folly

play
noun fol·ly \ ˈfä-lē \

Definition of folly

plural follies
1 :lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight
  • his folly in thinking he could not be caught
2 a :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

Examples of folly in a Sentence

  1. the folly of driving fast on steep, winding roads

  2. his folly in thinking that he would not be noticed

  3. The folly of such an action should be apparent to everyone.

  4. the follies of the modern world

  5. the famous Ziegfeld Follies of the 1920s

Recent Examples of folly from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of folly

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


FOLLY Defined for English Language Learners

folly

play
noun

Definition of folly for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

folly

play
noun fol·ly \ ˈfä-lē \

Definition of folly for Students

plural follies
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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