folly

noun
fol·​ly | \ ˈfä-lē How to pronounce folly (audio) \
plural follies

Definition of folly

1 : lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight his folly in thinking he could not be caught
2a : criminally or tragically foolish actions or conduct
b obsolete : evil, wickedness especially : lewd behavior
3 : a foolish act or idea The prank was a youthful folly.
4 : an excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking Paying so much for that land was folly, since it was all rocks and scrub trees.
5 : an often extravagant picturesque building erected to suit a fanciful taste

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Examples of folly in a Sentence

the folly of driving fast on steep, winding roads his folly in thinking that he would not be noticed The folly of such an action should be apparent to everyone. the follies of the modern world the famous Ziegfeld Follies of the 1920s
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Recent Examples on the Web

The fashion designer’s first museum show highlights his sartorial follies, fantasies and phantasmagoria. WSJ, "‘Thierry Mugler: Couturissime’ Review: Beyond Couture," 18 Mar. 2019 The Jaguars were on the verge of knocking off New England when a flurry of follies in Foxborough aided Brady's two-TD rally that sent the seemingly impervious Patriots back to another Super Bowl. USA TODAY, "Patriots don't need any help but they tend to get it," 28 Jan. 2018 This is surely the humans' greatest folly, their inability to look past the droids' occasional limitations to treat them with dignity. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 8: The Great Ghost Nation Mystery," 11 June 2018 Other Broward follies include ballot misprints, posting results before polls closed and more. James Freeman, WSJ, "Broward County Pension Recount," 5 Dec. 2018 Still, a shaft of light must be descending on Shenzhen, illuminating the folly of putting her in such a position in the first place. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "What to Do About Huawei?," 11 Dec. 2018 Numerous experts have written op-eds explaining the folly of withdrawal. Susan Peterson, Washington Post, "Experts don’t like Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal — or his foreign policy in general," 16 May 2018 Democrats are in the minority and many are pointing to Reid’s tweet as evidence of the folly of changing the Senate rules. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Why Republicans Are Suddenly Thanking Harry Reid for a 2013 Tweet About Filibuster Reform," 28 June 2018 From the ground up, this particular folly starts out as a rather orthodox summer house, only to grow upwards into a massive, 37 feet-high sandstone pineapple. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "You Can Rent a Pineapple Palace on the Airbnb For Historic Homes," 16 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'folly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of folly

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for folly

Middle English folie, from Anglo-French, from fol fool

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Statistics for folly

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for folly

The first known use of folly was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for folly

folly

noun

English Language Learners Definition of folly

: the lack of good sense or judgment
: a foolish act or idea : foolish behavior
: a very unusual or fancy building that was built in a garden for decoration or amusement in the past

folly

noun
fol·​ly | \ ˈfä-lē How to pronounce folly (audio) \
plural follies

Kids Definition of folly

1 : lack of good sense His own folly caused his trouble.
2 : a foolish act or idea That plan was sheer folly.

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More from Merriam-Webster on folly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with folly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for folly

Spanish Central: Translation of folly

Nglish: Translation of folly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of folly for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about folly

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