I came across the sentence "The person folded the school". A dictionary say the usage of "fold" in this meaning is intransitive like " The school folded" but this "fold" is used as transitive.

So Is "The person folded the school" wrong ? Or "fold" can be used as transitive like this?

In addition I guess "The person folded the school" means "The person closed the English school."

And Is "The person folded the company" correct? Does it means "The person closed the company."? A dictionary only say "The company fold."

  • fold can be used both transitive or intransitive. In this case the person folded [something], but I think the sentence is weird. It probably means another thing.
    – Schwale
    Mar 9, 2016 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


I have never heard it used in this way, and did not understand what your example was intended to mean until I read your following sentence. Having said that, I think if the example was "He folded the company", I would probably have understood it, because I think of a company as something that can go bust ('fold') more readily than I think of a school that way.

The OED gives 'fold' as only intransitive with that meaning (of course it can be transitive with other meanings).

So, I would hesitate to say that any usage is "wrong", but that usage is outside my experience, and not easy for me to understand.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language gives the meaning of fold tr. *

Informal To discontinue operating; close: They had to fold the company a year after they started it.


Usually school are closed whereas companies can be folded or closed.

Many schools were closed due to budget cuts.
The company filed for bankruptcy and folded.

Your use of fold means to discontinue or stop doing something

The term is also commonly used in card games, especially poker where a player can
raise (increase the betting), call (match the betting) , or fold (stop playing, and lose their stake).

In the same way, when a company folds, it is usually due to financial difficulty instead of for various other reasons when the use of close may be more appropriate.

Drexel Burnham spectacularly folded due to junk bonds in the 1990's.

The Somerdale Factory near Bristol was closed by Kraft foods in 2011 when production was moved to Poland.

Usually a third person will close a company, whereas a legal entity or owner may fold a company.

  • Have you any evidence for the transitive use of "fold" in your last sentence, Peter? I don't believe I've ever heard it.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 9, 2016 at 23:54
  • In conversation "he folded his company", "his company folded". "Mr. Jones was going broke, so he folded his business up"here is an on-line example, but that's folded up, which I've not heard used.
    – Peter
    Mar 10, 2016 at 0:01
  • Thank you for the answer. It seems intransitive use is more common than the transitive one, Mar 10, 2016 at 4:06

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