foil (n.) Old form(s): foile , foyle
setting, background which sets something off to advantage [as dull metal sets off a gem]
1H4 I.ii.213[Prince Hal alone, of his reformation] Shall show more goodly ... / Than that which hath no foil to set it off
Ham V.ii.249[Hamlet to Laertes] I'll be your foil [pun: sense 1]
LC.153[of the man] the foil / Of this false jewel
R2 I.iii.266[John of Gaunt to Bolingbroke] foil wherein thou art to set / The precious jewel
R3 V.iii.251[Richmond to his soldiers, of King Richard] A base foul stone, made precious by the foil / Of England's chair
TNK IV.ii.26[Emilia alone, of Arcite] Palamon / Is but his foil
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL