\ 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 way to resolve your dispute is to apologize for your lack of trust and to stop trying to make a fool of him for being the person who is forbidden to mix with his colleagues on business trips. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Wife of traveling businessman worries," 30 Dec. 2019 Predicting the demise of the New England Patriots is a long-running parlor game that leaves no winners, only regret and fools. Adam Kilgore,, "Questions keep stacking up against Patriots, and answers aren’t easy to find," 9 Dec. 2019 First, as with many such startups, a game of the greater fool is at work. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Scooter Company Bird Is Worth $2.5 Billion—Data Sheet," 4 Oct. 2019 Both series are about families of high-strung fools who try to compensate for the emptiness at their core with the status symbols of extreme wealth. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "What HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones gets right about evangelicals," 19 Aug. 2019 Bertrand asked the mayor if, in retrospect, Johnson had made a fool of her. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: As Mayor Lightfoot hands Eddie Johnson his walking papers - a look back at how she stood up for him, and the timeline for replacing him," 2 Dec. 2019 Feed Your Pup's Ambitions with Nutrition With his back to goal, the Norway international made a fool of Aaron Wan-Bissaka with a FIFA Street-style reverse flick, before steering an acrobatic effort beyond David de Gea to earn his side a 1-0 win., "6 of the Best Moments from Another Thrilling Weekend of Premier League Action," 4 Nov. 2019 But for heaven’s sake, man, don’t make a fool of yourself. Bruce Jenkins,, "Somebody tell the NBA that tampering is essential," 2 Nov. 2019 Let Rudy Guiliani continue to make a fool of himself on television. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Opinion: There Is No Reason To Fear Impeachment, Beloveds," 1 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Akridge also said that supporters shouldn't be fooled by the prospect of a park around the detention pond because that pond would be dug anyway. Paul Gattis |, al, "Huntsville to build $3.6 million park at Hays Farm," 10 Jan. 2020 March 17: Do not be fooled by the tricks of the Irish, that is not Diplo doing the Riverdance. Kat Bein, Billboard, "The Year in Diplo Photos," 30 Dec. 2019 Anything a human can remember is easily cracked by these algorithms which aren’t fooled by common tricks, such as replacing 0 with O or a with @. NBC News, "The worst passwords of 2019: They're so weak even a novice hacker could crack them," 28 Dec. 2019 The latest victim was Bologna defender Mattia Bani, who was fooled by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for Juventus’ opening goal in a 2-1 win Saturday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ronaldo’s step-over move fools another defender," 19 Oct. 2019 Somebody should tell the producers that nobody is fooled by those loopy little wires with the quote marks on the end of them. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: “… and that’s when I swear I saw Elvis walk across my living room in blue suede shoes.”," 22 Sep. 2019 Computer scientists, in an experiment similar to Kneron's, recently fooled face sensors using pictures from Facebook. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Airport and Payment Facial Recognition Systems Fooled By Masks and Photos, Raising Security Concerns," 12 Dec. 2019 But history finally came for people who believed they had somehow transcended it, or fooled it, and Lampedusa was no exception. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Oldest Money: Inside Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Sicilian Palazzo," 10 Dec. 2019 With the Buckeyes coming the other way on a 2-on-1 break, Gustaf Westlund’s low slap shot fooled LaFontaine between the knees for a 1-1 deadlock after 20 minutes. Jess Myers, Twin Cities, "Ben Meyers’ OT breakaway sends Gophers to the break on a happy note," 9 Dec. 2019

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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on fool

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fool

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fool

Spanish Central: Translation of fool

Nglish: Translation of fool for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fool for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fool

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