fool·​ish ˈfü-lish How to pronounce foolish (audio)
: having or showing a lack of good sense, judgment, or discretion
a foolish mistake
She takes foolish risks.
: absurd, ridiculous
He looked foolish in that hat.
: marked by a loss of composure : nonplussed
He felt foolish when he couldn't remember where he had parked the car.
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 The cascade of demands on Biden to hang it up was thus inevitable, and his team would be foolish to resort to catcalls against hand wringers and nervous nellies. E.j. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, 30 June 2024 From colleges to Capitol Hill, law offices, doctor’s offices, and beyond, Black people rebuffed the foolish assumption with Black excellence and epic responses on social media. Melissa Noel, Essence, 28 June 2024 But make no mistake: The Terps possess significant upside and could make this projection look foolish by March. 10. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 25 June 2024 Some of us would have used a stronger word than foolish. Los Angeles Times, 22 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for foolish 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foolish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see fool entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near foolish

Cite this Entry

“Foolish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


fool·​ish ˈfü-lish How to pronounce foolish (audio)
: lacking in good sense or judgment : silly
foolishly adverb
foolishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on foolish

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