\ 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


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.


The dog was barking its fool head off. Some fool driver kept trying to pass me!


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

Keep in mind however, that these lists aren't fool-proof and often a hungry deer will still munch on these plants even if they are placed on a such a list. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Get hydrangea to sprout roots for successful transplant," 30 Aug. 2019 Bajarin's uncertainty is echoed by 556 Ventures analyst William Ho, who cautions that trying to handicap pricing in light of the tariffs is a fool's errand. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "For Holiday Shoppers Buying Tech, the Best Time to Dodge Tariffs May Be Now… or Never?," 17 Aug. 2019 Thus, the following picks are educated guesses at best and indulgences in a fool's exercise worst., "U.S. Open Predictions: Winner, Sleeper, Tiger, Phil and More," 13 June 2018 She, too, doesn’t suffer fools and meets her diagnosis with clear eyes and a strong heart. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘Seasons’ gently and movingly showcases the human circle of life | Review," 14 Sep. 2019 Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the justices are not fools. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Republican senators just sent the US Supreme Court a strange letter," 30 Aug. 2019 Three weeks of performance can be fool’s gold, but when spring camp opened, Jones looked like the odd man out among three backups to Philip Rivers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Behind Philip Rivers is a QB surprise, one the NFL and XFL may be examining," 26 Aug. 2019 Falling back on that strategy alone may be fool’s gold. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, "The Destructive Politics of White Amnesia," 6 Aug. 2019 Our plan of bringing the kitties to the beach was beginning to feel like a fool’s errand. Special To The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "What happened when we took our cats on a beach vacation," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But don’t be fooled when the headline drops into your timeline announcing this victory. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Deporting Harvard Students Was Always the Goal," 28 Aug. 2019 But don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the final price. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "Basic, premium economy or ‘Saver’? Inside airlines’ new class system," 17 Aug. 2019 Chateau Tumbleweed 2017 Rosé ($25) Don’t be fooled by the dark shade that may conjure up Kool-Aid memories. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "12 Arizona wines to sip by the pool this summer," 1 Aug. 2019 The hundreds of docks here often hold reds and flounder, and at night also harbor some jumbo trout—large live shrimp free-lined will fool them. Frank Sargeant, al, "Get outdoors notes from around Alabama," 27 Aug. 2019 For dessert, we were warned not to be fooled by the simplicity of the mini popsicle. Amanda Fletcher, Orange County Register, "Monarch Bay Beach Club makes anyone feel like a local," 15 Aug. 2019 Javier Zarracina/Vox How our fears and desires fool us This neurobiological process is best observed in a research study, published in 2005 in the journal Biological Psychiatry, by the neuro-economist Gregory Berns. Robert Pearl, Vox, "Understanding the science of regrettable decisions," 23 July 2019 Admittedly, narrow preview builds mean devs could still be fooling us with some smoke and mirrors—this is E3, land of unfinished games—but all of the below demos presented well enough at E3 to pass our sniff test for hype and BS. Sam Machkovech And Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "The best games, demos, and tech of E3 2019," 14 June 2019 Just don’t fool yourself into thinking #Trumpinsaninterationaldisgrace is going to shame him or change anything. Mary Mcnamara,, "Twitter’s response to London’s Trump protests were great fun and just what he wants," 4 June 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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More Definitions for fool



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fool

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on fool

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


a bell tower

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