fool·​ish | \ ˈfü-lish How to pronounce foolish (audio) \

Definition of foolish

1 : having or showing a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion a foolish mistake She takes foolish risks.
2a : absurd, ridiculous He looked foolish in that hat.
b : marked by a loss of composure : nonplussed He felt foolish when he couldn't remember where he had parked the car.

Other Words from foolish

foolishly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for foolish

simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine mean actually or apparently deficient in intelligence. simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort. considered people simple who had trouble with computers foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense. foolish stunts silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior. the silly antics of revelers fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality. fatuous conspiracy theories asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception. an asinine plot

Examples of foolish in a Sentence

He was wearing a foolish grin. She's been taking foolish risks. Those flashy clothes make her look foolish. She must feel foolish wearing those flashy clothes. I never thought you'd be foolish enough to believe him.
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, both the inability to abide by the norms which bind everyone else and the casual and foolish falsehood which followed speak to flaws in Johnson's makeup. Rosa Prince, CNN, 7 July 2022 Any other of these preposterously wild and unsubstantiated snowballing exclamations are purely knee-jerk reactions and regrettably foolish and outrightly foolhardy. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 15 June 2022 The bottom line here is golfers being dollar-wise and brand foolish. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 11 June 2022 The move is penny-wise but pound-foolish, critics say, because suspending aid to poorer countries could facilitate the kind of unchecked viral transmission that breeds worrisome new variants. Karen Kaplanscience And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Of the free, varied society that, wise or foolish, elevated him. David Mamet, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 When Democrats talk about possibly trying some unorthodox and arguably foolish progressive approach to policy, liberal pollsters and strategists lapse immediately into panic mode — and for very good reason. Damon Linker, The Week, 25 Mar. 2022 The kind of fiscal responsibility that Manchin preaches, in light of the system that is financially strapping young people at every turn, is penny-smart but dollar-foolish. Abdul El-sayed, The New Republic, 10 Nov. 2021 Remember, being fooled and looking foolish are close cousins. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 9 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foolish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of foolish

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foolish

see fool entry 1

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Time Traveler for foolish

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near foolish

fool hen


foolish guillemot

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Statistics for foolish

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Foolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for foolish


fool·​ish | \ ˈfü-lish How to pronounce foolish (audio) \

Kids Definition of foolish

: showing or resulting from lack of good sense a foolish man a foolish choice

Other Words from foolish

foolishly adverb
foolishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on foolish

Nglish: Translation of foolish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foolish for Arabic Speakers


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