fool's paradise

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First recorded in the Paston Letters (1462).


fool's paradise (plural fools' paradises)

  1. (idiomatic) A state of happiness due to illusion or false hope.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
      Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word: and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you out; what she bade me say, I will keep to myself: but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross kind of behavior, as they say: for the gentlewoman is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.
    • 1959, John Knowles, chapter 3, in A Separate Peace:
      The Devon School record books contained a mistake, a lie, and nobody knew it but Finny and me. A. Hopkins Parker was living in a fool's paradise, wherever he was. His defeated name remained in bronze on the school record plaque, while Finny deliberately evaded an athletic honor.
    • 2004, Jenny Booth, "Mean employers blamed for pensions gap," TimesOnline (London), 13 Dec,
      A report by the Pensions Commission warned that the number who were failing to save enough for their retirement was higher than 12 million, and said that Britain had been living in a "fool's paradise" for 25 years.