fool's gold

Updated on: 8 Jan 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


fool's paradise


Definition of fool's paradise

: a state of delusory happiness

Examples of fool's paradise in a Sentence

  1. We are headed for economic trouble, and anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a fool's paradise.

First Known Use of fool's paradise

15th century

fool's parsley


Definition of fool's parsley

: a poisonous European weed (Aethusa cynapium) of the carrot family that resembles parsley and is naturalized in the northern U.S. and southern Canada

First Known Use of fool's parsley




Definition of fool's-coat

plural fool's-coats
: goldfinch 1a

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Origin and Etymology of fool's-coat

so called from its gaudy, multicolored plumage

fool's cress


Definition of fool's cress

fool's errand


Definition of fool's errand

: a needless or profitless errand

fool's huckleberry


Definition of fool's huckleberry

: a straggling shrub (Menziesia ferruginea) of northwestern North America with glandular hirsute petioles and pedicels


noun plural but singular or plural in construction

Definition of fool's-stones

: any of several European orchids of the genus Orchis

Origin and Etymology of fool's-stones

so called from the resemblance of the roots to testes

fool's watercress


Definition of fool's watercress

: a European perennial herb (Apium nodiflorum) with simple pinnate leaves and umbels of greenish white flowers

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

fool's paradise


Definition of fool's paradise for English Language Learners

  • : a state of happiness that is based on mistaken beliefs or false ideas

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of, relating to, or resembling a lion

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