Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “afoul”

afoul

adverb uk   /əˈfaʊl/ us  
run/fall afoul of sth/sb to experience problems, punishment, or harm because you do not obey a rule or disagree with a powerful organization, group, or person: He was 15 when he first ran afoul of the law. At one point Seeger fell afoul of the US government for his anti-war actions.Obeying and breaking the lawObedient and compliantDisobedientBad and wrong behaviourArguing and disagreeing
(Definition of afoul from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of afoul?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Arguing & disagreeing, but you might be interested in these topics from the Expressing opposition & disapproval topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

bitter

a type of dark brown beer with a bitter taste

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More