fool's gold

noun
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of fool's gold

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

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

noun

Definition of fool's gold for English Language Learners

  • : a mineral that looks like gold


Learn More about fool's gold


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fool's gold? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!