Definition of hydrofoil in US English:



  • 1A boat whose hull is fitted underneath with shaped vanes (foils) that lift the hull clear of the water to increase the boat's speed.

    • ‘I'm looking forward to another late night quaffing session, even though it is already one o'clock in the morning and our hydrofoil sails at noon.’
    • ‘You cut off about ten hours of travelling, and can switch from train to a hydrofoil down the Danube for the last leg if it takes your fancy.’
    • ‘During that period, there were all these shows that promised people that, in ten or 15 years, we would all have jet packs or use hydrofoils to travel across the water and then drive up on land.’
    • ‘View the naked gifts of nature from a hydrofoil.’
    • ‘And with five minutes to spare, we scrambled aboard the last hydrofoil of the day.’
    • ‘It holds out the prospect of hydrofoils or catamarans whisking up to 150 passengers at a time on the journey.’
    • ‘Suitable types might include sailing barges, historic tugboats, a wartime landing craft, steam motor yachts, or even a retired lightship, submarine, or hydrofoil.’
    • ‘He built a hydrofoil that was clocked at more than 70 mph, and for 12 years it was the fastest boat in the world.’
    • ‘A super hydrofoil took us across the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn, Estonia - definitely the most comfortable mode of travel to date.’
    • ‘With his sons he built Icarus, a sailing hydrofoil, which held the B class world sailing speed record.’
    • ‘High speed catamarans or hydrofoils will whisk up to 150 passengers on the 30-minute journey from Fife to Edinburgh's waterfront every half an hour at peak times.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it explains the huge number of ferries and hydrofoils that regularly ply the waters.’
    • ‘Much of its activity is centred around the riva - the promenade - filled with a jostle of yachts, powerboats and hydrofoils that can ferry you to tiny ports along a coastline dotted with unspoilt beaches and 1,185 islands.’
    • ‘So, the remaining five of us set sail on the hydrofoil.’
    • ‘From Dubrovnik you can catch a hydrofoil to the most delightful of all Dalmatian resorts, the medieval capital of the island of Hvar.’
    • ‘Until then, Macau will continue to count on Hong Kong, an hour away via hydrofoil, which provided half of Macau's 10 million visitors last year.’
    • ‘By chance a hydrofoil came up for sale.’
    • ‘However, I have been known to whiz back and forth by hydrofoil across the Adriatic Sea four times in four consecutive days.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for foil
      • ‘The paddles thus acted like hydrofoils generating thrust during the backstroke and also from lift during the recovery stroke.’
      • ‘For the past five years, Jenkins, a mechanical engineer and amateur glider pilot, has built three crafts - on wheels, skates, and hydrofoils - equipped with rigid carbon-fiber sails.’
      • ‘There is also a surprisingly moving sequence about surfboards equipped with hydrofoils that could enable people to cruise around the ocean for miles.’
      • ‘He also believes the design has potential applications for Defence, including wings for lightweight unmanned aircraft and high-speed hydrofoils for naval boats.’
      • ‘Many of these deformations arise, in part, from the passive mechanics of oscillating a flexible air- or hydrofoil.’
      • ‘Standing 15 metres in height, the turbine support frame uses hydrofoils which use the down-thrust from tidal currents to hold the structure firmly on the seabed.’
      • ‘In contrast, Robinson observed that plesiosaur flippers were shaped like hydrofoils and hypothesized that they produced thrust through lift rather than drag.’
      • ‘The flippers, shaped like hydrofoils, were moved in large vertical strokes enabling the ‘subaqueous flight’ swimming style similar to sea turtles and penguins.’
      • ‘Tuna, researchers suspected, power their swimming by projecting muscle force from the mid-body, where the muscle is concentrated, back to the tail, which essentially acts as a natural, thrust-producing hydrofoil.’
      • ‘It is suggested that these may have acted as hydrofoils, and along with the rostrum and downturned tail, elevated the front of the body during swimming.’
      • ‘The engine uses winglike hydrofoils mounted on a pair of belts to convert the energy of water at low dams into a rotational output at twoaxles.’


1920s: from hydro- ‘relating to water’, on the pattern of aerofoil.