fool

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English fole (fool), from Old French fol (cf. modern French fou (mad)) from Latin follis.[1] Doublet of follis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /fuːl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːl

Noun[edit]

fool (plural fools)

  1. (derogatory) A person with poor judgment or little intelligence.
    You were a fool to cross that busy road without looking.
    The village fool threw his own shoes down the well.
    • 1743, Benjamin Franklin
      Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge Chapter 13
      ‘If I coloured at all, Mr Edward,’ said Joe, ‘which I didn’t know I did, it was to think I should have been such a fool as ever to have any hope of her. She’s as far out of my reach as—as Heaven is.’
    • 1895, Rudyard Kipling, If—
      If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
      ⁠Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools
    • 2001, Starsailor, Poor Misguided Fool
      You're just a poor misguided fool
      Who thinks they know what I should do
      A line for me and a line for you
      I lose my right to a point of view.
    • 2008, Adele, Crazy for You
      And every time I'm meant to be acting sensible
      You drift into my head
      And turn me into a crumbling fool.
  2. (historical) A jester; a person whose role was to entertain a sovereign and the court (or lower personages).
    • 1896, Frederick Peterson IN Popular Science Monthly Volume 50 December 1896 , Idiots Savants
      This court fool could say bright things on occasion, but his main use to the ladies and lords of the palace was to serve as victim to practical jokes, cruel, coarse, and vulgar enough to be appreciated perhaps in the Bowery.
  3. (informal) Someone who derives pleasure from something specified.
    • 1671, John Milton, Samson Agonistes
      Can they think me [] their fool or jester?
    • 1975, Foghat, "Fool for the City" (song), Fool for the City (album):
      I'm a fool for the city.
  4. (slang, chiefly African-American Vernacular) Buddy, dude, man.
    • 2010, G.C. Deuce, From the Gutter to the Grave: An American Hood Novel, Xlibris Corporation (→ISBN), page 291:
      Upon opening the door, Trech was suddenly drawn aback by the shocking presence of the armed goon standing directly in front of him. “Yo, what up fool? []
    • 2012, Peron Long, Livin' Ain't Easy, Urban Books (→ISBN)
      “What up, fool?” he finally responded. “Not too much; fell asleep watching your boys get their asses kicked,” I told him, referring to the Carolina Cougars, the last team he played for before he got sick.
    • 2014, Hitta Lo, Bracing Season I, Kaleidoscopic Publishing (→ISBN)
      Fame leaves out the house and walks to the BP gas station on Alabama Avenue. On the way there he sees his man Mark posted up at the rec center and walks over to holla at him. “What’s up fool?” Mark says while dapping Fame up.
    • 2018, Keith L. Bell, Drought Season Over: The Sequel, Xlibris Corporation (→ISBN)
      “What up fool?” Lil Slim said noticing the seriousness in Lil Kilo’s voice. “You ain’t switched up on us have you.” Lil Fresh looked at Lil Kilo like where that come from. “Nigga I’ll neva switch up.” Lil Slim said feeling a little offended.
    • 2020, J. Lewis Johnson, A Dark Night in the Fieldhouse:
      [page 10:] "I knew you'd be scared," Reggie laughed. "What are you doin', foo? You must be crazy. You don't scare me." "Then why did you almost fall out of that chair? I scare everyone."
      [page 38:] "This is coo," said Fred. "It's almost like being there." "We are there, foo!" said Reggie as the boys slapped palms.
  5. (cooking) A type of dessert made of puréed fruit and custard or cream.
    an apricot fool; a gooseberry fool
  6. (often capitalized, Fool) A particular card in a tarot deck, representing a jester.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

fool (third-person singular simple present fools, present participle fooling, simple past and past participle fooled)

  1. To trick; to deceive
    • 1918, Florence White Williams, The Little Red Hen
      She bit it gently and found that it resembled a worm in no way whatsoever as to taste although because it was long and slender, a Little Red Hen might easily be fooled by its appearance.
    • 1986 June 6, Richard Feynman, “Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle”, in Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, Report to the President:
      There appears to be no process of gradually fooling oneself while degrading standards so characteristic of the Solid Rocket Booster or Space Shuttle Main Engine safety systems.
  2. To act in an idiotic manner; to act foolishly
    • 1681/1682, John Dryden, The Spanish Fryar
      Is this a time for fooling?
    • 1972, Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (page 56)
      She's always complaining that she got stuck with the worst possible committee. And that me and Jimmy fool more than we work.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from the verb fool

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

fool (comparative fooler or more fool, superlative foolest or most fool)

  1. (informal) Foolish.
    • 2011, Gayle Kaye, Sheriff Takes a Bride
      That was a fool thing to do. You could have gotten yourself shot
    • 1909, Gene Stratton-Porter, A Girl of the Limberlost
      Of all the fool, fruitless jobs, making anything of a creature that begins by deceiving her, is the foolest a sane woman ever undertook.

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ fool in: T. F. Hoad, Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 2003, →ISBN

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French fol (French fou (mad)) from Latin follis.[1]

Noun[edit]

fool

  1. Alternative form of fole (fool)

Adjective[edit]

fool

  1. Alternative form of fole (foolish)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English fola.

Noun[edit]

fool

  1. Alternative form of fole (foal)

Rohingya[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Sanskrit पागल (pāgala)

Noun[edit]

fool

  1. mad man
  1. ^ fool in: T. F. Hoad, Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 2003, →ISBN