, esp. P. rubra with
clusters of fragrant white, pink, or yellow flowers. 2 the
perfume from this plant. [var. of FRANGIPANE]
franglais n. a corrupt version of French using many words and idioms
borrowed from English. [F f. fran‡ais French + anglais
Frank n. 1 a member of the Germanic nation or coalition that
conquered Gaul in the 6th c. 2 (in the Levant) a person of
Western nationality. ЬЬFrankish adj. [OE Franca, OHG Franko,
perh. f. the name of a weapon: cf. OE franca javelin]
frank adj., v., & n. --adj. 1 candid, outspoken (a frank opinion).
2 undisguised, avowed (frank admiration). 3 ingenuous, open (a
frank face). 4 Med. unmistakable. --v.tr. 1 stamp (a letter)
with an official mark (esp. other than a normal postage stamp)
to record the payment of postage. 2 hist. superscribe (a letter
etc.) with a signature ensuring conveyance without charge; send
without charge. 3 archaic facilitate the coming and going of (a
person). --n. 1 a franking signature or mark. 2 a franked
cover. ЬЬfrankable adj. franker n. frankness n. [ME f. OF
franc f. med.L francus free, f. FRANK (since only Franks had
full freedom in Frankish Gaul)]
n. (in full Frankenstein's monster) a thing that becomes
terrifying to its maker; a monster. [Baron Frankenstein, a
character in and the title of a novel (1818) by Mary Shelley]
n. a seasoned smoked sausage made of beef and pork. [G
Frankfurter Wurst Frankfurt sausage]
n. an aromatic gum resin obtained from trees of the genus
Boswellia, used for burning as incense. [ME f. OF franc encens
franklin n. hist. a landowner of free but not noble birth in the 14th
and 15th c. in England. [ME francoleyn etc. f. AL francalanus
f. francalis held without dues f. francus free: see FRANK]
frankly adv. 1 in a frank manner. 2 (qualifying a whole sentence) to
frantic adj. 1 wildly excited; frenzied. 2 characterized by great
hurry or anxiety; desperate, violent. 3 colloq. extreme; very
great. ЬЬfrantically adv. franticly adv. franticness n. [ME
frentik, frantik f. OF frenetique f. L phreneticus: see
frapp‚ adj. & n. --adj. (esp. of wine) iced, cooled. --n. 1 an iced
drink. 2 a soft water-ice. [F, past part. of frapper strike,
frass n. 1 a fine powdery refuse left by insects boring. 2 the
excrement of insect larvae. [G f. fressen devour (as FRET(1))]
fraternal adj. 1 of a brother or brothers. 2 suitable to a brother;
brotherly. 3 (of twins) developed from separate ova and not
necessarily closely similar. 4 US of or concerning a fraternity
(see FRATERNITY 3). ЬЬfraternalism n. fraternally adv. [med.L
fraternalis f. L fraternus f. frater brother]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a religious brotherhood. 2 a group or company
with common interests, or of the same professional class. 3 US
a male students' society in a university or college. 4 being
fraternal; brotherliness. [ME f. OF fraternit‚ f. L fraternitas
-tatis (as FRATERNAL)]
v.intr. (also -ise) (often foll. by with) 1 associate; make
friends; behave as intimates. 2 (of troops) enter into friendly
relations with enemy troops or the inhabitants of an occupied
country. ЬЬfraternization n. [F fraterniser & med.L
fraternizare f. L fraternus: see FRATERNAL]
n. 1 the killing of one's brother or sister. 2 a person who
does this. ЬЬfratricidal adj. [F fratricide or LL
fratricidium, L fratricida, f. frater fratris brother]
Frau n. (pl. Frauen) (often as a title) a married or widowed German
fraud n. 1 criminal deception; the use of false representations to
gain an unjust advantage. 2 a dishonest artifice or trick. 3 a
person or thing not fulfilling what is claimed or expected of
it. [ME f. OF fraude f. L fraus fraudis]
adj. 1 characterized or achieved by fraud. 2 guilty of fraud;
intending to deceive. ЬЬfraudulence n. fraudulently adv. [ME
f. OF fraudulent or L fraudulentus (as FRAUD)]
fraught adj. 1 (foll. by with) filled or attended with (fraught with
danger). 2 colloq. causing or affected by great anxiety or
distress. [ME, past part. of obs. fraught (v.) load with cargo
f. MDu. vrachten f. vracht FREIGHT]
Fr„ulein n. (often as a title or form of address) an unmarried (esp.
young) German woman. [G, dimin. of FRAU]
n.pl. the dark lines visible in solar and stellar spectra. [J.
von Fraunhofer, Bavarian physicist d. 1826]
n. an aromatic plant Dictamnus albus, having foliage that emits
an ethereal inflammable oil. Also called DITTANY, gas plant,
burning bush. [mod.L, dimin. of L fraxinus ash-tree]
fray(1) v. 1 tr. & intr. wear through or become worn, esp. (of woven
material) unweave at the edges. 2 intr. (of nerves, temper,
etc.) become strained; deteriorate. [F frayer f. L fricare rub]
fray(2) n. 1 conflict, fighting (eager for the fray). 2 a noisy
quarrel or brawl. [ME f. fray to quarrel f. affray (v.) (as
frazil n. US ice crystals that form in a stream or on its bed. [Can.F
frasil snow floating in the water; cf. F fraisil cinders]
frazzle n. & v. colloq. --n. a worn or exhausted state (burnt to a
frazzle). --v.tr. (usu. as frazzled adj.) wear out; exhaust.
freak n. & v. --n. 1 (also freak of nature) a monstrosity; an
abnormally developed individual or thing. 2 (often attrib.) an
abnormal, irregular, or bizarre occurrence (a freak storm). 3
colloq. a an unconventional person. b a person with a
specified enthusiasm or interest (health freak). c a person who
undergoes hallucinations; a drug addict (see sense 2 of v.). 4
a a caprice or vagary. b capriciousness. --v. (often foll. by
out) colloq. 1 intr. & tr. become or make very angry. 2 intr.
& tr. undergo or cause to undergo hallucinations or a strong
emotional experience, esp. from use of narcotics. 3 intr. adopt
a wildly unconventional lifestyle. Ьfreak-out colloq. an act
of freaking out; a hallucinatory or strong emotional experience.
[16th c.: prob. f. dial.]
freakish adj. 1 of or like a freak. 2 bizarre, unconventional.
ЬЬfreakishly adv. freakishness n.
freaky adj. (freakier, freakiest) = FREAKISH. ЬЬfreakily adv.
freckle n. & v. --n. (often in pl.) a light brown spot on the skin,
usu. caused by exposure to the sun. --v. 1 tr. (usu. as
freckled adj.) spot with freckles. 2 intr. be spotted with
freckles. ЬЬfreckly adj. [ME fracel etc. f. dial. freken f.
ON freknur (pl.)]
free adj., adv., & v. --adj. (freer; freest) 1 not in bondage to or
under the control of another; having personal rights and social
and political liberty. 2 (of a State, or its citizens or
institutions) subject neither to foreign domination nor to
despotic government; having national and civil liberty (a free
press; a free society). 3 a unrestricted, unimpeded; not
restrained or fixed. b at liberty; not confined or imprisoned.
c released from ties or duties; unimpeded. d unrestrained as to
action; independent (set free). 4 (foll. by of, from) a not
subject to; exempt from (free of tax). b not containing or
subject to a specified (usu. undesirable) thing (free of
preservatives; free from disease). 5 (foll. by to + infin.)
able or permitted to take a specified action (you are free to
choose). 6 unconstrained (free gestures). 7 a available
without charge; costing nothing. b not subject to tax, duty,
trade-restraint, or fees. 8 a clear of engagements or
obligations (are you free tomorrow?). b not occupied or in use
(the bathroom is free now). c clear of obstructions. 9
spontaneous, unforced (free compliments). 10 open to all
comers. 11 lavish, profuse; using or used without restraint
(very free with their money). 12 frank, unreserved. 13 (of a
literary style) not observing the strict laws of form. 14 (of a
translation) conveying the broad sense; not literal. 15
forward, familiar, impudent. 16 (of talk, stories, etc.)
slightly indecent. 17 Physics a not modified by an external
force. b not bound in an atom or molecule. 18 Chem. not
combined (free oxygen). 19 (of power or energy) disengaged or
available. --adv. 1 in a free manner. 2 without cost or
payment. 3 Naut. not close-hauled. --v.tr. 1 make free; set
at liberty. 2 (foll. by of, from) relieve from (something
undesirable). 3 disengage, disentangle. Ьfree agent a person
with freedom of action. free and easy informal, unceremonious.
free association Psychol. a method of investigating a person's
unconscious by eliciting from him or her spontaneous
associations with ideas proposed by the examiner. free-born
inheriting a citizen's rights and liberty. Free Church a Church
dissenting or seceding from an established Church. free
enterprise a system in which private business operates in
competition and largely free of State control. free fall
movement under the force of gravity only, esp.: 1 the part of a
parachute descent before the parachute opens. 2 the movement of
a spacecraft in space without thrust from the engines. free
fight a general fight in which all present join. free-for-all a
free fight, unrestricted discussion, etc. free-form (attrib.)
of an irregular shape or structure. free hand freedom to act at
one's own discretion (see also FREEHAND). free-handed generous.
free-handedly generously. free-handedness generosity. free
house Brit. an inn or public house not controlled by a brewery
and therefore not restricted to selling particular brands of
beer or liquor. free kick Football a set kick allowed to be
taken by one side without interference from the other. free
labour the labour of workmen not in a trade union. free-living
1 indulgence in pleasures, esp. that of eating. 2 Biol. living
freely and independently; not attached to a substrate. free
love sexual relations according to choice and unrestricted by
marriage. free market a market in which prices are determined
by unrestricted competition. free on board (or rail) without
charge for delivery to a ship or railway wagon. free pass an
authorization of free admission, travel, etc. free port 1 a
port area where goods in transit are exempt from customs duty.
2 a port open to all traders. free radical Chem. an unchanged
atom or group of atoms with one or more unpaired electrons.
free-range esp. Brit. (of hens etc.) kept in natural
conditions with freedom of movement. free rein see REIN. free
school 1 a school for which no fees are charged. 2 a school run
on the basis of freedom from restriction for the pupils. free
speech the right to express opinions freely. free-spoken
speaking candidly; not concealing one's opinions. free-standing
not supported by another structure. free trade international
trade left to its natural course without restriction on imports
or exports. free verse = VERS LIBRE. free vote a Parliamentary
vote not subject to party discipline. free wheel the driving
wheel of a bicycle, able to revolve with the pedals at rest.
free-wheel v.intr. 1 ride a bicycle with the pedals at rest,
esp. downhill. 2 move or act without constraint or effort.
free will 1 the power of acting without the constraint of
necessity or fate. 2 the ability to act at one's own discretion
(I did it of my own free will). free world esp. US the
non-Communist countries. ЬЬfreely adv. freeness n. [OE freo,
freon f. Gmc]
-free comb. form free of or from (duty-free; fancy-free).
freebase n. & v. sl. --n. cocaine that has been purified by heating
with ether, and is taken by inhaling the fumes or smoking the
residue. --v.tr. purify (cocaine) for smoking or inhaling.
freebie n. esp. US colloq. a thing provided free of charge.
[arbitrary f. FREE]
freeboard n. the part of a ship's side between the water-line and the
n. a pirate or lawless adventurer. ЬЬfreeboot v.intr. [Du.
vrijbuiter (as FREE, BOOTY): cf. FILIBUSTER]
freedman n. (pl. -men) an emancipated slave.
freedom n. 1 the condition of being free or unrestricted. 2 personal
or civic liberty; absence of slave status. 3 the power of
self-determination; independence of fate or necessity. 4 the
state of being free to act (often foll. by to + infin. : we
have the freedom to leave). 5 frankness, outspokenness; undue
familiarity. 6 (foll. by from) the condition of being exempt
from or not subject to (a defect, burden, etc.). 7 (foll. by
of) a full or honorary participation in (membership, privileges,
etc.). b unrestricted use of (facilities etc.). 8 a privilege
possessed by a city or corporation. 9 facility or ease in
action. 10 boldness of conception. Ьthe four freedoms freedom
of speech and religion, and freedom from fear and want. freedom
fighter a person who takes part in violent resistance to an
established political system etc. [OE freodom (as FREE, -DOM)]
freehand adj. & adv. --adj. (of a drawing or plan etc.) done by hand
without special instruments or guides. --adv. in a freehand
freehold n. & adj. --n. 1 tenure of land or property in fee simple or
fee tail or for life. 2 land or property or an office held by
such tenure. --adj. held by or having the status of freehold.
freelance n., v., & adv. --n. 1 a (also freelancer) a person, usu.
self-employed, offering services on a temporary basis, esp. to
several businesses etc. for particular assignments. b (attrib.)
(a freelance editor). 2 (usu. free lance) hist. a medieval
mercenary. --v.intr. act as a freelance. --adv. as a
freelance. [19th c.: orig. in sense 2 of n.]
n. US sl. a person who eats or drinks at others' expense; a
sponger. ЬЬfreeload v.intr.
freeman n. (pl. -men) 1 a person who has the freedom of a city,
company, etc. 2 a person who is not a slave or serf.
n. a hermaphrodite or imperfect female calf of oppositely sexed
twins. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
Freemason n. a member of an international fraternity for mutual help and
fellowship (the Free and Accepted Masons), with elaborate secret
n. 1 the system and institutions of the Freemasons. 2
(freemasonry) instinctive sympathy or understanding.
freepost n. a system of sending business post in envelopes prepaid by
freer compar. of FREE.
freesia n. any bulbous plant of the genus Freesia, native to Africa,
having fragrant coloured flowers. [mod.L f. F. H. T. Freese,
Ger. physician d. 1876]
freest superl. of FREE.
freestone n. 1 any fine-grained stone which can be cut easily, esp.
sandstone or limestone. 2 a stone-fruit, esp. a peach, in which
the stone is loose when the fruit is ripe (cf. CLINGSTONE).
freestyle adj. (of a race or contest) in which all styles are allowed,
esp.: 1 Swimming in which any stroke may be used. 2 Wrestling
with few restrictions on the holds permitted.
n. a person who rejects dogma or authority, esp. in religious
belief. ЬЬfreethinking n. & adj.
freeway n. US 1 an express highway, esp. with controlled access. 2 a
freeze v. & n. --v. (past froze; past part. frozen) 1 tr. & intr. a
turn or be turned into ice or another solid by cold. b (often
foll. by over, up) make or become rigid or solid as a result of
the cold. 2 intr. be or feel very cold. 3 tr. & intr. cover or
become covered with ice. 4 intr. (foll. by to, together) adhere
or be fastened by frost (the curtains froze to the window). 5
tr. preserve (food) by refrigeration below freezing-point. 6
tr. & intr. a make or become motionless or powerless through
fear, surprise, etc. b react or cause to react with sudden
aloofness or detachment. 7 tr. stiffen or harden, injure or
kill, by chilling (frozen to death). 8 tr. make (credits,
assets, etc.) temporarily or permanently unrealizable. 9 tr.
fix or stabilize (prices, wages, etc.) at a certain level. 10
tr. arrest (an action) at a certain stage of development. 11
tr. arrest (a movement in a film) by repeating a frame or
stopping the film at a frame. --n. 1 a state of frost; a
period or the coming of frost or very cold weather. 2 the
fixing or stabilization of prices, wages, etc. 3 a film-shot in
which movement is arrested by the repetition of a frame.
Ьfreeze-dry (-dries, -dried) freeze and dry by the sublimation
of ice in a high vacuum. freeze-frame = sense 3 of n. freeze
on to colloq. take or keep tight hold of. freeze out US
colloq. exclude from business, society, etc. by competition or
boycott etc. freeze up obstruct or be obstructed by the
formation of ice. freeze-up n. a period or conditions of
extreme cold. freezing-mixture salt and snow or some other
mixture used to freeze liquids. freezing-point the temperature
at which a liquid, esp. water, freezes. freezing works Austral.
& NZ a place where animals are slaughtered and carcasses frozen
for export. frozen mitt colloq. a cool reception. ЬЬfreezable
adj. frozenly adv. [OE freosan f. Gmc]
freezer n. a refrigerated cabinet or room for preserving food at very
low temperatures; = DEEP-FREEZE n.
freight n. & v. --n. 1 the transport of goods in containers or by
water or air or US by land. 2 goods transported; cargo. 3 a
charge for transportation of goods. 4 the hire of a ship or
aircraft for transporting goods. 5 a load or burden. --v.tr.
1 transport (goods) as freight. 2 load with freight. 3 hire or
let out (a ship) for the carriage of goods and passengers.
Ьfreight ton see TON(1). [MDu., MLG vrecht var. of vracht: cf.
n. 1 a the transportation of freight. b the cost of this. 2
freighter n. 1 a ship or aircraft designed to carry freight. 2 US a
wagon for freight. 3 a person who loads or charters and loads a
ship. 4 a person who consigns goods for carriage inland. 5 a
person whose business is to receive and forward freight.
n. a train carrying goods in containers.
French adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to France or its people or
language. 2 having the characteristics attributed to the French
people. --n. 1 the language of France, also used in Belgium,
Switzerland, Canada, and elsewhere. 2 (the French) (pl.) the
people of France. 3 colloq. bad language (excuse my French). 4
colloq. dry vermouth (gin and French). ЬFrench bean Brit. 1 a
beanplant, Phaseolus vulgaris, having many varieties cultivated
for their pods and seeds. 2 a the pod used as food. b the seed
used as food: also called HARICOT, kidney bean. French bread
white bread in a long crisp loaf. French Canadian n. a
Canadian whose principal language is French. --adj. of or
relating to French-speaking Canadians. French chalk a kind of
steatite used for marking cloth and removing grease and as a dry
lubricant. French cricket an informal type of cricket without
stumps and played with a soft ball. French cuff a cuff of
double thickness. French curve a template used for drawing
curved lines. French door = French window. French dressing a
salad dressing of vinegar and oil, usu. seasoned. French fried
potatoes (US French fries) potato chips. French horn a coiled
brass wind instrument with a wide bell. French kiss a kiss with
one partner's tongue inserted in the other's mouth. French
knickers wide-legged knickers. French leave absence without
permission. French letter Brit. colloq. a condom. French
mustard Brit. a mild mustard mixed with vinegar. French polish
shellac polish for wood. French-polish v.tr. polish with this.
French roof a mansard. French seam a seam with the raw edges
enclosed. French toast 1 Brit. bread buttered on one side and
toasted on the other. 2 bread dipped in egg and milk and fried.
French vermouth dry vermouth. French window a glazed door in an
outside wall, serving as a window and door. ЬЬFrenchness n.
[OE frencisc f. Gmc]
Frenchify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (usu. as Frenchified adj.) make French in
form, character, or manners.
Frenchman n. (pl. -men) a man who is French by birth or descent.
n. (pl. -women) a woman who is French by birth or descent.
frenetic adj. 1 frantic, frenzied. 2 fanatic. ЬЬfrenetically adv. [ME
f. OF frenetique f. L phreneticus f. Gk phrenitikos f.
phrenitis delirium f. phren phrenos mind]
frenulum var. of FRAENULUM.
frenum var. of FRAENUM.
frenzy n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 mental derangement; wild excitement
or agitation. 2 delirious fury. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (usu. as
frenzied adj.) drive to frenzy; infuriate. ЬЬfrenziedly adv.
[ME f. OF frenesie f. med.L phrenesia f. L phrenesis f. Gk phren
Freon n. propr. any of a group of halogenated hydrocarbons
containing fluorine, chlorine, and sometimes bromine, used in
aerosols, refrigerants, etc. (see also CFC).
frequency n. (pl. -ies) 1 commonness of occurrence. 2 a the state of
being frequent; frequent occurrence. b the process of being
repeated at short intervals. 3 Physics the rate of recurrence
of a vibration, oscillation, cycle, etc.; the number of
repetitions in a given time, esp. per second. °Abbr.: f. 4
Statistics the ratio of the number of actual to possible
occurrences of an event. Ьfrequency band Electronics = BAND(1)
3a. frequency distribution Statistics a measurement of the
frequency of occurrence of the values of a variable. frequency
modulation Electronics a modulation in which the frequency of
the carrier wave is varied. °Abbr.: FM. frequency response
Electronics the dependence on signal-frequency of the
output-input ratio of an amplifier etc. [L frequentia (as
frequent adj. & v. --adj. 1 occurring often or in close succession. 2
habitual, constant (a frequent caller). 3 found near together;
numerous, abundant. 4 (of the pulse) rapid. --v.tr. attend or
go to habitually. ЬЬfrequentation n. frequenter n. frequently
adv. [F fr‚quent or L frequens -entis crowded]
adj. & n. Gram. --adj. expressing frequent repetition or
intensity of action. --n. a verb or verbal form or conjugation
expressing this (e.g. chatter, twinkle). [F fr‚quentatif -ive
or L frequentativus (as FREQUENT)]
fresco n. (pl. -os or -oes) 1 a painting done in water-colour on a
wall or ceiling while the plaster is still wet. 2 this method
of painting (esp. in fresco). Ьfresco secco = SECCO.
ЬЬfrescoed adj. [It., = cool, fresh]
fresh adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 newly made or obtained (fresh
sandwiches). 2 a other, different; not previously known or used
(start a fresh page; we need fresh ideas). b additional (fresh
supplies). 3 (foll. by from) lately arrived from (a specified
place or situation). 4 not stale or musty or faded (fresh
flowers; fresh memories). 5 (of food) not preserved by salting,
tinning, freezing, etc. 6 not salty (fresh water). 7 a pure,
untainted, refreshing, invigorating (fresh air). b bright and
pure in colour (a fresh complexion). 8 (of the wind) brisk; of
fair strength. 9 alert, vigorous, fit (never felt fresher). 10
colloq. a cheeky, presumptuous. b amorously impudent. 11
young and inexperienced. --adv. newly, recently (esp. in comb.
: fresh-baked; fresh-cut). --n. the fresh part of the day,
year, etc. (in the fresh of the morning). ЬЬfreshly adv.
freshness n. [ME f. OF freis fresche ult. f. Gmc]
freshen v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become fresh or fresher. 2 intr. &
tr. (foll. by up) a wash, change one's clothes, etc. b revive,
fresher n. Brit. colloq. = FRESHMAN.
freshet n. 1 a rush of fresh water flowing into the sea. 2 the flood
of a river from heavy rain or melted snow. [prob. f. OF
freschete f. frais FRESH]
freshman n. (pl. -men) a first-year student at university or US at high
adj. 1 of or found in fresh water; not of the sea. 2 US (esp.
of a school or college) rustic or provincial. Ьfreshwater flea
fret(1) v. & n. --v. (fretted, fretting) 1 intr. a be greatly and
visibly worried or distressed. b be irritated or resentful. 2
tr. a cause anxiety or distress to. b irritate, annoy. 3 tr.
wear or consume by gnawing or rubbing. 4 tr. form (a channel or
passage) by wearing away. 5 intr. (of running water) flow or
rise in little waves. --n. irritation, vexation, querulousness
(esp. in a fret). [OE fretan f. Gmc, rel. to EAT]
fret(2) n. & v. --n. 1 an ornamental pattern made of continuous
combinations of straight lines joined usu. at right angles. 2
Heraldry a device of narrow bands and a diamond interlaced.
--v.tr. (fretted, fretting) 1 embellish or decorate with a
fret. 2 adorn (esp. a ceiling) with carved or embossed work.
[ME f. OF frete trellis-work and freter (v.)]
fret(3) n. each of a sequence of bars or ridges on the finger-board of
some stringed musical instruments (esp. the guitar) fixing the
positions of the fingers to produce the desired notes.
ЬЬfretless adj. [15th c.: orig. unkn.]
fretful adj. visibly anxious, distressed, or irritated. ЬЬfretfully
adv. fretfulness n.
fretsaw n. a saw consisting of a narrow blade stretched on a frame, for
cutting thin wood in patterns.
fretwork n. ornamental work in wood, done with a fretsaw.
Freudian adj. & n. Psychol. --adj. of or relating to the Austrian
psychologist Sigmund Freud (d. 1939) or his methods of
psychoanalysis, esp. with reference to the importance of
sexuality in human behaviour. --n. a follower of Freud or his
methods. ЬFreudian slip an unintentional error regarded as
revealing subconscious feelings. ЬЬFreudianism n.
Fri. abbr. Friday.
friable adj. easily crumbled. ЬЬfriability n. friableness n. [F
friable or L friabilis f. friare crumble]
friar n. a member of any of certain religious orders of men, esp. the
four mendicant orders (Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and
Franciscans). Ьfriar's (or friars') balsam a tincture of
benzoin etc. used esp. as an inhalant. ЬЬfriarly adj. [ME & OF
frere f. L frater fratris brother]
friary n. (pl. -ies) a convent of friars.
n. & v. --n. (pl. fricandeaux) 1 a cushion-shaped piece of
meat, esp. veal, cut from the leg. 2 a dish made from this,
usu. fried or stewed and served with a sauce. --v.tr.
(fricandeaus, fricandeaued, fricandeauing) make into
fricassee n. & v. --n. a dish of stewed or fried pieces of meat served in
a thick white sauce. --v.tr. (fricassees, fricasseed) make a
fricassee of. [F, fem. past part. of fricasser (v.)]
fricative adj. & n. Phonet. --adj. made by the friction of breath in a
narrow opening. --n. a consonant made in this way, e.g. f and
th. [mod.L fricativus f. L fricare rub]
friction n. 1 the action of one object rubbing against another. 2 the
resistance an object encounters in moving over another. 3 a
clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions; mutual animosity
arising from disagreement. 4 (in comb.) of devices that
transmit motion by frictional contact (friction-clutch;
friction-disc). Ьfriction-ball a ball used in bearings to
lessen friction. ЬЬfrictional adj. frictionless adj. [F f. L
frictio -onis f. fricare frict- rub]
Friday n. & adv. --n. the sixth day of the week, following Thursday.
--adv. colloq. 1 on Friday. 2 (Fridays) on Fridays; each
Friday. Ьgirl (or man) Friday a helper or follower (after Man
Friday in Defoe's Robinson Crusoe). [OE friged‘g f. Gmc (named
after Frigg the wife of Odin)]
fridge n. Brit. colloq. = REFRIGERATOR. Ьfridge-freezer an upright
unit comprising a refrigerator and a freezer, each
friend n. & v. --n. 1 a person with whom one enjoys mutual affection
and regard (usu. exclusive of sexual or family bonds). 2 a
sympathizer, helper, or patron (no friend to virtue; a friend of
order). 3 a person who is not an enemy or who is on the same
side (friend or foe?). 4 a a person already mentioned or under
discussion (my friend at the next table then left the room). b
a person known by sight. c used as a polite or ironic form of
address. 5 (usu. in pl.) a regular contributor of money or
other assistance to an institution. 6 (Friend) a member of the
Society of Friends, a Quaker. 7 (in pl.) one's near relatives,
those responsible for one. 8 a helpful thing or quality.
--v.tr. archaic or poet. befriend, help. Ьbe (or keep) friends
with be friendly with. friend at court a friend whose influence
may be made use of. my honourable friend Brit. used in the
House of Commons to refer to another member of one's own party.
my learned friend used by a lawyer in court to refer to another
lawyer. my noble friend Brit. used in the House of Lords to
refer to another member of one's own party. ЬЬfriended adj.
friendless adj. [OE freond f. Gmc]
friendly adj., n., & adv. --adj. (friendlier, friendliest) 1 acting as
or like a friend, well-disposed, kindly. 2 a (often foll. by
with) on amicable terms. b not hostile. 3 characteristic of
friends, showing or prompted by kindness. 4 favourably
disposed, ready to approve or help. 5 a (of a thing)
serviceable, convenient, opportune. b = user-friendly. --n.
(pl. -ies) = friendly match. --adv. in a friendly manner.
Ьfriendly action Law an action brought merely to get a point
decided. friendly match a match played for enjoyment and not in
competition for a cup etc. Friendly Society Brit. = benefit
society. ЬЬfriendlily adv. friendliness n.
n. 1 being friends, the relationship between friends. 2 a
friendly disposition felt or shown. [OE freondscipe (as FRIEND,
frier var. of FRYER.
Friesian n. & adj. Brit. --n. 1 a large animal of a usu. black and
white breed of dairy cattle orig. from Friesland. 2 this breed.
--adj. of or concerning Friesians. [var. of FRISIAN]
frieze(1) n. 1 the part of an entablature between the architrave and the
cornice. 2 a horizontal band of sculpture filling this. 3 a
band of decoration elsewhere, esp. along a wall near the
ceiling. [F frise f. med.L frisium, frigium f. L Phrygium
(opus) (work) of Phrygia]
frieze(2) n. coarse woollen cloth with a nap, usu. on one side only. [ME
f. F frise, prob. rel. to FRISIAN]
frig(1) v. & n. coarse sl. °Usually considered a taboo word. --v.
(frigged, frigging) 1 a tr. & intr. have sexual intercourse
(with). b masturbate. 2 tr. (usu. as an exclamation) = FUCK v.
3. 3 intr. (foll. by about, around) mess about; fool around. 4
intr. (foll. by off) go away. --n. an act of frigging. [perh.
imit.: orig. senses 'move about, rub']
frig(2) n. Brit. colloq. = REFRIGERATOR. [abbr.]
frigate n. 1 a Brit. a naval escort-vessel between a corvette and a
destroyer in size. b US a similar ship between a destroyer and
a cruiser in size. 2 hist. a warship next in size to ships of
the line. Ьfrigate-bird any marine bird of the family
Fregatidae, found in tropical seas, with a wide wingspan and
deeply forked tail: also called hurricane-bird. [F fr‚gate f.
It. fregata, of unkn. orig.]
fright n. & v. --n. 1 a sudden or extreme fear. b an instance of
this (gave me a fright). 2 a person or thing looking grotesque
or ridiculous. --v.tr. poet. frighten. Ьtake fright become
frightened. [OE fryhto, metathetic form of fyrhto, f. Gmc]
frighten v.tr. 1 fill with fright; terrify (was frightened at the bang;
is frightened of dogs). 2 (foll. by away, off, out of, into)
drive or force by fright (frightened it out of the room;
frightened them into submission; frightened me into agreeing).
ЬЬfrightening adj. frighteningly adv.
n. a person or thing that frightens. Ьput the frighteners on
frightful adj. 1 a dreadful, shocking, revolting. b ugly, hideous. 2
colloq. extremely bad (a frightful idea). 3 colloq. very great,
extreme. ЬЬfrightfully adv.
n. 1 being frightful. 2 (transl. G Schrecklichkeit) the
terrorizing of a civilian population as a military resource.
frigid adj. 1 a lacking friendliness or enthusiasm; apathetic, formal,
forced. b dull, flat, insipid. c chilling, depressing. 2 (of
a woman) sexually unresponsive. 3 (esp. of climate or air)
cold. Ьfrigid zones the parts of the earth north of the Arctic
Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle. ЬЬfrigidity n.
frigidly adv. frigidness n. [L frigidus f. frigere be cold f.
frigus (n.) cold]
frijoles n.pl. beans. [Sp., pl. of frijol bean ult. f. L phaseolus]
frill n. & v. --n. 1 a a strip of material with one side gathered or
pleated and the other left loose with a fluted appearance, used
as an ornamental edging. b a similar paper ornament on a
ham-knuckle, chop, etc. c a natural fringe of feathers, hair,
etc., on an animal (esp. a bird) or a plant. 2 (in pl.) a
unnecessary embellishments or accomplishments. b airs,
affectation (put on frills). --v.tr. 1 decorate with a frill.
2 form into a frill. Ьfrill (or frilled) lizard a large N.
Australian lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii, with an erectile
membrane round the neck. ЬЬfrilled adj. frillery n. [16th c.:
frilling n. 1 a set of frills. 2 material for frills.
frilly adj. & n. --adj. (frillier, frilliest) 1 having a frill or
frills. 2 resembling a frill. --n. (pl. -ies) (in pl.)
colloq. frilled underwear. ЬЬfrilliness n.
fringe n. & v. --n. 1 a an ornamental bordering of threads left loose
or formed into tassels or twists. b such a bordering made
separately. c any border or edging. 2 a a portion of the front
hair hanging over the forehead. b a natural border of hair etc.
in an animal or plant. 3 an outer edge or margin; the outer
limit of an area, population, etc. (often attrib. : fringe
theatre). 4 a thing, part, or area of secondary or minor
importance. 5 a a band of contrasting brightness or darkness
produced by diffraction or interference of light. b a strip of
false colour in an optical image. 6 US a fringe benefit.
--v.tr. 1 adorn or encircle with a fringe. 2 serve as a fringe
to. Ьfringe benefit an employee's benefit supplementing a money
wage or salary. fringe medicine systems of treatment of disease
etc. not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession.
fringing reef a coral reef that fringes the shore. ЬЬfringeless
adj. fringy adj. [ME & OF frenge ult. f. LL fimbria (earlier
only in pl.) fibres, fringe]
fringing n. material for a fringe or fringes.
frippery n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 showy, tawdry, or unnecessary
finery or ornament, esp. in dress. 2 empty display in speech,
literary style, etc. 3 a knick-knacks, trifles. b a
knick-knack or trifle. --adj. 1 frivolous. 2 contemptible.
[F friperie f. OF freperie f. frepe rag]
frippet n. sl. a frivolous or showy young woman. [20th c.: orig.
Frisbee n. propr. a concave plastic disc for skimming through the air
as an outdoor game. [perh. f. Frisbie bakery (Bridgeport,
Conn.), whose pie-tins could be used similarly]
Frisian adj. & n. --adj. of Friesland (an area comprising the NW
Netherlands and adjacent islands). --n. 1 a native or
inhabitant of Friesland. 2 the language of Friesland. [L
Frisii pl. f. OFris. Frisa, Fresa]
frisk v. & n. --v. 1 intr. leap or skip playfully. 2 tr. sl. feel
over or search (a person) for a weapon etc. (usu. rapidly).
--n. 1 a playful leap or skip. 2 sl. the frisking of a person.
ЬЬfrisker n. [obs. frisk (adj.) f. OF frisque lively, of unkn.
frisket n. Printing a thin iron frame keeping the sheet in position
during printing on a hand-press. [F frisquette f. Prov.
frisqueto f. Sp. frasqueta]
frisky adj. (friskier, friskiest) lively, playful. ЬЬfriskily adv.
frisson n. an emotional thrill. [F, = shiver]
frit n. & v. --n. 1 a calcined mixture of sand and fluxes as
material for glass-making. 2 a vitreous composition from which
soft porcelain, enamel, etc., are made. --v.tr. (fritted,
fritting) make into frit, partially fuse, calcine. [It. fritta
fem. past part. of friggere FRY(1)]
frit-fly n. (pl. -flies) a small fly, Oscinella frit, of which the
larvae are destructive to cereals. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
frith var. of FIRTH.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 any liliaceous plant of the genus Fritillaria,
esp. snake's head, having pendent bell-like flowers. 2 any of
various butterflies, esp. of the genus Argynnis, having
red-brown wings chequered with black. [mod.L fritillaria f. L
v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by away) waste (money, time, energy, etc.)
triflingly, indiscriminately, or on divided aims. 2 archaic
subdivide. [obs. n. fritter(s) fragments = obs. fitters
(n.pl.), perh. rel. to MHG vetze rag]
n. a piece of fruit, meat, etc., coated in batter and
deep-fried (apple fritter). [ME f. OF friture ult. f. L frigere
n. a mixed grill. [It., = mixed fry]
fritz n. Ьon the fritz US sl. out of order, unsatisfactory. [20th
c.: orig. unkn.]
frivol v. (frivolled, frivolling; US frivoled, frivoling) 1 intr. be a
trifler; trifle. 2 tr. (foll. by away) spend (money or time)
foolishly. [back-form. f. FRIVOLOUS]
frivolous adj. 1 paltry, trifling, trumpery. 2 lacking seriousness;
given to trifling; silly. ЬЬfrivolity n. (pl. -ies).
frivolously adv. frivolousness n. [L frivolus silly, trifling]
frizz v. & n. --v.tr. 1 form (hair) into a mass of small curls. 2
dress (wash-leather etc.) with pumice or a scraping-knife. --n.
1 a frizzed hair. b a row of curls. 2 a frizzed state. [F
friser, perh. f. the stem of frire FRY(1)]
v.intr. & tr. 1 fry, toast, or grill, with a sputtering noise.
2 (often foll. by up) burn or shrivel. [frizz (in the same
sense) f. FRY(1), with imit. ending + -LE(4)]
v. & n. --v. 1 tr. form (hair) into tight curls. 2 intr.
(often foll. by up) (of hair etc.) curl tightly. --n. frizzled
hair. [16th c.: orig. unkn. (earlier than FRIZZ)]
frizzly adj. in tight curls.
frizzy adj. (frizzier, frizziest) in a mass of small curls.
Frl. abbr. Fr„ulein.
fro adv. back (now only in to and fro: see TO). [ME f. ON fr
frock n. & v. --n. 1 a woman's or girl's dress. 2 a a monk's or
priest's long gown with loose sleeves. b priestly office. 3 a
smock. 4 a a frock-coat. b a military coat of similar shape.
5 a sailor's woollen jersey. --v.tr. invest with priestly
office (cf. UNFROCK). Ьfrock-coat a man's long-skirted coat
not cut away in front. [ME f. OF froc f. Frank.]
froe n. (also frow) US a cleaving tool with a handle at right angles
to the blade. [abbr. of frower f. FROWARD 'turned away']
n. a system of education of children by means of kindergartens.
ЬЬFroebelian adj. Froebelism n. [F. W. A. Fr”bel, Ger.
teacher d. 1852]
frog(1) n. 1 any of various small amphibians of the order Anura, having
a tailless smooth-skinned body with legs developed for jumping.
2 (Frog) Brit. sl. offens. a Frenchman. 3 a hollow in the top
face of a brick for holding the mortar. 4 the nut of a
violin-bow etc. Ьfrog-fish = angler-fish. frog in the (or
one's) throat colloq. hoarseness. frog-spawn the spawn of a
frog. [OE frogga f. Gmc]
frog(2) n. an elastic horny substance in the sole of a horse's foot.
[17th c.: orig. uncert. (perh. a use of FROG(1))]
frog(3) n. 1 an ornamental coat-fastening of a spindle-shaped button
and loop. 2 an attachment to a waist-belt to support a sword,
bayonet, etc. ЬЬfrogged adj. frogging n. [18th c.: orig.
frog(4) n. a grooved piece of iron at a place in a railway where tracks
cross. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
froggy adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or like a frog or frogs. 2 a cold as a
frog. b abounding in frogs. 3 Brit. sl. offens. French.
--n. (Froggy) (pl. -ies) sl. derog. a Frenchman.
n. any jumping insect of the family Cercopidae, sucking sap and
as larvae producing a protective mass of froth (see
frogman n. (pl. -men) a person equipped with a rubber suit, flippers,
and an oxygen supply for underwater swimming.
frogmarch v. & n. esp. Brit. --v.tr. 1 hustle (a person) forward
holding and pinning the arms from behind. 2 carry (a person) in
a frogmarch. --n. the carrying of a person face downwards by
four others each holding a limb.
frogmouth n. any of various birds of Australia and SE Asia, esp. of the
family Podargidae, having large wide mouths.
frolic v., n., & adj. --v.intr. (frolicked, frolicking) play about
cheerfully, gambol. --n. 1 cheerful play. 2 a prank. 3 a
merry party. 4 an outburst of gaiety. 5 merriment. --adj.
archaic 1 full of pranks, sportive. 2 joyous, mirthful.
ЬЬfrolicker n. [Du. vrolijk (adj.) f. vro glad + -lijk
adj. merry, playful. ЬЬfrolicsomely adv. frolicsomeness n.
from prep. expressing separation or origin, followed by: 1 a person,
place, time, etc., that is the starting-point of motion or
action, or of extent in place or time (rain comes from the
clouds; repeated from mouth to mouth; dinner is served from 8;
from start to finish). 2 a place, object, etc. whose distance
or remoteness is reckoned or stated (ten miles from Rome; I am
far from admitting it; absent from home; apart from its moral
aspect). 3 a a source (dig gravel from a pit; a man from Italy;
draw a conclusion from premisses; quotations from Shaw). b a
giver or sender (presents from Father Christmas; have not heard
from her). 4 a a thing or person avoided, escaped, lost, etc.
(released him from prison; cannot refrain from laughing;
dissuaded from folly). b a person or thing deprived (took his
gun from him). 5 a reason, cause, or motive (died from fatigue;
suffering from mumps; did it from jealousy; from his looks you
might not believe it). 6 a thing distinguished or unlike (know
black from white). 7 a lower limit (saw from 10 to 20 boats;
tickets from њ5). 8 a state changed for another (from being the
victim he became the attacker; raised the penalty from a fine to
imprisonment). 9 an adverb or preposition of time or place
(from long ago; from abroad; from under the bed). 10 the
position of a person who observes or considers (saw it from the
roof; from his point of view). 11 a model (painted it from
nature). Ьfrom a child since childhood. from day to day (or
hour to hour etc.) daily (or hourly etc.); as the days (or hours
etc.) pass. from home out, away. from now on henceforward.
from time to time occasionally. from year to year each year; as
the years pass. [OE fram, from f. Gmc]
frond n. 1 Bot. a a large usu. divided foliage leaf in various
flowerless plants, esp. ferns and palms. b the leaflike thallus
of some algae. 2 Zool. a leaflike expansion. ЬЬfrondage n.
frondose adj. [L frons frondis leaf]
frondeur n. a political rebel. [F, = slinger, applied to a party (the
Fronde) rebelling during the minority of Louis XIV of France]
front n., adj., & v. --n. 1 the side or part normally nearer or
towards the spectator or the direction of motion (the front of
the car; the front of the chair; the front of the mouth). 2 any
face of a building, esp. that of the main entrance. 3 Mil. a
the foremost line or part of an army etc. b line of battle. c
the part of the ground towards a real or imaginary enemy. d a
scene of actual fighting (go to the front). e the direction in
which a formed line faces (change front). 4 a a sector of
activity regarded as resembling a military front. b an
organized political group. 5 a demeanour, bearing (show a bold
front). b outward appearance. 6 a forward or conspicuous
position (come to the front). 7 a a bluff. b a pretext. 8 a
person etc. serving to cover subversive or illegal activities.
9 (prec. by the) the promenade of a seaside resort. 10
Meteorol. the forward edge of an advancing mass of cold or warm
air. 11 (prec. by the) the auditorium of a theatre. 12 a a
face. b poet. or rhet. a forehead. 13 a the breast of a man's
shirt. b a false shirt-front. 14 impudence. --attrib.adj. 1
of the front. 2 situated in front. 3 Phonet. formed at the
front of the mouth. --v. 1 intr. (foll. by on, to, towards,
upon) have the front facing or directed. 2 intr. (foll. by for)
sl. act as a front or cover for. 3 tr. furnish with a front
(fronted with stone). 4 tr. lead (a band). 5 tr. a stand
opposite to, front towards. b have its front on the side of (a
street etc.). 6 tr. archaic confront, meet, oppose. Ьfront
bench Brit. the foremost seats in Parliament, occupied by
leading members of the government and opposition. front-bencher
Brit. such a member. front door 1 the chief entrance of a
house. 2 a chief means of approach or access to a place,
situation, etc. front line Mil. = sense 3 of n. front-line
States countries in Southern Africa bordering on and opposed to
South Africa. front man a person acting as a front or cover.
front matter Printing the title-page, preface, etc. preceding
the text proper. front office a main office, esp. police
headquarters. front page the first page of a newspaper, esp. as
containing important or remarkable news. front passage colloq.
the vagina. front runner 1 the contestant most likely to
succeed. 2 an athlete or horse running best when in the lead.
in front 1 in an advanced position. 2 facing the spectator. in
front of 1 ahead of, in advance of. 2 in the presence of,
confronting. on the front burner see BURNER. ЬЬfrontless adj.
frontward adj. & adv. frontwards adv. [ME f. OF front (n.),
fronter (v.) f. L frons frontis]
frontage n. 1 the front of a building. 2 a land abutting on a street or
on water. b the land between the front of a building and the
road. 3 extent of front (a shop with little frontage). 4 a the
way a thing faces. b outlook. Ьfrontage road US a service
road. ЬЬfrontager n.
adj. 1 a of, at, or on the front (a frontal attack). b of the
front as seen by an onlooker (a frontal view). 2 of the
forehead or front part of the skull (frontal bone). ЬЬfrontally
adv. [mod.L frontalis (as FRONT)]
n. 1 a covering for the front of an altar. 2 the fa‡ade of a
building. [ME f. OF frontel f. L frontale (as FRONT)]
frontier n. 1 a the border between two countries. b the district on
each side of this. 2 the limits of attainment or knowledge in a
subject. 3 US the borders between settled and unsettled
country. ЬЬfrontierless adj. [ME f. AF frounter, OF frontiere
ult. f. L frons frontis FRONT]
n. (pl. -men) a person living in the region of a frontier,
esp. between settled and unsettled country.
n. 1 an illustration facing the title-page of a book or of one
of its divisions. 2 Archit. a the principal face of a
building. b a decorated entrance. c a pediment over a door
etc. [F frontispice or LL frontispicium fa‡ade f. L frons
frontis FRONT + -spicium f. specere look: assim. to PIECE]
frontlet n. 1 a piece of cloth hanging over the upper part of an altar
frontal. 2 a band worn on the forehead. 3 a phylactery. 4 an
animal's forehead. [OF frontelet (as FRONTAL(2))]
fronton n. a pediment. [F f. It. frontone f. fronte forehead]
frore adj. poet. frozen, frosty. [archaic past part. of FREEZE]
frost n. & v. --n. 1 a (also white frost) a white frozen dew coating
esp. the ground at night (windows covered with frost). b a
consistent temperature below freezing-point causing frost to
form. 2 a chilling dispiriting atmosphere. 3 sl. a failure.
--v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by over, up) become covered with
frost. 2 tr. a cover with or as if with frost, powder, etc. b
injure (a plant etc.) with frost. 3 tr. give a roughened or
finely granulated surface to (glass, metal) (frosted glass). 4
tr. US cover or decorate (a cake etc.) with icing. Ьblack
frost a frost without white dew. degrees of frost Brit.
degrees below freezing-point (ten degrees of frost tonight).
frost-work tracery made by frost on glass etc. ЬЬfrostless adj.
[OE f. Gmc]
frostbite n. injury to body tissues, esp. the nose, fingers, or toes, due
to freezing and often resulting in gangrene.
frosting n. 1 US icing. 2 a rough surface on glass etc.
frosty adj. (frostier, frostiest) 1 cold with frost. 2 covered with
or as with hoar-frost. 3 unfriendly in manner, lacking in
warmth of feeling. ЬЬfrostily adv. frostiness n.
froth n. & v. --n. 1 a a collection of small bubbles in liquid,
caused by shaking, fermenting, etc.; foam. b impure matter on
liquid, scum. 2 a idle talk or ideas. b anything unsubstantial
or of little worth. --v. 1 intr. emit or gather froth
(frothing at the mouth). 2 tr. cause (beer etc.) to foam.
Ьfroth-blower Brit. joc. a beer-drinker (esp. as a designation
of a member of a charitable organization). ЬЬfrothily adv.
frothiness n. frothy adj. (frothier, frothiest). [ME f. ON
frotha, frauth f. Gmc]
frottage n. 1 Psychol. an abnormal desire for contact between the
clothed bodies of oneself and another. 2 Art the technique or
process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the
basis of a work of art. [F, = rubbing f. frotter rub f. OF
frou-frou n. a rustling, esp. of a dress. [F, imit.]
frow(1) n. 1 a Dutchwoman. 2 a housewife. [ME f. Du. vrouw woman]
frow(2) var. of FROE.
froward adj. archaic perverse; difficult to deal with. ЬЬfrowardly
adv. frowardness n. [ME f. FRO + -WARD]
frown v. & n. --v. 1 intr. wrinkle one's brows, esp. in displeasure
or deep thought. 2 intr. (foll. by at, on, upon) express
disapproval. 3 intr. (of a thing) present a gloomy aspect. 4
tr. compel with a frown (frowned them into silence). 5 tr.
express (defiance etc.) with a frown. --n. 1 an action of
frowning; a vertically furrowed or wrinkled state of the brow.
2 a look expressing severity, disapproval, or deep thought.
ЬЬfrowner n. frowningly adv. [ME f. OF frongnier, froignier f.
froigne surly look f. Celt.]
frowst n. & v. Brit. colloq. --n. fusty warmth in a room. --v.intr.
stay in or enjoy frowst. ЬЬfrowster n. [back-form. f.
frowsty adj. Brit. (frowstier, frowstiest) fusty, stuffy.
ЬЬfrowstiness n. [var. of FROWZY]
FRS abbr. (in the UK) Fellow of the Royal Society.
FRSE abbr. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
adj. bearing fruit. [L fructifer f. fructus FRUIT]
n. Bot. 1 the process of fructifying. 2 any spore-bearing
structure esp. in ferns, fungi, and mosses. [LL fructificatio
fructify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 intr. bear fruit. 2 tr. make fruitful;
impregnate. [ME f. OF fructifier f. L fructificare f. fructus
fructose n. Chem. a simple sugar found in honey and fruits. Also called
LAEVULOSE, fruit sugar. [L fructus FRUIT + -OSE 2]
fructuous adj. full of or producing fruit. [ME f. OF fructuous or L
fructuosus (as FRUIT)]
frugal adj. 1 (often foll. by of) sparing or economical, esp. as
regards food. 2 sparingly used or supplied, meagre, costing
little. ЬЬfrugality n. frugally adv. frugalness n. [L
frugalis f. frugi economical]
adj. feeding on fruit. [L frux frugis fruit + -VOROUS]
fruit n. & v. --n. 1 a the usu. sweet and fleshy edible product of a
plant or tree, containing seed. b (in sing.) these in quantity
(eats fruit). 2 the seed of a plant or tree with its covering,
e.g. an acorn, pea pod, cherry, etc. 3 (usu. in pl.)
vegetables, grains, etc. used for food (fruits of the earth). 4
(usu. in pl.) the result of action etc., esp. as financial
reward (fruits of his labours). 5 sl. esp. US a male
homosexual. 6 Bibl. an offspring (the fruit of the womb; the
fruit of his loins). --v.intr. & tr. bear or cause to bear
fruit. Ьfruit bar a piece of dried and pressed fruit.
fruit-bat any large bat of the suborder Megachiroptera, feeding
on fruit. fruit- (or fruiting-) body (pl. -ies) the
spore-bearing part of a fungus. fruit cake 1 a cake containing
dried fruit. 2 sl. an eccentric or mad person. fruit cocktail
a finely-chopped usu. tinned fruit salad. fruit fly (pl.
flies) any of various flies, esp. of the genus Drosophila,
having larvae that feed on fruit. fruit machine Brit. a
coin-operated gaming machine giving random combinations of
symbols often representing fruit. fruit salad 1 various fruits
cut up and served in syrup, juice, etc. 2 sl. a display of
medals etc. fruit sugar fructose. fruit-tree a tree grown for
its fruit. fruit-wood the wood of a fruit-tree, esp. when used
in furniture. ЬЬfruitage n. fruited adj. (also in comb.). [ME
f. OF f. L fructus fruit, enjoyment f. frui enjoy]
n. a person who eats only fruit. [FRUIT, after vegetarian]
fruiter n. 1 a tree producing fruit, esp. with reference to its quality
(a poor fruiter). 2 Brit. a fruit grower. 3 a ship carrying
fruit. [ME f. OF fruitier (as FRUIT, -ER(5)): later f. FRUIT +
fruiterer n. esp. Brit. a dealer in fruit.
fruitful adj. 1 producing much fruit; fertile; causing fertility. 2
producing good results, successful; beneficial, remunerative. 3
producing offspring, esp. prolifically. ЬЬfruitfully adv.
fruition n. 1 a the bearing of fruit. b the production of results. 2
the realization of aims or hopes. 3 enjoyment. [ME f. OF f. LL
fruitio -onis f. frui enjoy, erron. assoc. with FRUIT]
fruitless adj. 1 not bearing fruit. 2 useless, unsuccessful,
unprofitable. ЬЬfruitlessly adv. fruitlessness n.
fruitlet n. = DRUPEL.
fruity adj. (fruitier, fruitiest) 1 a of fruit. b tasting or smelling
like fruit, esp. (of wine) tasting of the grape. 2 (of a voice
etc.) of full rich quality. 3 colloq. full of rough humour or
(usu. scandalous) interest; suggestive. ЬЬfruitily adv.
frumenty n. (also furmety) hulled wheat boiled in milk and seasoned with
cinnamon, sugar, etc. [ME f. OF frumentee f. frument f. L
frump n. a dowdy unattractive old-fashioned woman. ЬЬfrumpish adj.
frumpishly adv. [16th c.: perh. f. dial. frumple (v.) wrinkle
f. MDu. verrompelen (as FOR-, RUMPLE)]
frumpy adj. (frumpier, frumpiest) dowdy, unattractive, and
old-fashioned. ЬЬfrumpily adv. frumpiness n.
frustrate v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 make (efforts) ineffective. 2 prevent (a
person) from achieving a purpose. 3 (as frustrated adj.) a
discontented because unable to achieve one's desire. b sexually
unfulfilled. 4 disappoint (a hope). --adj. archaic
frustrated. ЬЬfrustratedly adv. frustrater n. frustrating
adj. frustratingly adv. frustration n. [ME f. L frustrari
frustrat- f. frustra in vain]
frustule n. Bot. the siliceous cell wall of a diatom. [F f. L
frustulum (as FRUSTUM)]
frustum n. (pl. frusta or frustums) Geom. 1 the remainder of a cone
or pyramid whose upper part has been cut off by a plane parallel
to its base. 2 the part of a cone or pyramid intercepted
between two planes. [L, = piece cut off]
adj. Bot. of the nature of a shrub. [irreg. f. L frutex bush]
frutex n. (pl. frutices) Bot. a woody-stemmed plant smaller than a
tree; a shrub. [L frutex fruticis]
fruticose adj. Bot. resembling a shrub. [L fruticosus (as FRUTEX)]
fry(1) v. & n. --v. (fries, fried) 1 tr. & intr. cook or be cooked in
hot fat. 2 tr. & intr. sl. electrocute or be electrocuted. 3
tr. (as fried adj.) sl. drunk. --n. (pl. fries) 1 various
internal parts of animals usu. eaten fried (lamb's fry). 2 a
dish of fried food, esp. meat. 3 US a social gathering to eat
fried food. Ьfrying- (US fry-) pan a shallow pan used in
frying. fry up heat or reheat (food) in a frying-pan. fry-up
n. Brit. colloq. a dish of miscellaneous fried food. out of
the frying-pan into the fire from a bad situation to a worse
one. [ME f. OF frire f. L frigere]
fry(2) n.pl. 1 young or newly hatched fishes. 2 the young of other
creatures produced in large numbers, e.g. bees or frogs. Ьsmall
fry people of little importance; children. [ME f. ON frjў]
fryer n. (also frier) 1 a person who fries. 2 a vessel for frying
esp. fish. 3 US a chicken suitable for frying.
fubsy adj. (fubsier, fubsiest) Brit. fat or squat. [obs. fubs
small fat person + -Y(1)]
fuchsia n. any shrub of the genus Fuchsia, with drooping red or purple
or white flowers. [mod.L f. L. Fuchs, Ger. botanist d. 1566]
fuchsine n. a deep red aniline dye used in the pharmaceutical and
textile-processing industries, rosaniline. [FUCHSIA (from its
resemblance to the colour of the flower)]
fuck v., int., & n. coarse sl. --v. 1 tr. & intr. have sexual
intercourse (with). 2 intr. (foll. by about, around) mess
about; fool around. 3 tr. (usu. as an exclam.) curse, confound
(fuck the thing!). 4 intr. (as fucking adj., adv.) used as an
intensive to express annoyance etc. --int. expressing anger or
annoyance. --n. 1 a an act of sexual intercourse. b a partner
in sexual intercourse. 2 the slightest amount (don't give a
fuck). Ьfuck all nothing. fuck off go away. fuck up make a
mess of. fuck-up n. a mess or muddle. °A highly taboo word.
ЬЬfucker n. (often as a term of abuse). [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
fucus n. (pl. fuci) any seaweed of the genus Fucus, with flat
leathery fronds. ЬЬfucoid adj. [L, = rock-lichen, f. Gk
phukos, of Semitic orig.]
fuddle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. confuse or stupefy, esp. with alcoholic
liquor. 2 intr. tipple, booze. --n. 1 confusion. 2
intoxication. 3 a spell of drinking (on the fuddle). [16th c.:
adj. & n. sl. --adj. old-fashioned or quaintly fussy. --n.
(pl. -ies) a fuddy-duddy person. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
fudge n., v., & int. --n. 1 a soft toffee-like sweet made with milk,
sugar, butter, etc. 2 nonsense. 3 a piece of dishonesty or
faking. 4 a piece of late news inserted in a newspaper page.
--v. 1 tr. put together in a makeshift or dishonest way; fake.
2 tr. deal with incompetently. 3 intr. practise such methods.
--int. expressing disbelief or annoyance. [perh. f. obs. fadge
fuehrer var. of FљHRER.
fuel n. & v. --n. 1 material, esp. coal, wood, oil, etc., burnt or
used as a source of heat or power. 2 food as a source of
energy. 3 material used as a source of nuclear energy. 4
anything that sustains or inflames emotion or passion. --v.
(fuelled, fuelling; US fueled, fueling) 1 tr. supply with fuel.
2 tr. sustain or inflame (an argument, feeling, etc.) (drink
fuelled his anger). 3 intr. take in or get fuel. Ьfuel cell a
cell producing an electric current direct from a chemical
reaction. fuel element an element of nuclear fuel etc. for use
in a reactor. fuel injection the direct introduction of fuel
under pressure into the combustion units of an
internal-combustion engine. fuel oil oil used as fuel in an
engine or furnace. [ME f. AF fuaille, fewaile, OF fouaille,
ult. f. L focus hearth]
fug n. & v. colloq. --n. stuffiness or fustiness of the air in a
room. --v.intr. (fugged, fugging) stay in or enjoy a fug.
ЬЬfuggy adj. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
fugacious adj. literary fleeting, evanescent, hard to capture or keep.
ЬЬfugaciously adv. fugaciousness n. fugacity n. [L fugax
fugacis f. fugere flee]
fugal adj. of the nature of a fugue. ЬЬfugally adv.
-fuge comb. form forming adjectives and nouns denoting expelling or
dispelling (febrifuge; vermifuge). [from or after mod.L - fugus
f. L fugare put to flight]
fugitive adj. & n. --adj. 1 fleeing; that runs or has run away. 2
transient, fleeting; of short duration. 3 (of literature) of
passing interest, ephemeral. 4 flitting, shifting. --n. 1
(often foll. by from) a person who flees, esp. from justice, an
enemy, danger, or a master. 2 an exile or refugee.
ЬЬfugitively adv. [ME f. OF fugitif -ive f. L fugitivus f.
fugere fugit- flee]
fugle v.intr. act as a fugleman. [back-form. f. FUGLEMAN]
fugleman n. (pl. -men) 1 hist. a soldier placed in front of a regiment
etc. while drilling to show the motions and time. 2 a leader,
organizer, or spokesman. [G FlЃgelmann f. FlЃgel wing + Mann
fugue n. & v. --n. 1 Mus. a contrapuntal composition in which a
short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part
and successively taken up by others and developed by
interweaving the parts. 2 Psychol. loss of awareness of one's
identity, often coupled with flight from one's usual
environment. --v.intr. (fugues, fugued, fuguing) Mus. compose
or perform a fugue. ЬЬfuguist n. [F or It. f. L fuga flight]
fugued adj. in the form of a fugue.
fЃhrer n. (also fuehrer) a leader, esp. a tyrannical one. [G, =
leader: part of the title assumed in 1934 by Hitler (see
-ful comb. form forming: 1 adjectives from nouns, meaning: a full of
(beautiful). b having the qualities of (masterful). 2
adjectives from adjectives or Latin stems with little change of
sense (direful; grateful). 3 adjectives from verbs, meaning
'apt to', 'able to', 'accustomed to' (forgetful; mournful;
useful). 4 nouns (pl. -fuls) meaning 'the amount needed to
fill' (handful; spoonful).
fulcrum n. (pl. fulcra or fulcrums) 1 the point against which a lever
is placed to get a purchase or on which it turns or is
supported. 2 the means by which influence etc. is brought to
bear. [L, = post of a couch, f. fulcire to prop]
fulfil v.tr. (US fulfill) (fulfilled, fulfilling) 1 bring to
consummation, carry out (a prophecy or promise). 2 satisfy (a
desire or prayer). 3 a execute, obey (a command or law). b
perform, carry out (a task). 4 comply with (conditions). 5
answer (a purpose). 6 bring to an end, finish, complete (a
period or piece of work). Ьfulfil oneself develop one's gifts
and character to the full. ЬЬfulfillable adj. fulfiller n.
fulfilment n. (US fulfillment). [OE fullfyllan (as FULL(1),
fulgent adj. poet. or rhet. shining, brilliant. [ME f. L fulgere
n. Surgery the destruction of tissue by means of high-voltage
electric sparks. [L fulguratio sheet lightning f. fulgur
fulgurite n. Geol. a rocky substance of sand fused or vitrified by
lightning. [L fulgur lightning]
adj. sooty, dusky. [LL fuliginosus f. fuligo -ginis soot]
full(1) adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. 1 (often foll. by of) holding all
its limits will allow (the bucket is full; full of water). 2
having eaten to one's limits or satisfaction. 3 abundant,
copious, satisfying, sufficient (a full programme of events; led
a full life; turned it to full account; give full details; the
book is very full on this point). 4 (foll. by of) having or
holding an abundance of, showing marked signs of (full of
vitality; full of interest; full of mistakes). 5 (foll. by of)
a engrossed in thinking about (full of himself; full of his
work). b unable to refrain from talking about (full of the
news). 6 a complete, perfect, reaching the specified or usual
or utmost limit (full membership; full daylight; waited a full
hour; it was full summer; in full bloom). b Bookbinding used
for the entire cover (full leather). 7 a (of tone or colour)
deep and clear, mellow. b (of light) intense. c (of motion
etc.) vigorous (a full pulse; at full gallop). 8 plump,
rounded, protuberant (a full figure). 9 (of clothes) made of
much material arranged in folds or gathers. 10 (of the heart
etc.) overcharged with emotion. 11 sl. drunk. 12 (foll. by of)
archaic having had plenty of (full of years and honours).
--adv. 1 very (you know full well). 2 quite, fully (full six
miles; full ripe). 3 exactly (hit him full on the nose). 4
more than sufficiently (full early). --n. 1 height, acme
(season is past the full). 2 the state or time of full moon. 3
the whole (cannot tell you the full of it). --v.intr. & tr. be
or become or make (esp. clothes) full. Ьat full length 1 lying
stretched out. 2 without abridgement. come full circle see
CIRCLE. full age adult status (esp. with ref. to legal rights
and duties). full and by Naut. close-hauled but with sails
filling. full back a defensive player, or a position near the
goal, in football, hockey, etc. full blood pure descent.
full-blooded 1 vigorous, hearty, sensual. 2 not hybrid.
full-bloodedly forcefully, wholeheartedly. full-bloodedness
being full-blooded. full-blown fully developed, complete, (of
flowers) quite open. full board provision of accommodation and
all meals at a hotel etc. full-bodied rich in quality, tone,
etc. full-bottomed (of a wig) long at the back. full brother a
brother born of the same parents. full-cream of or made from
unskimmed milk. full dress formal clothes worn on great
occasions. full-dress adj. (of a debate etc.) of major
importance. full employment 1 the condition in which there is
no idle capital or labour of any kind that is in demand. 2 the
condition in which virtually all who are able and willing to
work are employed. full face with all the face visible to the
spectator. full-fashioned = fully-fashioned. full-fledged
mature. full-frontal 1 (of nudity or a nude figure) with full
exposure at the front. 2 unrestrained, explicit; with nothing
concealed. full-grown having reached maturity. full hand Poker
a hand with three of a kind and a pair. full-hearted full of
feeling; confident, zealous. full-heartedly in a full-hearted
manner. full-heartedness fullness of feeling, ardour, zeal.
full house 1 a maximum or large attendance at a theatre, in
Parliament, etc. 2 = full hand. full-length 1 not shortened or
abbreviated. 2 (of a mirror, portrait, etc.) showing the whole
height of the human figure. full lock see LOCK(1). full marks
the maximum award in an examination, in assessment of a person,
etc. full measure not less than the professed amount. full
moon 1 the moon with its whole disc illuminated. 2 the time
when this occurs. full-mouthed 1 (of cattle or sheep) having a
full set of teeth. 2 (of a dog) baying loudly. 3 (of oratory
etc.) sonorous, vigorous. full out 1 Printing flush with the
margin. 2 at full power. 3 complete. full page an entire page
of a newspaper etc. full pitch = full toss. full point = full
stop 1. full professor a professor of the highest grade in a
university etc. full-scale not reduced in size, complete. full
score Mus. a score giving the parts for all performers on
separate staves. full service a church service performed by a
choir without solos, or performed with music wherever possible.
full sister a sister born of the same parents. full speed (or
steam) ahead! an order to proceed at maximum speed or to pursue
a course of action energetically. full stop 1 a punctuation
mark (.) used at the end of a sentence or an abbreviation. 2 a
complete cessation. full term the completion of a normal
pregnancy. full tilt see TILT. full time 1 the total normal
duration of work etc. 2 the end of a football etc. match.
full-time adj. occupying or using the whole of the available
working time. full-timer a person who does a full-time job.
full toss Cricket n. a ball pitched right up to the batsman.
--adv. without the ball's having touched the ground. full up
colloq. completely full. in full 1 without abridgement. 2 to
or for the full amount (paid in full). in full swing at the
height of activity. in full view entirely visible. on a full
stomach see STOMACH. to the full to the utmost extent. [OE f.
full(2) v.tr. cleanse and thicken (cloth). [ME, back-form. f.
FULLER(1): cf. OF fouler (FOIL(1))]
fuller(1) n. a person who fulls cloth. Ьfuller's earth a type of clay
used in fulling cloth and as an adsorbent. [OE fullere f. L
fuller(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a grooved or rounded tool on which iron is
shaped. 2 a groove made by this esp. in a horseshoe. --v.tr.
stamp with a fuller. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
fullness n. (also fulness) 1 being full. 2 (of sound, colour, etc.)
richness, volume, body. 3 all that is contained (in the world
etc.). Ьthe fullness of the heart emotion, genuine feelings.
the fullness of time the appropriate or destined time.
fully adv. 1 completely, entirely (am fully aware). 2 no less or
fewer than (fully 60). Ьfully-fashioned (of women's clothing)
shaped to fit the body. fully-fledged mature. [OE fullice (as
-fully comb. form forming adverbs corresp. to adjectives in -ful.
fulmar n. any medium-sized sea bird of the genus Fulmarus, with stout
body, robust bill, and rounded tail. [orig. Hebridean dial.:
perh. f. ON fЈll FOUL (with ref. to its smell) + m r gull (cf.
fulminant adj. 1 fulminating. 2 Med. (of a disease or symptom)
developing suddenly. [F fulminant or L fulminant- (as
fulminate v. & n. --v.intr. 1 (often foll. by against) express censure
loudly and forcefully. 2 explode violently; flash like
lightning (fulminating mercury). 3 Med. (of a disease or
symptom) develop suddenly. --n. Chem. a salt or ester of
fulminic acid. ЬЬfulmination n. fulminatory adj. [L fulminare
fulminat- f. fulmen -minis lightning]
n. Chem. an isomer of cyanic acid that is stable only in
solution. °Chem. formula: HONC. [L fulmen: see FULMINATE]
fulness var. of FULLNESS.
fulsome adj. 1 disgusting by excess of flattery, servility, or
expressions of affection; excessive, cloying. 2 disp. copious.
°In fulsome praise, fulsome means 'excessive', not 'generous'.
ЬЬfulsomely adv. fulsomeness n. [ME f. FULL(1) + -SOME(1)]
fumarole n. an opening in or near a volcano, through which hot vapours
emerge. ЬЬfumarolic adj. [F fumarolle]
fumble v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by at, with, for, after) use
the hands awkwardly, grope about. 2 tr. a handle or deal with
clumsily or nervously. b Sport fail to stop (a ball) cleanly.
--n. an act of fumbling. ЬЬfumbler n. fumblingly adv. [LG
fummeln, fommeln, Du. fommelen]
fume n. & v. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) exuded gas or smoke or vapour,
esp. when harmful or unpleasant. 2 a fit of anger (in a fume).
--v. 1 a intr. emit fumes. b tr. give off as fumes. 2 intr.
(often foll. by at) be affected by (esp. suppressed) anger (was
fuming at their inefficiency). 3 tr. a fumigate. b subject to
fumes esp. those of ammonia (to darken tints in oak,
photographic film, etc.). 4 tr. perfume with incense. Ьfume
cupboard (or chamber etc.) a ventilated structure in a
laboratory, for storing or experimenting with noxious chemicals.
ЬЬfumeless adj. fumingly adv. fumy adj. (in sense 1 of n.).
[ME f. OF fum f. L fumus smoke & OF fume f. fumer f. L fumare
fumigate v.tr. 1 disinfect or purify with fumes. 2 apply fumes to.
ЬЬfumigant n. fumigation n. fumigator n. [L fumigare fumigat-
f. fumus smoke]
fumitory n. any plant of the genus Fumaria, esp. F. officinalis,
formerly used against scurvy. [ME f. OF fumeterre f. med.L
fumus terrae earth-smoke]
fun n. & adj. --n. 1 amusement, esp. lively or playful. 2 a
source of this. 3 (in full fun and games) exciting or amusing
goings-on. --adj. disp. colloq. amusing, entertaining,
enjoyable (a fun thing to do). Ьfor fun (or for the fun of it)
not for a serious purpose. fun run colloq. an uncompetitive
run, esp. for sponsored runners in support of a charity. have
fun enjoy oneself. in fun as a joke, not seriously. is great
(or good) fun is very amusing. like fun 1 vigorously, quickly.
2 much. 3 iron. not at all. what fun! how amusing! [obs.
fun (v.) var. of fon befool: cf. FOND]
n. a rope-walker. [F funambule or L funambulus f. funis rope
+ ambulare walk]
function n. & v. --n. 1 a an activity proper to a person or
institution. b a mode of action or activity by which a thing
fulfils its purpose. c an official or professional duty; an
employment, profession, or calling. 2 a a public ceremony or
occasion. b a social gathering, esp. a large, formal, or
important one. 3 Math. a variable quantity regarded in relation
to another or others in terms of which it may be expressed or on
which its value depends (x is a function of y and z). 4 a part
of a program that corresponds to a single value. --v.intr.
fulfil a function, operate; be in working order. ЬЬfunctionless
adj. [F fonction f. L functio -onis f. fungi funct- perform]
adj. 1 of or serving a function. 2 (esp. of buildings)
designed or intended to be practical rather than attractive;
utilitarian. 3 Physiol. a (esp. of disease) of or affecting
only the functions of an organ etc., not structural or organic.
b (of mental disorder) having no discernible organic cause. c
(of an organ) having a function, not functionless or
rudimentary. 4 Math. of a function. Ьfunctional group Chem. a
group of atoms that determine the reactions of a compound
containing the group. ЬЬfunctionality n. functionally adv.
n. belief in or stress on the practical application of a thing.
n. (pl. -ies) a person who has to perform official functions
or duties; an official.
fund n. & v. --n. 1 a permanent stock of something ready to be
drawn upon (a fund of knowledge; a fund of tenderness). 2 a
stock of money, esp. one set apart for a purpose. 3 (in pl.)
money resources. 4 (in pl.; prec. by the) Brit. the stock of
the National Debt (as a mode of investment). --v.tr. 1 provide
with money. 2 convert (a floating debt) into a more or less
permanent debt at fixed interest. 3 put into a fund.
Ьfund-raiser a person who seeks financial support for a cause,
enterprise, etc. fund-raising the seeking of financial support.
in funds colloq. having money to spend. [L fundus bottom,
piece of land]
fundament n. joc. the buttocks. [ME f. OF fondement f. L fundamentum
adj. & n. --adj. of, affecting, or serving as a base or
foundation, essential, primary, original (a fundamental change;
the fundamental rules; the fundamental form). --n. 1 (usu. in
pl.) a fundamental rule, principle, or article. 2 Mus. a
fundamental note or tone. Ьfundamental note Mus. the lowest
note of a chord in its original (uninverted) form. fundamental
particle an elementary particle. fundamental tone Mus. the
tone produced by vibration of the whole of a sonorous body (opp.
HARMONIC). ЬЬfundamentality n. fundamentally adv. [ME f. F
fondamental or LL fundamentalis (as FUNDAMENT)]
n. 1 strict maintenance of traditional Protestant beliefs such
as the inerrancy of Scripture and literal acceptance of the
creeds as fundamentals of Christianity. 2 strict maintenance of
ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion, esp. Islam.
fundus n. (pl. fundi) Anat. the base of a hollow organ; the part
furthest from the opening. [L, = bottom]
funeral n. & adj. --n. 1 a the burial or cremation of a dead person
with its ceremonies. b a burial or cremation procession. c US
a burial or cremation service. 2 sl. one's (usu. unpleasant)
concern (that's your funeral). --attrib.adj. of or used etc. at
a funeral (funeral oration). Ьfuneral director an undertaker.
funeral parlour (US home) an establishment where the dead are
prepared for burial or cremation. funeral pile (or pyre) a pile
of wood etc. on which a corpse is burnt. funeral urn an urn
holding the ashes of a cremated body. [ME f. OF funeraille f.
med.L funeralia neut. pl. of LL funeralis f. L funus -eris
funeral: (adj.) OF f. L funeralis]
funerary adj. of or used at a funeral or funerals. [LL funerarius (as
funereal adj. 1 of or appropriate to a funeral. 2 gloomy, dismal, dark.
ЬЬfunereally adv. [L funereus (as FUNERAL)]
funfair n. Brit. a fair, or part of one, consisting of amusements and
fungi pl. of FUNGUS.
fungible adj. Law (of goods etc. contracted for, when an individual
specimen is not meant) that can serve for, or be replaced by,
another answering to the same definition. ЬЬfungibility n.
[med.L fungibilis f. fungi (vice) serve (in place of)]
fungicide n. a fungus-destroying substance. ЬЬfungicidal adj.
adj. inhibiting the growth of fungi. ЬЬfungistatically adv.
fungoid adj. & n. --adj. 1 resembling a fungus in texture or in rapid
growth. 2 Brit. of a fungus or fungi. --n. a fungoid plant.
fungous adj. 1 having the nature of a fungus. 2 springing up like a
mushroom; transitory. [ME f. L fungosus (as FUNGUS)]
fungus n. (pl. fungi or funguses) 1 any of a group of unicellular,
multicellular, or multinucleate non-photosynthetic organisms
feeding on organic matter, which include moulds, yeast,
mushrooms, and toadstools. 2 anything similar usu. growing
suddenly and rapidly. 3 Med. a spongy morbid growth. 4 sl. a
beard. ЬЬfungal adj. fungiform adj. fungivorous adj. [L,
perh. f. Gk sp(h)oggos SPONGE]
funicular adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a railway, esp. on a mountainside)
operating by cable with ascending and descending cars
counterbalanced. 2 of a rope or its tension. --n. a funicular
railway. [L funiculus f. funis rope]
funk(1) n. & v. sl. --n. 1 fear, panic. 2 a coward. --v. Brit. 1
intr. flinch, shrink, show cowardice. 2 tr. try to evade (an
undertaking), shirk. 3 tr. be afraid of. [18th-c. Oxford sl.:
perh. f. sl. FUNK(2) = tobacco-smoke]
funk(2) n. sl. 1 funky music. 2 US a strong smell. [funk blow smoke
on, perh. f. F dial. funkier f. L (as FUMIGATE)]
funkia n. = HOSTA. [mod.L f. H. C. Funck, Prussian botanist d. 1839]
funky(1) adj. (funkier, funkiest) sl. 1 (esp. of jazz or rock music)
earthy, bluesy, with a heavy rhythmical beat. 2 fashionable. 3
US having a strong smell. ЬЬfunkily adv. funkiness n.
funky(2) adj. (funkier, funkiest) sl. 1 terrified. 2 cowardly.
funnel n. & v. --n. 1 a narrow tube or pipe widening at the top, for
pouring liquid, powder, etc., into a small opening. 2 a metal
chimney on a steam engine or ship. 3 something resembling a
funnel in shape or use. --v.tr. & intr. (funnelled,
funnelling; US funneled, funneling) guide or move through or as
through a funnel. ЬЬfunnel-like adj. [ME f. Prov. fonilh f.
LL fundibulum f. L infundibulum f. infundere (as IN-(2),
n. (pl. -ies) joc. 1 comicality. 2 a comical thing. [FUNNY
funny adj. & n. --adj. (funnier, funniest) 1 amusing, comical. 2
strange, perplexing, hard to account for. 3 colloq. slightly
unwell, eccentric, etc. --n. (pl. -ies) (usu. in pl.) colloq.
1 a comic strip in a newspaper. 2 a joke. Ьfunny-bone the part
of the elbow over which the ulnar nerve passes. funny business
1 sl. misbehaviour or deception. 2 comic behaviour, comedy.
funny-face joc. colloq. an affectionate form of address.
funny farm sl. a mental hospital. funny-ha-ha colloq. = sense
1 of adj. funny man a clown or comedian, esp. a professional.
funny money colloq. inflated currency. funny paper a newspaper
etc. containing humorous matter. funny-peculiar colloq. =
senses 2, 3 of adj. ЬЬfunnily adv. funniness n. [FUN + -Y(1)]
fur n. & v. --n. 1 a the short fine soft hair of certain animals,
distinguished from the longer hair. b the skin of such an
animal with the fur on it; a pelt. 2 a the coat of certain
animals as material for making, trimming, or lining clothes. b
a trimming or lining made of the dressed coat of such animals,
or of material imitating this. c a garment made of or trimmed
or lined with fur. 3 (collect.) furred animals. 4 a a coating
formed on the tongue in sickness. b Brit. a coating formed on
the inside surface of a pipe, kettle, etc., by hard water. c a
crust adhering to a surface, e.g. a deposit from wine. 5
Heraldry a representation of tufts on a plain ground. --v.
(furred, furring) 1 tr. (esp. as furred adj.) a line or trim (a
garment) with fur. b provide (an animal) with fur. c clothe (a
person) with fur. d coat (a tongue, the inside of a kettle)
with fur. 2 intr. (often foll. by up) (of a kettle etc.) become
coated with fur. 3 tr. level (floor-timbers) by inserting
strips of wood. Ьfur and feather game animals and birds.
fur-seal a sea lion with a valuable undercoat. make the fur fly
colloq. cause a disturbance, stir up trouble. ЬЬfurless adj.
[ME (earlier as v.) f. OF forrer f. forre, fuerre sheath f.
fur. abbr. furlong(s).
furbelow n. & v. --n. 1 a gathered strip or pleated border of a skirt
or petticoat. 2 (in pl.) derog. showy ornaments. --v.tr. adorn
with a furbelow or furbelows. [18th-c. var. of falbala flounce,
furbish v.tr. (often foll. by up) 1 remove rust from, polish, burnish.
2 give a new look to, renovate, revive (something antiquated).
ЬЬfurbisher n. [ME f. OF forbir f. Gmc]
furcate adj. & v. --adj. also forked, branched. --v.intr. form a
fork, divide. ЬЬfurcation n. [L furca fork: (adj.) f. LL
adj. 1 Med. (of skin) resembling bran or dandruff; scaly. 2
Bot. covered with branlike scales. [furfur scurf f. L furfur
furious adj. 1 extremely angry. 2 full of fury. 3 raging, violent,
intense. Ьfast and furious adv. 1 rapidly. 2 eagerly,
uproariously. --adj. (of mirth etc.) eager, uproarious.
ЬЬfuriously adv. furiousness n. [ME f. OF furieus f. L
furiosus (as FURY)]
furl v. 1 tr. roll up and secure (a sail, umbrella, flag, etc.). 2
intr. become furled. 3 tr. a close (a fan). b fold up
(wings). c draw away (a curtain). d relinquish (hopes).
ЬЬfurlable adj. [F ferler f. OF fer(m) FIRM(1) + lier bind f. L
furlong n. an eighth of a mile, 220 yards. [OE furlang f. furh FURROW
+ lang LONG(1): orig. = length of a furrow in a common field]
furlough n. & v. --n. leave of absence, esp. granted to a member of the
services or to a missionary. --v. US 1 tr. grant furlough to.
2 intr. spend furlough. [Du. verlof after G Verlaub (as FOR-,
furmety var. of FRUMENTY.
furnace n. 1 an enclosed structure for intense heating by fire, esp.
of metals or water. 2 a very hot place. [ME f. OF fornais f. L
fornax -acis f. fornus oven]
furnish v.tr. 1 provide (a house, room, etc.) with all necessary
contents, esp. movable furniture. 2 (foll. by with) cause to
have possession or use of. 3 provide, afford, yield. [OF
furnir ult. f. WG]
furnished adj. (of a house, flat, etc.) let with furniture.
furnisher n. 1 a person who sells furniture. 2 a person who furnishes.
n.pl. the furniture and fitments in a house, room, etc.
furniture n. 1 the movable equipment of a house, room, etc., e.g. tables,
chairs, and beds. 2 Naut. a ship's equipment, esp. tackle etc.
3 accessories, e.g. the handles and lock of a door. 4 Printing
pieces of wood or metal placed round or between type to make
blank spaces and fasten the matter in the chase. Ьfurniture
beetle a beetle, Anobium punctatum, the larvae of which bore
into wood (see WOODWORM). furniture van a large van used to
move furniture from one house to another. part of the furniture
colloq. a person or thing taken for granted. [F fourniture f.
fournir (as FURNISH)]
furore n. (US furor) 1 an uproar; an outbreak of fury. 2 a wave of
enthusiastic admiration, a craze. [It. f. L furor -oris f.
furere be mad]
furphy n. (pl. -ies) Austral. sl. 1 a false report or rumour. 2 an
absurd story. [water and sanitary Furphy carts of the war of
1914-18, made at a foundry set up by the Furphy family]
furrier n. a dealer in or dresser of furs. [ME furrour f. OF forreor
f. forrer trim with fur, assim. to -IER]
furriery n. the work of a furrier.
furrow n. & v. --n. 1 a narrow trench made in the ground by a plough.
2 a rut, groove, or deep wrinkle. 3 a ship's track. --v.tr. 1
plough. 2 a make furrows, grooves, etc. in. b mark with
wrinkles. Ьfurrow-slice the slice of earth turned up by the
mould-board of a plough. ЬЬfurrowless adj. furrowy adj. [OE
furh f. Gmc]
furry adj. (furrier, furriest) 1 of or like fur. 2 covered with or
wearing fur. ЬЬfurriness n.
further adv., adj., & v. --adv. (also farther esp. with ref. to
physical distance) 1 to or at a more advanced point in space or
time (unsafe to proceed further). 2 at a greater distance
(nothing was further from his thoughts). 3 to a greater extent,
more (will enquire further). 4 in addition; furthermore (I may
add further). --adj. (also farther) 1 more distant or advanced
(on the further side). 2 more, additional, going beyond what
exists or has been dealt with (threats of further punishment).
--v.tr. promote, favour, help on (a scheme, undertaking,
movement, or cause). Ьfurther education Brit. education for
persons above school age but usu. below degree level. further
to formal following on from (esp. an earlier letter etc.). till
further notice (or orders) to continue until explicitly changed.
ЬЬfurtherer n. furthermost adj. [OE furthor (adv.), furthra
(adj.), fyrthrian (v.), formed as FORTH, -ER(3)]
n. furthering or being furthered; the advancement of a scheme
adv. in addition, besides (esp. introducing a fresh
consideration in an argument).
furthest adj. & adv. (also farthest esp. with ref. to physical distance)
--adj. most distant. --adv. to or at the greatest distance.
Ьat the furthest (or at furthest) at the greatest distance; at
the latest; at most. [ME, superl. f. FURTHER]
furtive adj. 1 done by stealth, clandestine, meant to escape notice. 2
sly, stealthy. 3 stolen, taken secretly. 4 thievish,
pilfering. ЬЬfurtively adv. furtiveness n. [F furtif -ive or
L furtivus f. furtum theft]
furuncle n. Med. = BOIL(2). ЬЬfuruncular adj. furunculous adj. [L
furunculus f. fur thief]
n. 1 a diseased condition in which boils appear. 2 a bacterial
disease of salmon and trout. [mod.L (as FURUNCLE)]
fury n. (pl. -ies) 1 a wild and passionate anger, rage. b a fit of
rage (in a blind fury). c impetuosity in battle etc. 2
violence of a storm, disease, etc. 3 (Fury) (usu. in pl.) (in
Greek mythology) each of three goddesses sent from Tartarus to
avenge crime, esp. against kinship. 4 an avenging spirit. 5 an
angry or malignant woman, a virago. Ьlike fury colloq. with
great force or effect. [ME f. OF furie f. L furia f. furere be
furze n. Brit. = GORSE. ЬЬfurzy adj. [OE fyrs, of unkn. orig.]
fuse(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. melt with intense heat; liquefy. 2
tr. & intr. blend or amalgamate into one whole by or as by
melting. 3 tr. provide (a circuit, plug, etc.) with a fuse. 4
a intr. (of an appliance) cease to function when a fuse blows.
b tr. cause (an appliance) to do this. --n. a device or
component for protecting an electric circuit, containing a strip
of wire of easily melted metal and placed in the circuit so as
to break it by melting when an excessive current passes through.
Ьfuse-box a box housing the fuses for circuits in a building.
[L fundere fus- pour, melt]
fuse(2) n. & v. (also fuze) --n. 1 a device for igniting a bomb or
explosive charge, consisting of a tube or cord etc. filled or
saturated with combustible matter. 2 a component in a shell,
mine, etc., designed to detonate an explosive charge on impact,
after an interval, or when subjected to a magnetic or vibratory
stimulation. --v.tr. fit a fuse to. ЬЬfuseless adj. [It.
fuso f. L fusus spindle]
fusee n. (US fuzee) 1 a conical pulley or wheel esp. in a watch or
clock. 2 a large-headed match for lighting a cigar or pipe in a
wind. 3 US a railway signal-flare. [F fus‚e spindle ult. f. L
fuselage n. the body of an aeroplane. [F f. fuseler cut into a spindle
f. fuseau spindle f. OF fusel ult. f. L fusus]
fusel oil n. a mixture of several alcohols, chiefly amyl alcohol,
produced usu. in small amounts during alcoholic fermentation.
[G Fusel bad brandy etc.: cf. fuseln to bungle]
fusible adj. that can be easily fused or melted. ЬЬfusibility n.
fusiform adj. Bot. & Zool. shaped like a spindle or cigar, tapering at
both ends. [L fusus spindle + -FORM]
fusil n. hist. a light musket. [F ult. f. L focus hearth, fire]
fusilier n. (US fusileer) 1 a member of any of several British regiments
formerly armed with fusils. 2 hist. a soldier armed with a
fusil. [F (as FUSIL)]
fusillade n. & v. --n. 1 a a continuous discharge of firearms. b a
wholesale execution by this means. 2 a sustained outburst of
criticism etc. --v.tr. 1 assault (a place) by a fusillade. 2
shoot down (persons) with a fusillade. [F f. fusiller shoot]
fusion n. 1 the act or an instance of fusing or melting. 2 a fused
mass. 3 the blending of different things into one. 4 a
coalition. 5 Physics = nuclear fusion. Ьfusion bomb a bomb
involving nuclear fusion, esp. a hydrogen bomb. ЬЬfusional adj.
[F fusion or L fusio (as FUSE(1))]
fuss n. & v. --n. 1 excited commotion, bustle, ostentatious or
nervous activity. 2 a excessive concern about a trivial thing.
b abundance of petty detail. 3 a sustained protest or dispute.
4 a person who fusses. --v. 1 intr. a make a fuss. b busy
oneself restlessly with trivial things. c (often foll. by
about, up and down) move fussily. 2 tr. agitate, worry. Ьmake
a fuss complain vigorously. make a fuss of (or over) treat (a
person or animal) with great or excessive attention. ЬЬfusser
n. [18th c.: perh. Anglo-Ir.]
fusspot n. colloq. a person given to fussing.
fussy adj. (fussier, fussiest) 1 inclined to fuss. 2 full of
unnecessary detail or decoration. 3 fastidious. ЬЬfussily adv.
n. a man's stiff white kilt worn in Albania and Greece. [It.
dimin. of mod. Gk phoustani prob. f. It. fustagno FUSTIAN]
fustian n. & adj. --n. 1 thick twilled cotton cloth with a short nap,
usu. dyed in dark colours. 2 turgid speech or writing, bombast.
--adj. 1 made of fustian. 2 bombastic. 3 worthless. [ME f.
OF fustaigne f. med.L fustaneus (adj.) relating to cloth from
Fostat a suburb of Cairo]
fustic n. a yellow dye obtained from either of two kinds of wood, esp.
old fustic. Ьold fustic 1 a tropical tree, Chlorophora
tinctoria, native to America. 2 the wood of this tree. young
fustic 1 a sumac, Cotinus coggyria, native to Europe (also
called Venetian sumac). 2 the wood of this tree. [F f. Sp.
fustoc f. Arab. fustuk f. Gk pistake pistachio]
fusty adj. (fustier, fustiest) 1 stale-smelling, musty, mouldy. 2
stuffy, close. 3 antiquated, old-fashioned. ЬЬfustily adv.
fustiness n. [ME f. OF fust‚ smelling of the cask f. fust
cask, tree-trunk, f. L fustis cudgel]
futhorc n. the Scandinavian runic alphabet. [its first six letters f,
u, th, ”, r, k]
futon n. a Japanese quilted mattress rolled out on the floor for use
as a bed. [Jap.]
futtock n. each of the middle timbers of a ship's frame, between the
floor and the top timbers. [ME votekes etc. pl. f. MLG f. fot
FOOT + - ken -KIN]
future adj. & n. --adj. 1 a going or expected to happen or be or
become (his future career). b that will be something specified
(my future wife). c that will be after death (a future life).
2 a of time to come (future years). b Gram. (of a tense or
participle) describing an event yet to happen. --n. 1 time to
come (past, present, and future). 2 what will happen in the
future (the future is uncertain). 3 the future condition of a
person, country, etc. 4 a prospect of success etc. (there's no
future in it). 5 Gram. the future tense. 6 (in pl.) Stock
Exch. a goods and stocks sold for future delivery. b contracts
for these. Ьfor the future = in future. future perfect Gram.
a tense giving the sense will have done. future shock inability
to cope with rapid progress. in future from now onwards.
ЬЬfutureless adj. [ME f. OF futur -ure f. L futurus future
part. of esse be f. stem fu- be]
futurism n. a movement in art, literature, music, etc., with violent
departure from traditional forms so as to express movement and
growth. [FUTURE + -ISM, after It. futurismo, F futurisme]
futurist n. (often attrib.) 1 an adherent of futurism. 2 a believer in
human progress. 3 a student of the future. 4 Theol. one who
believes that biblical prophecies, esp. those of the Apocalypse,
are still to be fulfilled.
adj. 1 suitable for the future; ultra-modern. 2 of futurism.
3 relating to the future. ЬЬfuturistically adv.
futurity n. (pl. -ies) 1 future time. 2 (in sing. or pl.) future
events. 3 future condition; existence after death. Ьfuturity
stakes US stakes raced for long after entries or nominations are
n. systematic forecasting of the future esp. from present
trends in society. ЬЬfuturologist n.
fuze var. of FUSE(2).
fuzee US var. of FUSEE.
fuzz n. 1 fluff. 2 fluffy or frizzled hair. 3 sl. a the police.
b a policeman. Ьfuzz-ball a puff-ball fungus. [17th c.: prob.
f. LG or Du.: sense 3 perh. a different word]
fuzzy adj. (fuzzier, fuzziest) 1 a like fuzz. b frayed, fluffy. c
frizzy. 2 blurred, indistinct. Ьfuzzy-wuzzy (pl. -ies)
offens. 1 colloq. hist. a Sudanese soldier. 2 sl. a Coloured
native of any country. ЬЬfuzzily adv. fuzziness n.
-fy suffix forming: 1 verbs from nouns, meaning: a make, produce
(pacify; satisfy). b make into (deify; petrify). 2 verbs from
adjectives, meaning 'bring or come into such a state'
(Frenchify; solidify). 3 verbs in causative sense (horrify;
stupefy). [from or after F -fier f. L -ficare, -facere f.
facere do, make]
fylfot n. a swastika. [perh. f. fill-foot, pattern to fill the foot
of a painted window]
fyrd n. hist. 1 the English militia before 1066. 2 the duty to
serve in this. [OE f. Gmc (as FARE)]