tomfoolery

noun tom·fool·ery \ ˌtäm-ˈfül-rē , -ˈfü-lə- \
Updated on: 2 May 2018

Definition of tomfoolery

: playful or foolish behavior

tomfoolery was our Word of the Day on 11/29/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of tomfoolery in a Sentence

  1. There was a lot of tomfoolery going on behind the scenes.

  2. the open bar may have had something to do with the tomfoolery at the wedding reception

Recent Examples of tomfoolery from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tomfoolery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, "Thome Fole" was a name assigned to those perceived to be of little intelligence. This eventually evolved into the spelling tomfool, which, when capitalized, also referred to a professional clown or a buffoon in a play or pageant. The name Tom seems to have been chosen for its common-man quality, much like "Joe Blow" for an ordinary person or "Johnny Reb" for a soldier in the Confederate army, but tomfoolery need not apply strictly to actions by men. In Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (1908), for example, Marilla Cuthbert complains of Anne: "She's gadding off somewhere with Diana, writing stories or practicing dialogues or some such tomfoolery, and never thinking once about the time or her duties."

First Known Use of tomfoolery

1812

in the meaning defined above

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TOMFOOLERY Defined for English Language Learners

tomfoolery

Definition of tomfoolery for English Language Learners

  • : playful or silly behavior


TOMFOOLERY Defined for Kids

tomfoolery

noun tom·fool·ery \ ˌtäm-ˈfül-rē , -ˈfü-lə- \

Definition of tomfoolery for Students

: playful or foolish behavior

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