Definitions

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

  • noun Foolish behavior.
  • noun Something trivial or foolish; nonsense.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Foolish trifling; ridiculous behavior; nonsense.
  • noun Silly trifles; absurd ornaments or knick-knacks.

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

  • noun Folly; trifling.

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

  • noun Foolish behaviour
  • noun Cockney rhyming slang jewellery.

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

  • noun foolish or senseless behavior

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Tom (a common man) +‎ foolery

Examples

  • She made fun of what she called his tomfoolery, which prevented him from turning his position to account.

    Renée Mauperin

  • Five millennia of economic tomfoolery is bound to leave Egyptians confused about economic principles.

    Letter From Egypt

  • Five millennia of economic tomfoolery is bound to leave Egyptians confused about economic principles.

    Letter From Egypt

  • Whatever we get in November, it least it won't be Billary and this kind of tomfoolery!

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Whatever we get in November, it least it won't be Billary and this kind of tomfoolery!

    At least we dodged this bullet

  • Americans will always fall for this kind of tomfoolery, Stevey.

    This just in: Lisbon is NOT in the Middle East

  • But neither can the kind of tomfoolery engaged in by this very foolish Pope.

    Juan Cole: Pope Gets It Wrong On Islam

  • Many of the Whigs were opposed to these, regarding them as a thrust at Badger, the Register saying that they were "tomfoolery" and the work of "political mountebanks," but almost as many considered them as entirely proper, eminently timely, if indeed not rendered absolutely necessary by the national situation.

    Party Politics in North Carolina, 1835-1860

  • "Be a change for us city chaps," he suggested; and then exploding at what he called his "tomfoolery," set the dining-net all a-quivering and shaking.

    We of the Never-Never

  • But when Barber saw the curtains, he called them "tomfoolery," and tore them down.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy

Comments

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  • Akin to jackassery.

    August 16, 2007

  • Cockney rhyming slang (usually truncated to Tom) = jewellery (or jewelry if you're unfortunate enough to be American)(except then it doesn't actually rhyme).

    June 18, 2008

  • Odd. I'm American and I don't feel unfortunate at all.

    June 18, 2008

  • I was thinking the same thing, reesetee. It reminds me of what Bill Maher said in "When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden": If you were born in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, congratulations! You've won the population powerball of human history!

    (I think it appropriate that Bill Maher be quoted on the tomfoolery page. I think he'd appreciate the irony. :) )

    June 18, 2008

  • Yes, I suspect he would. :-)

    June 18, 2008

  • I suppose what johnmperry is referring to is our woeful lack of extraneous letters, compared to such British words as archaeology, foetus, oedema, apophthegm, and colour.

    June 18, 2008

  • Oh. That. ;-)

    June 19, 2008

  • What's a population powerball?

    June 19, 2008

  • Powerball is a U.S. lottery game, bilby--and also an Australian one, I believe?

    June 19, 2008

  • So how is not having extraneous letters unfortunate? Think of the annual savings in ink! Paper! Typing time!

    June 19, 2008