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From Middle English bifolen, equivalent to be- +‎ fool.


  • IPA(key): /bɪˈfuːl/
    • (file)


befool (third-person singular simple present befools, present participle befooling, simple past and past participle befooled)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To make a fool out of (someone); to fool, trick, or deceive (someone).
    • 1605, Joseph Hall, Meditations and Vowes, Diuine and Morall, London: John Porter, 63,[1]
      Nothing doth so befoole a man as extreme passion; this doth both make them fooles, which otherwise are not; and show them to be fooles that are so []
    • 1853, William Makepeace Thackeray, The Newcomes, Chapter 40,[2]
      Flattery is their nature—to coax, flatter and sweetly befool some one is every woman’s business.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[3]:
      "How can a woman live two thousand years? Why dost thou befool me, oh Queen?"
    • 1901, Andrew Lang, “The Fairy of the Dawn” in The Violet Fairy Book,[4]
      But above all beware never to look the Fairy of the Dawn in the face, for she has eyes that will bewitch you, and glances that will befool you.
    • 2009 July 13, "BJP workers stage protest after leader dies in hospital," TImes of India (retrieved 29 May 2013):
      They alleged Dr Sidhu had no specialization in reducing weight and was only befooling innocent people.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Although archaic in Western countries, this verb is still current in the English of South Asia.