\ ˈfül How to pronounce fool (audio) \

Definition of fool

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a person lacking in judgment or prudence Only a fool would ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
2a : a retainer (see retainer entry 1 sense 1) formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in motley with cap, bells, and bauble
b : one who is victimized or made to appear foolish : dupe History has made fools of many rash prophets.
3a : a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding
b : one with a marked propensity or fondness for something a dancing fool a fool for candy
4 : a cold dessert of pureed fruit mixed with whipped cream or custard

Definition of fool (Entry 2 of 3)

: foolish, silly barking its fool head off


fooled; fooling; fools

Definition of fool (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to behave foolishly told the children to stop their fooling often used with around
b : to meddle, tamper, or experiment especially thoughtlessly or ignorantly don't fool with that gun often used with around
2a : to play or improvise a comic role
b : to speak in jest : joke I was only fooling
3 : to contend or fight without serious intent or with less than full strength : toy a dangerous man to fool with

transitive verb

1 : to make a fool of : deceive
2 obsolete : infatuate
3 : to spend on trifles or without advantage : fritter used with away

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Examples of fool in a Sentence

Noun those fools who ride motorcycles without wearing helmets Only a fool would ask such a silly question. You'd be a fool to believe what he tells you. You're making yourself look like a fool. Adjective The dog was barking its fool head off. Some fool driver kept trying to pass me! Verb When she first told us that she was getting married, we thought she was fooling. His disguise didn't fool anybody. He really had me fooled. Stop fooling yourself—she doesn't really love you.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The result is a fool-proof sonic homage to an ever-lasting rap lineage. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Songs of 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 When all else fails—or even as a Plan A—duct tape is simply the best, most readily available, fool-proof, fire-catching material on the planet. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "10 Ways to Screw Up a Campfire (and How to Fix Them)," 28 Dec. 2020 Just like its sister Poppy, the Posey is graciously fool-proof, even for those of us who are quicker to forego toenail polish rather than paint ourselves. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Olive & June Has Invented the Pedicure Footstool You Didn't Know You Needed," 27 Oct. 2020 Even that isn’t fool-proof, though, as some players have set up their own netting. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Denver tennis community hit hard by coronavirus pandemic: “It set us back several years”," 28 Apr. 2020 Noelline is judged a successful adventuress, but Pianon is thought a double fool for having taken her back. Andrea Lee, The New Yorker, "The Rivals," 28 Dec. 2020 Fire also crawled into the mine along hundreds of feet of polyethylene pipe, a fuse that could have ignited the combustible pyrite — fool’s gold — causing an explosion deep inside the cavern. NBC News, "Wildfires fueled by climate change threaten toxic Superfund sites," 23 Dec. 2020 What decent team couldn’t get hot for a couple of months and fool everyone? Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Boy, was I wrong about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, the NBA and NHL restarts, and more," 22 Dec. 2020 Some have called him a hero for participating in the trial, and others have called him a fool. Angie Leventis Lourgos,, "Some COVID-19 vaccines are nearly ready for use. Others are still being tested. Here are some of the local volunteers taking part in vaccine trials.," 11 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Tony Holm, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football sizzlers, fizzlers for 2020: Justin Jefferson leads rookie receivers," 29 Dec. 2020 The way to fool the body is with anti-rejection drugs. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, "Murder-suicide leads to history-making heart transplant, new life for DC woman," 26 Dec. 2020 Even with grandma’s recipe, your beshbarmak won’t fool anyone in Zhezqazghan. James P. Dewan,, "Your cooking resolutions for 2021: Resolve to cook more good food by starting with simple goals," 28 Dec. 2020 Keighley notes that the online gaming fanbase, which is often extremely vocal and not always well behaved, can fool one into thinking everything is A-OK, despite even when it’s not. Los Angeles Times, "Getting Keanu Reeves for the Game Awards was easy, compared to all the COVID-19 precautions," 10 Dec. 2020 That might fool the plant into flowering a bit later. Neil Sperry,, "Neil Sperry: Christmas cactus blooms closer to Thanksgiving," 3 Dec. 2020 The giant grass-roof-style bunker silos that were built to fool spying satellites are still there today, though the base was officially decommissioned in 1993. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, "2020 in Review: Behold the Many Wonders of Michigan," 19 Dec. 2020 Don’t let the fact that this jacket weighs just ten ounces fool you: Its warmth and protection from both water and wind are not compromised by its lightweight feel. Lauren Levy, NBC News, "9 best women's winter coats 2020: Best winter jackets for women," 16 Dec. 2020 Use your best judgment and remember, there's always someone out there trying to fool you out of your money. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "5 scams spreading online that can cost you thousands," 18 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fool.' 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 fool


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1593, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for fool

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French fol, from Late Latin follis, from Latin, bellows, bag; akin to Old High German bolla blister, balg bag — more at belly

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Time Traveler for fool

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fool

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for fool


How to pronounce fool (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fool

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who lacks good sense or judgment : a stupid or silly person
US, informal : a person who enjoys something very much
chiefly British : a dessert made with cooked fruit and cream or a thick sauce



English Language Learners Definition of fool (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak or act in a way that is not serious
: to make (someone) believe something that is not true : to trick (someone)


\ ˈfül How to pronounce fool (audio) \

Kids Definition of fool

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person without good sense or judgment
2 : jester


fooled; fooling

Kids Definition of fool (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to speak or act in a playful way or in fun : joke We were only fooling.
2 : trick entry 2 Don't let them fool you.
3 : to spend time in an aimless way We fooled around in the playground before school.
4 : to play with or handle something carelessly Don't fool with my science project.

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Comments on fool

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