\ 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 In Living Color Lips Fact: a fool-proof way to turn up any makeup look is with a vibrant lipstick. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "The Prettiest Summer Makeup Trends of 2020," 24 Apr. 2020 The smaller the home or apartment, the more challenging sneaking away might be right now, but nothing is impossible with a bit of innovative thinking and distraction — in our home, screen-time is the fool-proof way to go. Brianna Bell, Good Housekeeping, "Scheduling Quarantine Sex Is the Secret Way for Parents to Stay Intimate While Everyone Is Home," 24 Apr. 2020 Instead, follow these two fool-proof ways for how to remove dip nails at home. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "How to Remove Dip Nails at Home," 7 Apr. 2020 Perhaps a Democratic candidate with similar policy positions will offer America’s struggling workers a reason to go to the polls in 2020 without feeling like fools. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, "Left Behind," 10 Mar. 2020 Building a global health-care fortress against dangerous pathogens won’t happen overnight—and will never be fool-proof. Brian Bremner,, "Man vs. Microbe: We’re Not Ready for the Next Global Virus Outbreak," 10 Feb. 2020 The Bruins are coached and managed to suffer fools such as Oshie and Wilson, reap the power plays, then get even on the scoreboard., "So, who in a Black-and-Gold sweater might respond to such a thing? Monday night, no one. Crickets on an inordinately warm December eve.," 24 Dec. 2019 This languid bop will get you through the rocky waves of life, but don't let the smooth groove the song is built on fool you. Courtney E. Smith,, "New Music To Know This Week: Miquela Meets A Hero & Ariana Grande’s Secret Weapon Drops A Bomb," 27 Apr. 2020 But seriously, don’t let this serene footage fool you. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Watch ‘Glow-in-the-Dark’ Dolphins Play in California’s Bioluminescent Water," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Buy Now: $17, National Parks puzzle Don’t be fooled by the white space—this 500-piece puzzle of America’s National Parks is plenty challenging. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "9 Best Travel Puzzles, Whether You're Dreaming of Cinque Terre or Joshua Tree," 3 Apr. 2020 Don’t be fooled; this is a competitive game and resources are limited. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "What to play during coronavirus isolation: Cleveland board game experts offer recommendations," 3 Apr. 2020 Defense Don’t be fooled by Green Bay’s cosmetic second-half stats, which allowed QB Aaron Rodgers (31 of 39, 326 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) and WR Davante Adams 9 catches, 138 yards) to post impressive lines. Eric Branch,, "49ers vs. Packers game grades: SF leaves no doubt it is NFC’s best team," 19 Jan. 2020 Don’t be fooled into believing this protest will be a gathering of sportsmen and gun enthusiasts. Shannon Watts,, "As Extremists Plan To Rally In Virginia, Activists Are Changing America’s Deadly Gun Culture — & Winning," 18 Jan. 2020 Don’t be fooled by Makar’s slight build, rosy cheeks and polite smile. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Where the hockey education of Avalanche rookie sensation Cale Makar began," 8 Dec. 2019 This is literally how every fast food joint operates, don’t be fooled. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Panera Bread worker says TikTok video showing frozen mac-and-cheese got her fired," 14 Oct. 2019 But don’t be fooled: When people can’t afford to eat, the answer is not capped prices but more food. Bloomberg Opinion, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Rent controls are not the answer," 10 Oct. 2019 But don’t be fooled, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "This Mexican Retreat Is Perfect For Women Looking To Live Life 'Unruly'," 20 Sep. 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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above


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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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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for fool


How to pronounce fool (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on fool

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fool

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fool

Spanish Central: Translation of fool

Nglish: Translation of fool for Spanish Speakers

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

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