folly

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English[edit]

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Long Island's Big Duck (blt. 1930-1931), a well known example of an architectural folly (see duck).

Etymology[edit]

From Old French folie ‎(madness), from the adjective fol ‎(mad, insane).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

folly ‎(plural follies)

  1. Foolishness.
    This is a war of folly.
  2. Thoughtless action resulting in tragic consequence.
    The purchase of Alaska from Russia was termed Seward's folly.
  3. A fanciful building built for purely ornamental reasons.
    A luncheonette in the shape of a coffee cup is particularly conspicuous, as is intended of an architectural duck or folly.
    • 2014 September 7, “Doddington's garden pyramid is a folly good show: The owners of a Lincolnshire stately home have brought the folly into the 21st century, by building a 30ft pyramid [print edition: Great pyramid of Lincolnshire, 6 September 2014, p. G2]”, in The Daily Telegraph[1], London:
      It has been a long time since new follies were springing up across the great estates of Britain. But the owners of Doddington Hall, in Lincolnshire, have brought the folly into the 21st century, by building a 30ft pyramid in the grounds of the Elizabethan manor.

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