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Old 12-12-2011, 11:29 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Foil has three distinct definitions.

1) to prevent the success of; frustrate; balk:
1250–1300; Middle English foilen, < Anglo-French foller, Old French fuler to trample, full (cloth).

2) metal in the form of very thin sheets: aluminum foil.
1350–1400; Middle English foille, foil < Old French fuelle, fueille, foille (< Latin folia leaves), fuel, fueil, foil (< Latin folium leaf, blade)

3) a flexible four-sided rapier having a blunt point.
1585–95; origin uncertain


Some other definitions appear to be connected to meaning # 2

- a person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast: The straight man was an able foil to the comic.

- Architecture . an arc or a rounded space between cusps, as in the tracery of a window or other ornamentation.

- An Aerofoil