fool

noun
\ 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

fool

adjective

Definition of fool (Entry 2 of 3)

: foolish, silly barking its fool head off

fool

verb
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

We are asked to see him simultaneously as a genius and a fool. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, "What Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” Tells Us Now," 13 June 2019 Treating dads like incapable fools is not just insulting to them but to the detriment of women. Bethanie Baynes, refinery29.com, "You Know What Dads Don't Need This Father's Day? Momsplaining," 10 June 2019 Billie eventually nailed her scene on the fourth try, but called her dad afterward to tell him about making a fool of herself. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Billie Lourd Wishes She Had a Movie Like "Booksmart" When She Was in High School," 20 May 2019 No one wants to be made a fool of, so a mind reader must make the con a pleasure to his prey. Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader, "Mark Toland isn't really reading our minds—is he?," 16 May 2018 Don't let the star power fool you: Ted Bundy was a real person, and his crimes were monstrous. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Elizabeth Kendall's Ted Bundy Memoir Is the Inspiration Behind the New Netflix Film," 3 May 2019 And finding that strength gives you the power to flex on fools? Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Meet Shaymaa Ismaa'eel, the Muslim Girl Who Posed for Pics in front of Islamophobic Protestors," 24 Apr. 2019 For a fool proof method and a refreshing drink every time, here's the recipe for a classic margarita, in 3 easy steps. Leah Silverman, Town & Country, "How to Make the Perfect Margarita," 11 Apr. 2019 Any fool with a phone can take a beautiful picture of a sunset on a clear evening (ugh, #nofilter braggers), but snap a waterproof case on and take some nature shots to for the 'gram. Gena Kaufman, Glamour, "21 Rainy-Day Date Ideas That Aren't Another Movie," 30 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The gist: Don’t be fooled by the title—this one’s a Halloween classic, for sure. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "16 Classic Halloween Movies You Can Stream Right Now," 17 Oct. 2018 The illusions can involve multiple joints, and are potent enough to fool people into sensing that their arms are bending into weird, or even impossible, shapes. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "Researchers Restore “Feeling” to Lost Limbs—Kinda," 14 Mar. 2018 Anyone dismissing the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High are fooling themselves. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Riley: Parkland shooting should have spurred more political disobedience," 25 Feb. 2018 But don’t be fooled into thinking that Russia has ground to a political halt while the planet’s biggest sporting festival is going on. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "World Cup 2018: Proposed bill would make it illegal to criticize Russia's national team," 16 June 2018 However, you shouldn't be fooled by those 800-plus thread-count sheets. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "How Often Should You Replace Your Sheets Set?," 11 Jan. 2019 Street Spotting: Shop 5 of Spring’s Most Covetable Shoe Trends Don’t let the sun rays fool you into thinking it’s sandal weather just yet. Vogue, "Street Spotting: Shop 5 of Spring’s Most Covetable Shoe Trends," 19 Mar. 2019 But don’t let the minutiae fool you: bringing off-the-shelf computing power to space is a major backbone for an age of commercialization. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Saga of a Stranded Space Station Supercomputer," 18 Mar. 2019 The Swedish retailer may be best known for its minimalist flat-pack furniture that’s a staple of first apartments everywhere, but don’t let that fool you: IKEA is a serious player in the world of kitchen design. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "All You Need," 11 Feb. 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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

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

fool

noun

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

fool

verb

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)

fool

noun
\ ˈfül How to pronounce fool (audio) \

Kids Definition of fool

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person without good sense or judgment
2 : jester

fool

verb
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fool

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