\ 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 Removable wallpaper with a peel-and-stick application is a fool-proof way to bring a plain space to life. Shivani Vyas, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 July 2021 Stretching is generally a fool-proof activity, Summers explains. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, 15 July 2021 But because Maryland is one of seven states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, and because the winner is no fool, the identity of that someone isn’t public. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, 19 June 2021 But because Maryland is one of seven states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, and because the winner is no fool, the identity of that someone isn’t public. Washington Post, 17 June 2021 For fool-proof coffee and espresso drinks, look no further than MoMA’s whimsical mug. Leah Koenig, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Use these fool-proof ideas to choose farmhouse paint colors for every room. Pamela Porter, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 May 2021 Matt Fugate to break down the easiest, most fool-proof way to cut your bangs, without any mistakes or regret. Tatjana Freund, Marie Claire, 29 Mar. 2021 This is the second time in the past month that Bell has looked like a fool on social media. Arkansas Online, 16 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In 2017, a male customer of insurance company Lemonade tried to fool its AI for assessing claims by dressing in a blond wig and lipstick, and uploading a video saying his $5,000 camera had been stolen. Parmy Olson, WSJ, 7 July 2021 Don't let that fool you — the hotel is equipped with the latest in modern comfort, including jacuzzi-jet tubs and plush linens. Kaye Toal, Travel + Leisure, 6 July 2021 His faint appeared to fool baserunner Jacob Stallings, who was doubled up at first base. Wes Crosby, Star Tribune, 1 July 2021 Despite what Dak Prescott may fool you into believing, fourth-round picks usually don’t amount to much in the NFL. John Owning, Dallas News, 18 June 2021 Tarrio maintains that the posts on Parler were intended to fool the media and left-wing counterprotesters. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 15 June 2021 McAfee said attackers could access the bike through the port and install fake versions of popular apps like Netflix and Spotify, which could then fool users into entering their personal information. NBC News, 15 June 2021 Their camouflage doesn’t always fool the scientists, who can sometimes find 100 katydids in one outing. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 But don't let these overstock deals fool you into thinking these are unpopular items. Jessica Leigh Mattern,, 22 June 2021

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


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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for fool



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.

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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