foolhardy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English folehardy, foolhardi, folherdi, from Old French fol hardi (foolishly bold), from Old French fol (foolish, silly; insane, mad) (from Latin follis (bellows; purse, sack; inflated ball; belly, paunch), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰelǵʰ- (to swell)) + Old French hardi (durable, hardy, tough) (past tense of hardir (to harden), from the unattested Frankish *hartjan, from Proto-Germanic *harduz (hard; brave)), equivalent to fool +‎ hardy. Compare fool-bold, fool-large, etc.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

foolhardy (comparative foolhardier or more foolhardy, superlative foolhardiest or most foolhardy)

  1. Marked by unthinking recklessness with disregard for danger; boldly rash; hotheaded.
    • 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Monkes Prologue”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], OCLC 230972125; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, [], [London]: Printed by [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes [], 1542, OCLC 932884868, folio lxxxix, verso, column 1:
      This is my lyfe, but yf that I wold fight / And out at dore, anon I mote me dight / And els I am loſt, but yf that I / Belyke a wylde lyon, fole hardy
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • 1876, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter VI, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Hartford, Conn.: The American Publishing Company, OCLC 1000326417, page 68:
      The master's pulse stood still, and he stared helplessly. The buzz of study ceased. The pupils wondered if this fool-hardy boy had lost his mind.
    • 2000, Bill Bryson, chapter 1, in In a Sunburned Country, 1st US edition, New York, N.Y.: Broadway Books, →ISBN, page 14:
      In the middle distance several foolhardy souls in wet suits were surfing toward some foamy outbursts on the rocky headland; nearer in, a scattering of paddlers was being continually and, it seemed, happily engulfed by explosive waves.
    • 2017 March 26, “The Observer view on triggering article 50: As Britain hurtles towards the precipice, truth and democracy are in short supply”, in The Observer[1], London, archived from the original on 30 August 2017:
      It is a reckless, foolhardy leap into the unknown and the prelude, perhaps, to what the existentialist writer Albert Camus described in La chute – a fall from grace, in every conceivable sense.

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Middle English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

foolhardy

  1. Alternative form of folehardy

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