\ 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 — see also fool around
b : to meddle, tamper, or experiment especially thoughtlessly or ignorantly Don't fool with that drill. — see also fool around with
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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Country singer Luke Bryan may sing about raising a glass and letting loose, but don’t let the party vibes fool you. Lisa Zobel, ABC News, 3 Aug. 2022 The new in-ear models, called Free Byrd, are easily the company’s smallest Bluetooth offering yet, but don’t let their size fool you. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 8 July 2022 Don’t let their name fool you, writes critic Britt Julious. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 4 July 2022 Don’t let the image fool you: this bug-repelling device fits in the palm of your hand. The Editors, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 Yet even if trained as a comedian, Zelensky is no fool. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 The bubble price Estavi paid epitomizes the greater fool theory at work. Jeff Kauflin, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Joyce himself was apt to play the holy fool, a near-blind wanderer across Europe. James Campbell, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Yet too often in these last two games, the Celtics have played the fool. Globe Staff,, 14 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The game has a top-down, almost paper diorama look to it that may fool some people into thinking it’s a children’s title. Francisco Lahoz, PCMAG, 27 July 2022 The right-hander has 73 strikeouts in 64 innings at Triple-A this season but appeared not to fool Mariners’ hitters, who swung at 33 of his pitches and missed just one. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 June 2022 Kiki Milk, started by husband-wife duo Alex and Lauren Abelin have come out with a chocolate milk that’s likely to fool little ones. Esha Chhabra, Forbes, 29 June 2022 Whatever the technology that was used, the result was clearly good enough to fool some of the people for some of the time, and that should be cause for concern. David Meyer, Fortune, 27 June 2022 The men left plaster heads made with real human hair in their beds to fool the guards. Fox News, 22 June 2022 But about $20 billion of those payments went to scammers who posed as prison inmates — or, in one instance, faked being Sen. Dianne Feinstein — to fool state officials into sending them checks. Gregory Yeestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2022 The study found that these tricks don’t fool all minds. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 13 June 2022 But don’t let the early clouds fool you — it’s a rather nice afternoon for outdoor activities as skies turn partly to mostly sunny with somewhat lower humidity (dew points dropping to near 60). Molly Robey, Washington Post, 3 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for fool

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

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for fool


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on fool

Nglish: Translation of fool for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fool for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fool


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