English edit

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Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Old French fondeur, from Latin fundātor.

Noun edit

founder (plural founders)

  1. One who founds or establishes (a company, project, organisation, state, etc.).
    Antonym: ruiner
    The founder of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg.
    • 1765, William Blackstone, “Of Corporations”, in Commentaries on the Laws of England, book I (Of the Rights of Persons), Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 469:
      As to eleemoſynary corporations, by the dotation the founder and his heirs are of common right the legal viſitors, to ſee that that property is rightly employed, which would otherwiſe have deſcended to the viſitor himſelf: []
    • 2022 January 13, Arielle Pardes, “Who Do Young Entrepreneurs Look Up To? Elon Musk”, in Wired[1], San Francisco, C.A.: Condé Nast Publications, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-06-01:
      Young people love to idolize their predecessors. [Steve] Jobs was Silicon Valley's idol of choice for decades, but to the next generation of startup founders, his legacy feels about as old as Web 1.0.
    • 2023 June 28, Livia Albeck-Ripka, “Chris Printup, Founder of Streetwear Brand Born X Raised, Dies at 42”, in The New York Times[2], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-07-06:
      Chris Printup, a founder of the streetwear brand Born X Raised, which became a fixture on the Los Angeles fashion scene, died on Wednesday morning at a hospital in Albuquerque. He was 42.
  2. (genetics) A common ancestor of some population (especially one with a certain genetic mutation).
    a founder population
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

Etymology 2 edit

From Middle French fondeur, from Latin fundo (pour, melt, cast).

Noun edit

founder (plural founders)

  1. The iron worker in charge of the blast furnace and the smelting operation.
    • 1957, H.R. Schubert, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry, page 161:
      The term 'founder' was applied in the British iron industry long afterwards to the ironworker in charge of the blast furnace and the smelting operation.
  2. One who casts metals in various forms; a caster.
    a founder of cannon, bells, hardware, or printing types
Translations edit

Etymology 3 edit

From Middle French fondrer (send to the bottom), from Latin fundus (bottom).

Noun edit

founder (plural founders)

  1. (veterinary medicine) A severe laminitis of a horse, caused by untreated internal inflammation in the hooves.
Translations edit

Verb edit

founder (third-person singular simple present founders, present participle foundering, simple past and past participle foundered)

  1. (intransitive, of a ship) To flood with water and sink.
    • 1719 May 6 (Gregorian calendar), [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, →OCLC:
      We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship but we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a ship foundering in the sea.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 9, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC:
      This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog—in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn;(...)
    • 2018 October 17, Drachinifel, 27:33 from the start, in Last Ride of the High Seas Fleet - Battle of Texel 1918[6], archived from the original on 4 August 2022:
      Amongst the battleships, things are rather different. Barham led a valiant charge, but suffered for it; she will founder under tow in the Thames estuary shallows, eventually being refloated and refitted after the war.
  2. (intransitive) To fall; to stumble and go lame, as a horse.
  3. (intransitive) To fail; to miscarry.
  4. (transitive, archaic, nautical) To cause to flood and sink, as a ship.
    • 1697, William Dampier, A New Voyage Round the World. [], London: [] James Knapton, [], →OCLC, page 82:
      We found a strong Tide setting out of the Streights to the Northward, and like to founder our Ship.
    • 1744, William Smith, A New Voyage to Guinea, page 167, quoted in The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds Of The Slave Trade, Robert Harms, 2008
      "I was amazed when we came among the breakers (which to me seemed large enough to founder our ship), to see with what wondrous dexterity they carried us through them, and ran their canoes on the top of one of those rolling waves [] "
    • 1932, Hart Crane, "From haunts of Proserpine" (Review of Green River: A Poem for Rafinesque, James Whaler
      But still more disastrous was the storm which foundered his ship in Long Island Sound, swallowing within call of shore his fifty boxes of scientific equipment, his books, manuscripts and funds, the results of years of devoted labor.
  5. (transitive) To disable or lame (a horse) by causing internal inflammation and soreness in the feet or limbs.
Translations edit

Usage notes edit

Frequently confused with flounder. Both may be applied to the same situation, with the difference being the severity of the action: floundering (struggling to maintain position) comes first, followed by foundering (losing it by falling, sinking, or failing).

Anagrams edit

Old French edit

Etymology edit

From Latin fundō.

Verb edit


  1. (late Anglo-Norman) Alternative spelling of funder

Conjugation edit

This verb conjugates as a first-group verb ending in -er. The forms that would normally end in *-d, *-ds, *-dt are modified to t, z, t. Old French conjugation varies significantly by date and by region. The following conjugation should be treated as a guide.