from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Lack of good sense, understanding, or foresight.
  • noun An act or instance of foolishness.
  • noun A costly undertaking having an absurd or ruinous outcome.
  • noun An elaborate theatrical revue consisting of music, dance, and skits.
  • noun A structure, such as a pavilion in a garden, that is chiefly decorative rather than practical in purpose.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Foolish.
  • To act with folly; act foolishly.
  • noun The character or conduct of a fool; the state of being foolish; weakness of judgment or character, or actions which spring from it; want of understanding; weak or light-minded conduct.
  • noun Something regard for or attention to which is foolish.
  • noun Specifically Conduct morally bad; wickedness; wantonness.
  • noun A costly structure or other undertaking left unfinished for want of means, too expensive to be properly maintained, built in a very ill-chosen place, or the like; an enterprise that exhausts or ruins the projector.
  • noun Synonyms Nonsense, foolishness, senselessness, ridiculousness, extravagance, indiscretion, imbecility. See list under absurdity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state of being foolish; want of good sense; levity, weakness, or derangement of mind.
  • noun A foolish act; an inconsiderate or thoughtless procedure; weak or light-minded conduct; foolery.
  • noun Scandalous crime; sin; specifically, as applied to a woman, wantonness.
  • noun The result of a foolish action or enterprise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Foolishness.
  • noun Thoughtless action resulting in tragic consequence.
  • noun A fanciful building built for purely ornamental reasons.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the quality of being rash and foolish
  • noun a stupid mistake
  • noun foolish or senseless behavior
  • noun the trait of acting stupidly or rashly


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English folie, from Old French, from fol, foolish, from Late Latin follis, windbag, fool; see fool.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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  • III. i.75 (201,2) [But wise-men's folly fall'n] Sir Thomas Hammer reads, _folly shewn_.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • I. ii.23 (14,4) his valour is crushed into folly] To be _crushed into folly_, is to be _confused_ and mingled with _folly_, so as that they make one mass together.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • And if any offer of alliance or parley of individual elders comes from home, the false spirits shut the gates of the castle and permit no one to enter, — there is a battle, and they gain the victory; and straightway making alliance with the desires, they banish modesty, which they call folly, and send temperance over the border.

    The Republic by Plato ; translated by Benjamin Jowett 2006

  • He blamed himself for what he called the folly of the past weeks.

    Maurice Guest 2003

  • Judasa said it would do everything in its power to try and convince Health Minster Nkosazana Zuma of what it called the folly of the plan.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1996

  • Mrs. Lewis begged that Elma should not be taken away from her; and Mrs. Steward, angry with herself for what she termed her folly, had yet yielded to her sister's entreaties.

    Wild Kitty L. T. Meade 1884

  • "I'm afraid what you call my folly didn't avail, for they wanted what they saw in my portfolio."

    Tales of Trail and Town Bret Harte 1869

  • Captain Gauley and Mat laughed at what they called the folly of Levi, and assured Bessie he would never find her.

    Freaks of Fortune or, Half Round the World Oliver Optic 1859

  • It cannot be said that he had not felt and secretly resented what he called the folly of the unreasonable old man.

    David Fleming's Forgiveness 1859

  • ` Rather than spoil my uniform, I would have knocked him on the head with a pole, 'said a third; and it was a long time before what they termed my folly was forgotten or forgiven.

    Black Ivory Francis B. Pearson 1859


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  • What is life but a series of inspired follies?

    -Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw

    August 3, 2009