fold


verb (used with object)

  1. to bend (cloth, paper, etc.) over upon itself.
  2. to bring into a compact form by bending and laying parts together (often followed by up): to fold up a map; to fold one’s legs under oneself.
  3. to bring (the arms, hands, etc.) together in an intertwined or crossed manner; clasp; cross: He folded his arms on his chest.
  4. to bend or wind (usually followed by about, round, etc.): to fold one’s arms about a person’s neck.
  5. to bring (the wings) close to the body, as a bird on alighting.
  6. to enclose; wrap; envelop: to fold something in paper.
  7. to embrace or clasp; enfold: to fold someone in one’s arms.
  8. Cards. to place (one’s cards) facedown so as to withdraw from the play.
  9. Informal. to bring to an end; close up: The owner decided to fold the business and retire.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be folded or be capable of folding: The doors fold back.
  2. Cards. to place one’s cards facedown so as to withdraw from the play.
  3. Informal. to fail in business; be forced to close: The newspaper folded after 76 years.
  4. Informal. to yield or give in: Dad folded and said we could go after all.

noun

  1. a part that is folded; pleat; layer: folds of cloth.
  2. a crease made by folding: He cut the paper along the fold.
  3. a hollow made by folding: to carry something in the fold of one’s dress.
  4. a hollow place in undulating ground: a fold of the mountains.
  5. Geology. a portion of strata that is folded or bent, as an anticline or syncline, or that connects two horizontal or parallel portions of strata of different levels (as a monocline).
  6. Journalism.
    1. the line formed along the horizontal center of a standard-sized newspaper when it is folded after printing.
    2. a rough-and-ready dividing line, especially on the front page and other principal pages, between stories of primary and lesser importance.
  7. a coil of a serpent, string, etc.
  8. the act of folding or doubling over.
  9. Anatomy. a margin or ridge formed by the folding of a membrane or other flat body part; plica.

Verb Phrases

  1. fold in, Cookery. to mix in or add (an ingredient) by gently turning one part over another: Fold in the egg whites.
  2. fold up, Informal.
    1. to break down; collapse: He folded up when the prosecutor discredited his story.
    2. to fail, especially to go out of business.

noun

  1. an enclosure for sheep or, occasionally, other domestic animals.
  2. the sheep kept within it.
  3. a flock of sheep.
  4. a church.
  5. the members of a church; congregation: He preached to the fold.
  6. a group sharing common beliefs, values, etc.: He rejoined the fold after his youthful escapade.

verb (used with object)

  1. to confine (sheep or other domestic animals) in a fold.

  1. a native English suffix meaning “of so many parts,” or denoting multiplication by the number indicated by the stem or word to which the suffix is attached: twofold; manifold.

verb

  1. to bend or be bent double so that one part covers anotherto fold a sheet of paper
  2. (tr) to bring together and intertwine (the arms, legs, etc)she folded her hands
  3. (tr) (of birds, insects, etc) to close (the wings) together from an extended position
  4. (tr; often foll by up or in) to enclose in or as if in a surrounding material
  5. (tr foll by in) to clasp (a person) in the arms
  6. (tr usually foll by round, about, etc) to wind (around); entwine
  7. (tr) poetic to cover completelynight folded the earth
  8. Also: fold in (tr) to mix (a whisked mixture) with other ingredients by gently turning one part over the other with a spoon
  9. to produce a bend (in stratified rock) or (of stratified rock) to display a bend
  10. (intr often foll by up) informal to collapse; failthe business folded

noun

  1. a piece or section that has been foldeda fold of cloth
  2. a mark, crease, or hollow made by folding
  3. a hollow in undulating terrain
  4. a bend in stratified rocks that results from movements within the earth’s crust and produces such structures as anticlines and synclines
  5. anatomy another word for plica (def. 1)
  6. a coil, as in a rope, etc
  7. an act of folding

noun

    1. a small enclosure or pen for sheep or other livestock, where they can be gathered
    2. the sheep or other livestock gathered in such an enclosure
    3. a flock of sheep
    4. a herd of Highland cattle
  1. a church or the members of it
  2. any group or community sharing a way of life or holding the same values

verb

  1. (tr) to gather or confine (sheep or other livestock) in a fold

suffix forming adjectives, suffix forming adverbs

  1. having so many parts, being so many times as much or as many, or multiplied by so much or so manythreefold; three-hundredfold
v.

Old English faldan (Mercian), fealdan (West Saxon), transitive, “to bend cloth back over itself,” class VII strong verb (past tense feold, past participle fealden), from Proto-Germanic *falthan, *faldan (cf. Middle Dutch vouden, Dutch vouwen, Old Norse falda, Middle Low German volden, Old High German faldan, German falten, Gothic falþan).

The Germanic words are from PIE *pel-to- (cf. Sanskrit putah “fold, pocket,” Albanian pale “fold,” Middle Irish alt “a joint,” Lithuanian pleta “I plait”), from root *pel- (3) “to fold” (cf. Greek ploos “fold,” Latin -plus).

The weak form developed from 15c. In late Old English also of the arms. Intransitive sense, “become folded” is from c.1300 (of the body or limbs); earlier “give way, fail” (mid-13c.). Sense of “to yield to pressure” is from late 14c. Related: Folded; folding.

n.1

“pen or enclosure for sheep or other domestic animals,” Old English falæd, falud “stall, stable, cattle-pen,” a general Germanic word (cf. East Frisian folt “enclosure, dunghill,” Dutch vaalt “dunghill,” Danish fold “pen for sheep”), of uncertain origin. Figurative use by mid-14c.

n.2

“a bend or ply in anything,” mid-13c., from fold (v.).

multiplicative suffix, from Old English -feald, related to Old Norse -faldr; German -falt; Gothic falþs; Greek -paltos, -plos; Latin -plus, and to fold (v.). Crowded out in English by Latinate double, triple, etc., but still in manifold, hundredfold, etc.

n.

  1. A crease or ridge apparently formed by folding, as of a membrane; a plica.
  2. In the embryo, a transient elevation or reduplication of tissue in the form of a lamina.

  1. A bend in a layer of rock or in another planar feature such as foliation or the cleavage of a mineral. Folds occur as the result of deformation, usually associated with plate-tectonic forces.

In addition to the idioms beginning with fold

  • fold one’s tent
  • fold up

also see:

  • return to the fold

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