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bear by san

December 2021



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bear by san

With one fist raised in anger, with one foot in the fire:

Poll #719439 (en)fouled

Is "enfouled" (i.e., "the diver became enfouled in the netting") a Real Word, or a horrible chimera created by tacking syllables onto the front of the front of the perfectly good extant word "fouled" by analogy to "enfolded," without changing the meaning?

the diver became fouled in the netting!
the diver became enfouled in the netting!
the diver should have carried his sheath knife, and he wouldn't be having this problem.

Please indicate your nationality and regional dialect in comments, in addition to any dictionary cites you feel moved to provide.

(I know medievalist has an itchy OED finger)


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enfouled for me. New England, USA. The American Heritage dictionary begs to differ, however.
I think it's fouled; I considered nominating 'befouled' but that seems to lean toward a layer of dirt being on the netting and attaching itself to the diver, which might be improbable.
I beg to differ. The second definition of befouled in my dictionary is clearly "entangled". Fouled sounds just plain wrong to me. And I'm a military brat, I don't have a regional dialect and most of my language is from reading. Beannacht leibh, ---Caitrin a Masaitiusadh
My ear tells me to go with fouled. I've lived in the U.S. upper and lower midwest most of my life and in the deep south for a time.
fouled. SW NM born & raised, but now in the great north-wets.


Search Results for “enfouled”
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I have a cite for "enfouled" from 1750 or so, but I'm saving it for the next step of the quiz.
I vote for 'entangled', just to mix things up.
Southern NH here, I'd say fouled up in the netting or tangled in the netting.

If he became fouled in the netting this suggests something more like a fish with digestive problems swam by. Becoming fouled sounds like something is happening to him rather than his actions getting him tangled up in the netting.

"Fouled" and New Englander.

'Cause boats get fouled, but never get enfouled.
Well, I gotta go with 'fouled' but I won't say that I've never heard 'enfouled'.

I'm originally western NY, but I've lived in New England, Pennsylvania, and the midwest so, you know, I am an eclectic mix of small town and rural Americas.
You're a writer. You have a poetic license. Use it!. Even if 'enfouled' isn't officially a word, it's a perfectly usable word irregardless.
*g* I'm playing a game, actually. Watch this space for the funchline.
Canadian, here. By way of Quebec. And I grew up watching American television, so my dialect is anyone's guess, although I do say "eh?" and my Californian friends insist I say "doot" and "aboot" - but then, they're like, totally from California, y'know?

Fouled sounds, looks, and reads right. Enfouled looks like ye olde timey Englishe.

Or is this one of those 'flamable'-'inflammable' things?
Like raveled. I find those so annoying.

But on the topic, I'd go with fouled. I don't remember ever seeing enfouled, in the myriad books I have read, and in the interests of not complicating words unnecessarily I prefer fouled. Plus it's two letters shorter and brevity is useful for more than wit. Not that I'd know anything about that.

I'm from Michigan-California-South Carolina-Louisiana-Ohio-Maine-Oregon. But mostly Oregon, by now. But the reading doesn't have a state, as I read anything that interested me as soon as I could hold my own books.

OTOH, if I desired a word to look more elegantly old-fashioned, I might choose enfouled for the flavor.

But really I go with C, the one about the knife. Be prepared! (I was a girl scout. Briefly.)
Not only where's his knife, but where's his dive buddy in all of this? Looking for a freakin' waterproof dictionary to figure out what word to use?

Traditional maritime useage, as in the fouled anchor.

Midwest (Michigan, Illinois) to Maine via Georgia and New Jersey.
Yep yep, I was thinking fouled lines myself.
What I find interesting about the OED is how often I catch it out.

Which is unfair, because it's an impossible task, and one nobly managed. But as it's so often held up as the ultimate authority, I keep wanting to point out that it frequently misses the oldest cite.
Fouled. American NW native.

None of my dictionaries list enfouled.
Enfouled is maybe a frankenstein of entangled and fouled?
Fouled or befouled sound equally proper to my ear, while "enfouled" sounds rather archaic, and looks odd on the page.

I'm from Hawaii, though using the phrase "mo' bettah" has never been my line.
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