One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A carnivorous mammal of the dog family with a pointed muzzle and bushy tail, proverbial for its cunning.
Vulpes and three other genera, family Canidae: several species, including the red fox and the arctic fox
- ‘Introduced predators such as rats, cats, dogs, foxes and mongooses are thought to have been responsible for about half of island bird extinctions.’
- ‘The genus Dirofilaria includes various species that are natural parasites of dogs, cats, foxes and wild mammals.’
- ‘Mammals such as weasels, foxes, stoats and especially roe deer can wander safely without the risk of being killed by traffic.’
- ‘Most wild cats are preyed upon as young cats by larger predators, such as foxes, wolves, other cats, and large birds of prey, such as owls and hawks.’
- ‘He mentioned in passing that as a kid here he could tell the difference between the footprints of foxes, groundhogs and raccoons.’
- ‘There are 105 species of birds in the park and mammals ranging from Andean foxes to pumas that only rarely venture down from their mountain lairs.’
- ‘The virus is carried by a number of wild animals, including coyotes, foxes, and some wolves.’
- ‘When raccoons, coatis, foxes, coyotes, skunks, or bears bit the models, they left tooth marks in the plasticine.’
- ‘Their chief predator is the mink, but while on land they also fall prey to foxes, coyotes and lynx as well as some of the larger avian predators.’
- ‘Voles are an important source of food for many predators, including snakes, hawks, owls, coyotes, weasels, foxes, mink and badgers.’
- ‘Eagles, rattlesnakes, deer, pronghorn antelope, foxes, coyotes, and mountain lions roam the area.’
- ‘All kinds of critters like to dine on poultry, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, weasels, foxes, coyotes, dogs and feral cats.’
- ‘Domestic dogs and cats can pick up the infection if exposed to wild animals with the disease such as foxes, wolves, jackals, skunks, mongooses, raccoons and bats.’
- ‘The most significant predators on red foxes are humans, who hunt foxes for their fur and kill them in large numbers as pests.’
- ‘The other wild attractions in the park include nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, foxes and jackals.’
- ‘There are 36 species of Canidae, including dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals and foxes.’
- ‘Their predators include great horned owls, bobcats, cougars, coyotes, and foxes, so wariness is in their blood.’
- ‘Coyotes, foxes, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats all prey on livestock.’
- ‘Eagle owls, the most powerful of strigid owls, can even handle larger mammalian prey such as foxes, young roe deer, and monkeys.’
- ‘Bradford archaeologists are also studying other remains from the site at Lynford, including bones from woolly rhino, brown bears, horses, foxes and hyenas.’
- 1.1mass noun The fur of a fox.
- ‘It will join that old fox stole I rescued from a charity shop.’
2A cunning or sly person.‘a wily old fox’
- ‘So last night ShowBiz Ireland were out in force and waiting outside Vicar Street for the wily old fox to emerge.’
- ‘The wily old fox of cricket had his guests enthralled by witty conversation, which ran late into the night.’
- ‘The Oz, being more of a wily fox, eschewed tabloidism and was much more sympathetic to the fallen leader.’
- ‘For it would seem that the wily old fox has finally outfoxed himself by falling prey to an inherent weakness that involves opening his mouth precipitately.’
- ‘It has been quite a century for the old fox, after all.’
- ‘Indians cannot tolerate it if the old foxes keep fighting and hamper Bangalore's growth.’
- ‘They will repurchase the bonds of the ownership of which they have been tricked out by the wily old fox.’
- ‘However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them.’
- ‘No longer dishing out the Clough edge of his tongue, the best manager never to have led England, remains a wily old fox.’
- ‘It is veteran versus tyro, wily old fox against bristling young cub, a man who has done it all against a boy who threatens to do it all.’
- ‘He may have mellowed with old age - he's 63-but the fire still burns bright in this wily old fox's belly when invited to defy the odds.’
- ‘What does the poor old fox do, and what are its aims and intentions?’
- ‘‘It's absolutely superb being in a dust up with the old fox,’ said Smith with a smile as crews completed the first leg.’
3North American informal A sexually attractive woman.
1Baffle or deceive (someone)‘the abbreviation foxed me completely’
baffle, bewilder, mystify, bemuse, perplex, puzzle, confuse, confound, nonplus, disconcert, throw, throw off balance, disorientate, take aback, set thinkingView synonyms
- ‘The 22-year-old student admitted the greens had foxed him, but was delighted with his achievement of reaching the final.’
- ‘Mid-January to mid-February was the warmest it's been seen 1659 (which is when records began), foxing unwary plants into flowering prematurely, to give the frost something to kill.’
- ‘What's really foxing the industry over the cyber-attacks is that it is seemingly at odds with normal hacker behaviour.’
- ‘Everywhere you go, you hear a tale of how someone foxed the council with a fake trip, or how Joe Bloggs had stress from having to answer the phone in the council housing department.’
- ‘Apparently this foxed the police for a long time as they couldn't find any links between the murderer and victim.’
- ‘Autorickshaw drivers, who are otherwise street-smart, are foxed when passengers (usually visitors to the City) ask for destinations with new names.’
- ‘The elders were meticulous in their portrayal of the characters and their attention to their costume foxed the judges.’
- ‘It'll force the batsmen to use their bats more, while the spinners will be rewarded, deservedly, for foxing the batsmen.’
- ‘Your training equips you to recognise much of what you are likely to see, but you rely on specialists around the country for help with those rare pieces that fox you.’
- ‘Scoring good marks in most subjects, he is foxed by his inability to do well in maths.’
- ‘But the presence of a planet in this triple system has foxed astronomers, causing some to suggest that we need to rethink theories of planetary formation.’
- ‘There are almost humorous situations: when a woman at a medical clinic tries to palm it off to an unsuspecting receptionist, and when an art dealer is foxed by the way his wife has been cheated.’
- ‘But she throws in a slower serve which foxes the French player.’
- ‘I stake my reputation on the fact that this week's entry will truly fox you.’
- ‘It appears blank, having completely foxed the browser.’
- ‘You may be foxed, but science has all the answers.’
- ‘Its creator never really meant for people to be foxed for that long.’
- 1.1dated no object Behave in a cunning or sly way.‘to his mind everybody was dodging and foxing’
- ‘But he made his disdain clear: as far back as 1954, he complained of his ‘beefing, threatening, foxing and conniving.’’
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vos and German Fuchs.
1A member of a North American people formerly living in southern Wisconsin, and now mainly in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.
2mass noun The Algonquian language of the Fox, now almost extinct.
Relating to the Fox or their language.
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