Last modified on 27 October 2014, at 20:37


See also: FoE and FOE


Etymology 1Edit

Middle English fo 'foe; hostile', from earlier ifo 'foe', from Old English ġefāh 'enemy', from fāh 'hostile', from Proto-Germanic *faihaz (compare Old Frisian fāch 'punishable', Middle High German gevēch 'feuder'), from Proto-Indo-European *peik/k̑- 'to hate, be hostile' (compare Middle Irish oech 'enemy, fiend', Latin piget 'he is annoying', Lithuanian piktas ‘evil’, Albanian pis ‘dirty, scoundrel’).



foe (comparative more foe, superlative most foe)

  1. (obsolete) Hostile.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, vol.1, ch.23:
      he, I say, could passe into Affrike onely with two simple ships or small barkes, to commit himselfe in a strange and foe countrie, to engage his person, under the power of a barbarous King [].


foe (plural foes)

  1. An enemy.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55: 
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.

Etymology 2Edit

An acronym of "fifty-one ergs", coined by Gerald Brown of Stony Brook University in his work with Hans Bethe.


foe (plural foes)

  1. A unit of energy equal to 1044 joules.