Origin: AS. Fox; akin to D. Vos, G. Fuchs, OHG. Fuhs, foha, Goth. Faoh, Icel. Fa fox, fox fraud; of unknown origin, cf. Skr. Puccha tail. Cf. Vixen.

1. <zoology> A carnivorous animal of the genus Vulpes, family Canidae, of many species. The European fox (V. Vulgaris or V. Vulpes), the American red fox (V. Fulvus), the American gray fox (V. Virginianus), and the arctic, white, or blue, fox (V. Lagopus) are well-known species.

The black or silver-gray fox is a variety of the American red fox, producing a fur of great value; the cross-gray and woods-gray foxes are other varieties of the same species, of less value. The common foxes of Europe and America are very similar; both are celebrated for their craftiness. They feed on wild birds, poultry, and various small animals. "Subtle as the fox for prey." (Shak)

2. <zoology> The European dragonet.

3. <zoology> The fox shark or thrasher shark; called also sea fox. See Thrasher shark, under Shark.

4. A sly, cunning fellow. "We call a crafty and cruel man a fox." (Beattie)

5. Rope yarn twisted together, and rubbed with tar; used for seizings or mats.

6. A sword; so called from the stamp of a fox on the blade, or perhaps of a wolf taken for a fox. "Thou diest on point of fox." (Shak)

7. A tribe of Indians which, with the Sacs, formerly occupied the region about Green Bay, Wisconsin; called also Outagamies. Fox and geese. A boy's game, in which one boy tries to catch others as they run one goal to another. A game with sixteen checkers, or some substitute for them, one of which is called the fox, and the rest the geese; the fox, whose first position is in the middle of the board, endeavors to break through the line of the geese, and the geese to pen up the fox.

<medicine> Fox bat, the tail of a fox. Fox evil, a disease in which the hair falls off; alopecy.

<botany> Fox grape, one of several South American wild dogs, belonging to the genus Canis. They have long, bushy tails like a fox.

(01 Mar 1998)