fool's errand

noun

: a needless or profitless endeavor
"No, no. You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again."Jane Austen
Predicting what will happen with China is a fool's errand. China is the exception that proves so many rules wrong.John Feffer
While trying to change European opinion of America is not exactly a fool's errand, neither should we expect much from the effort.James W. Ceaser

Examples of fool's errand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Making predictions before prospects even begin their final seasons, then, is inherently a fool's errand. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2023 Drawing grand conclusions from 13 games is a fool's errand, especially with this team. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 13 Apr. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1629, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fool's errand was circa 1629

Dictionary Entries Near fool's errand

Cite this Entry

“Fool's errand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fool%27s%20errand. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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