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

  • n. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
  • n. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: I was a fool to have quit my job.
  • n. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: They made a fool of me by pretending I had won.
  • n. Informal A person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity: a dancing fool; a fool for skiing.
  • n. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
  • n. One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth: a holy fool.
  • n. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
  • n. Archaic A mentally deficient person; an idiot.
  • transitive v. To deceive or trick; dupe: "trying to learn how to fool a trout with a little bit of floating fur and feather” ( Charles Kuralt).
  • transitive v. To confound or prove wrong; surprise, especially pleasantly: We were sure they would fail, but they fooled us.
  • intransitive v. Informal To speak or act facetiously or in jest; joke: I was just fooling when I said I had to leave.
  • intransitive v. Informal To behave comically; clown.
  • intransitive v. Informal To feign; pretend: He said he had a toothache but he was only fooling.
  • intransitive v. To engage in idle or frivolous activity.
  • intransitive v. To toy, tinker, or mess: shouldn't fool with matches.
  • adj. Informal Foolish; stupid: off on some fool errand or other.
  • fool around Informal To engage in idle or casual activity; putter: was fooling around with the old car in hopes of fixing it.
  • fool around Informal To engage in frivolous activity; make fun.
  • fool around Informal To engage in casual, often promiscuous sexual acts.
  • fool away To waste (time or money) foolishly; squander: fooled away the week's pay on Friday night.
  • idiom play To act in an irresponsible or foolish manner.
  • idiom play To behave in a playful or comical manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person with poor judgment or little intelligence.
  • n. A jester; a person whose role was to entertain a sovereign and the court (or lower personages).
  • n. Someone who very much likes something specified.
  • n. A type of dessert made of puréed fruit and custard or cream.
  • n. A particular card in a tarot deck.
  • v. To trick; to make a fool of someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A compound of gooseberries scalded and crushed, with cream; -- commonly called gooseberry fool.
  • n. One destitute of reason, or of the common powers of understanding; an idiot; a natural.
  • n. A person deficient in intellect; one who acts absurdly, or pursues a course contrary to the dictates of wisdom; one without judgment; a simpleton; a dolt.
  • n. One who acts contrary to moral and religious wisdom; a wicked person.
  • n. One who counterfeits folly; a professional jester or buffoon; a retainer formerly kept to make sport, dressed fantastically in motley, with ridiculous accouterments.
  • intransitive v. To play the fool; to trifle; to toy; to spend time in idle sport or mirth.
  • transitive v. To infatuate; to make foolish.
  • transitive v. To use as a fool; to deceive in a shameful or mortifying manner; to impose upon; to cheat by inspiring foolish confidence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is deficient in intellect; a weak-minded or idiotic person.
  • n. One who is deficient in judgment or sense; a silly or stupid person; one who manifests either habitual or occasional lack of discernment or common sense: chiefly used as a term of disparagement, contempt, or self-depreciation.
  • n. One who counterfeits mental weakness or folly; a professional jester or buffoon; a retainer dressed in motley, with a pointed cap and bells on his head, and a mock scepter or bauble in his hand, formerly kept by persons of rank for the purpose of making sport. See bauble.
  • n. Figuratively, a tool, toy, sport, butt, or victim: as, to be the fool of circumstances.
  • n. A wanton, bad, or wicked person.
  • n. A conical paper cap which dunces at school are sometimes compelled to wear by way of punishment.
  • n. To act like one void of understanding.
  • n. Synonyms and Simpleton, ninny, dolt, witling, blockhead. driveler.
  • n. Harlequin, clown, jester. See zany.
  • Foolish; silly.
  • To play the fool; act like a weak-minded or foolish person; potter aimlessly or mischievously; toy; trifle.
  • To play the buffoon; act as a fool or jester.
  • To make a fool of; expose to contempt; disappoint; deceive; impose on.
  • To make foolish; infatuate.
  • To beguile; cheat: as, to fool one out of his money.
  • n. A light paste of flour and water, like pie-crust.
  • n. A sort of custard; a dish made of fruit crushed and scalded or stewed and mixed with whipped cream and sugar: as, gooseberry fool.

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

  • v. fool or hoax
  • v. make a fool or dupe of
  • n. a person who lacks good judgment
  • v. spend frivolously and unwisely
  • n. a professional clown employed to entertain a king or nobleman in the Middle Ages
  • v. indulge in horseplay
  • n. a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of


Middle English fol, from Old French, from Late Latin follis, windbag, fool, from Latin follis, bellows.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fōl ("fool"), from Old French fol (French fou ("mad")) from Latin follis. (Wiktionary)


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  • It is said that the nobleman who has fooled away so much money upon her, has at length recovered his senses.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 3 ch. 11

    September 18, 2008

  • "There's no fool like an old fool."

    July 22, 2008

  • "A fool and his money are soon parted", but how does a fool get any money to be parted from?

    January 19, 2007