fol·​de·​rol ˈfäl-də-ˌräl How to pronounce folderol (audio)
variants or less commonly falderal
: a useless ornament or accessory : trifle

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Hogwash. Claptrap. Hooey. Drivel. Malarkey. English is rife with words that mean "nonsense," and "folderol" is one of the many. Though not the most common of the words for nonsense, it's been around since 1820 and is still heard today. "Folderol" comes from "fol-de-rol" (or "fal-de-ral"), which used to be a nonsense refrain in songs, much like "tra-la-la." The oldest recorded instance of someone "singing folderol" occurs in Irish dramatist George Farquhar's 1701 play Sir Harry Wildair, in which a character sings, "Fal, al, deral!"

Examples of folderol in a Sentence

I wish we could just discuss these questions without having to go through all the folderol of a formal meeting. wanted a dignified, simple wedding and not the folderol that the wedding planner was trying to foist on them
Recent Examples on the Web Yet Bennett and pianist Ralph Sharon strip away any and all rococo folderol to get to the meat of rejection with their spare, cutting (yet still happily hammy) rendition. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 21 July 2023 But beneath the back-and-forth, the folderol exposes a larger weakness of his position. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11 May 2023 Luse had no use for such modern folderol. Tom Henderson | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 25 July 2022 The worst instance of intersectional folderol is Jeffrey Wright’s subplot exploiting the racially confused legacy of both James Baldwin and Anatole Broyard. Armond White, National Review, 5 Nov. 2021 Yet most Americans are barely aware of the political folderol that has been going on for years. Delthia Ricks, Discover Magazine, 27 Jan. 2010 But this is a mess of its own making, a needless folderol that accomplished nothing beyond making the group seem messy and divided. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 25 Oct. 2022 For instance, designer David Zinn has built the show a lovely Buckingham Palace, repeating the gilt folderol of the Longacre Theatre’s proscenium on the columns and gates that enclose the stage. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 17 Nov. 2021 Firefox and Safari had already deprecated third-party cookies some time ago, without much digital ad industry folderol and no industry input. David Doty, Forbes, 25 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'folderol.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


fol-de-rol, a nonsense refrain in songs

First Known Use

circa 1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of folderol was circa 1820


Dictionary Entries Near folderol

Cite this Entry

“Folderol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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