folly

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English[edit]

The Temple de l'Amour, a garden folly of the Château de Versailles (France), and more specifically, in the Petit Trianon part of it (sense 3)
The Casino at Marino from Marino (Dublin, Ireland), a Neoclassical folly (sense 3)
The Ionic Temple in Chiswick House gardens (London), with an obelisk in front of it (sense 3)

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

folly (plural follies)

  1. Foolishness that results from a lack of foresight or lack of practicality.
    This is a war of folly to continue.
    It'd be folly.
  2. Thoughtless action resulting in tragic consequence.
    The purchase of Alaska from Russia was termed Seward's folly.
  3. (architecture) 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.
    • 1984, William Gibson, chapter 14, in Neuromancer (Sprawl; book 1), New York, N.Y.: Ace Books, →ISBN, page 172:
      “The Villa Straylight,” said a jeweled thing on the pedestal, in a voice like music, “is a body grown in upon itself, a Gothic folly. []
    • 2014 September 7, “Doddington's garden pyramid is a folly good show”, 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.
    • 2018 April 18, Paul Cooper, “Europe Was Once Obsessed With Fake Dilapidated Buildings”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      A great deal of eccentricity was expressed through the trend for ruin follies. But it wasn’t only the madness of paranoid earls and fashionable landowners that was encoded in them.

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