\ 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 Don't let the sweet exterior of this case fool you: It's built to protect for the long haul. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this weekend," 4 July 2020 First, use state resources to bribe, fool and bully people before the poll. The Economist, "Second time lucky Malawi’s re-run election is a victory for democracy," 4 July 2020 His former national-security adviser is selling a book that calls him a corrupt fool who’s unfit for office. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Trump Retreats to His Hannity Bunker," 26 June 2020 Temperature checks were not a fool-proof way of detecting anyone carrying the virus. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "White House drops temperature checks for those entering complex," 22 June 2020 Don’t let the corporate endorsement fool you, says, Robert Greene II in Current Affairs. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "On this Juneteenth, many Americans celebrate for the first time," 19 June 2020 In it, easy-to-fool trolls headline in stories like Boots and the Troll and Three Billy Goats Gruff. Jennifer Barger, National Geographic, "This Copenhagen artist turns trash into trolls," 15 June 2020 Studios that offer painting classes while people drink wine are a pretty fool-proof way to host a creative date. Alex Darus, cleveland, "Dating during the COVID-19 pandemic: 8 fresh ideas for couples looking for more than a dinner and a movie," 2 June 2020 Then again, Carell's latest bumbling fool lands somewhere that, on paper, sounds like a middle manager in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "The Ars verdict is in: Space Force is the best new series of 2020 (so far)," 29 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Zig Zag can rack up big numbers of small to medium-sized fish and just as effectively fool 40-plus-pounders. John Merwin, Field & Stream, "The 25 Best Striper Surf Lures of All Time," 23 Oct. 2019 In murky or muddy water, even lures up to 3 inches long may fool some hawgs. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, "The 7 Best Lures for Smallmouth Bass in Rivers," 18 June 2020 In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took legal action against a company that sold steering wheel weights designed to fool Tesla Autopilot's sensors into thinking the driver's hand was on the wheel. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Ford's electric Mustang will offer hands-free driving technology next year," 18 June 2020 But don't let that fool you: This fire pit provides all the heat and light a nighttime gathering could ever need. Travel + Leisure, "Turn Your Backyard Into a Cozy Vacation Paradise With These 9 Fire Pits," 17 May 2020 The Black Diamond Firstlight tent is simple and stable, but don’t let that fool you. Popular Science, "Four tents so good, you’d start calling them your second home," 27 Mar. 2020 And while all of this is good to know, let’s not fool ourselves; This event is not insignificant. Steve Strauss, USA TODAY, "Plan, don't panic: Strategic small businesses can weather coronavirus outbreak," 4 Mar. 2020 Don’t let the implications of The Great Reversal’s one-sided arguments fool you; redistributing high profits earned by successful innovators would discourage risk-taking, impede growth, and gradually reduce competition. Edward Conard, National Review, "Don’t Let The Great Reversal Mislead You," 25 Nov. 2019 This doesn’t look like a traditional hunting rifle, but don’t let that fool you. John B. Snow, Field & Stream, "The 10 Most Accurate Factory Hunting Rifles We’ve Ever Tested," 17 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

17 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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