fool's gold

noun
Updated on: 16 Apr 2018

Definition of fool's gold

: pyrite; broadly : any of various pyritic minerals resembling gold

Recent Examples of fool's gold from the Web

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

First Known Use of fool's gold

1872


Financial Definition of FOOL'S GOLD

fool's gold

What It Is

Fool's gold is a shiny mineral called pyrite which bears great resemblance to, and is often confused with, real gold.

How It Works

Actually an iron-based mineral, pyrite is known for being yellow and shiny and appearing no different from real gold. But unlike real gold, fool's gold bears little, if any, intrinsic, social, or market value. Fool's gold has historically been found in mass quantities and mistaken for gold ore. Its name refers to those it "fools" into believing they have discovered a gold mine.

Why It Matters

Though it's no longer a term specific to mining, the term fool's gold is still often used to describe an investment that appears promising to the uninformed, but whose underlying value is actually nothing.


FOOL'S GOLD Defined for English Language Learners

fool's gold

Definition of fool's gold for English Language Learners

  • : a mineral that looks like gold


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