\ 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

Noun 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. Adjective The dog was barking its fool head off. Some fool driver kept trying to pass me! Verb 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 But Hall spears that too, laying it out with honesty while also confidently detailing the absurdity of classism (because only a fool would choose Alain over Harry). Maureen Lee Lenker,, 2 June 2021 Dylan presents himself in these songs as a hapless Everyman, a fool, a coward overwhelmed if not oppressed by events. New York Times, 24 May 2021 What’s the big deal with putting on that blindfold and playing the fool? Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2020 Newman is nobody’s fool — the sauce has a distinctive fennel flavor that some will like. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021 The bipartisan project of undermining the left in this country has been, quite literally, a fool’s errand. Astra Taylor, The New Republic, 6 May 2021 Gide, no fool, made a firm offer to publish the rest of the novel, which the Nouvelle Revue did, right through to its completion. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 3 May 2021 Only a fool would let someone as special as this slip away. Jasmine Grant, Essence, 24 Nov. 2020 Many Democrats believe that the quest for compromise is a fool’s errand in an era of polarized politics. William A. Galston, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Don't let these photos fool you though: House of Gucci is no Notebook. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 Mar. 2021 But don’t let its appearance fool you—this home is located in Los Angeles, not Palm Beach or any of its neighboring towns. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, 22 Feb. 2021 Don’t let the final box score from the Dodgers’ 11-6 victory, or Bauer’s final pitching line (6⅓ innings, three hits, four runs and 10 strikeouts), fool you. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2021 Don’t let the sister fool you, the Ramblers’ fan base has a Chicago vocabulary. John Canzano, oregonlive, 27 Mar. 2021 All that bait milling around on the surface makes an easy target for the bass—and for anglers who are trying to fool them. Frank Sargeant, al, 2 May 2021 Seth Jarvis has not scored yet this season, but don’t let that fool you. Samantha Meese, oregonlive, 22 Mar. 2021 The town is just two blocks long but don’t let that fool you. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 11 Mar. 2021 But critics say Tesla’s system is easy to fool and can take as long as a minute to shut down. Tom Krisher, ajc, 20 Apr. 2021

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


circa 1529, 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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Learn More about fool

Time Traveler for fool

Time Traveler

The first known use of fool was in the 13th century

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Statistics for fool

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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