fol·​de·​rol ˈfäl-də-ˌräl How to pronounce folderol (audio)
variants or less commonly falderal
: a useless ornament or accessory : trifle

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Hogwash. Claptrap. Hooey. Drivel. Malarkey. English is rife with words that mean "nonsense," and "folderol" is one of the many. Though not the most common of the words for nonsense, it's been around since 1820 and is still heard today. "Folderol" comes from "fol-de-rol" (or "fal-de-ral"), which used to be a nonsense refrain in songs, much like "tra-la-la." The oldest recorded instance of someone "singing folderol" occurs in Irish dramatist George Farquhar's 1701 play Sir Harry Wildair, in which a character sings, "Fal, al, deral!"

Example Sentences

I wish we could just discuss these questions without having to go through all the folderol of a formal meeting. wanted a dignified, simple wedding and not the folderol that the wedding planner was trying to foist on them
Recent Examples on the Web Yet most Americans are barely aware of the political folderol that has been going on for years. Delthia Ricks, Discover Magazine, 27 Jan. 2010 But this is a mess of its own making, a needless folderol that accomplished nothing beyond making the group seem messy and divided. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 25 Oct. 2022 For instance, designer David Zinn has built the show a lovely Buckingham Palace, repeating the gilt folderol of the Longacre Theatre’s proscenium on the columns and gates that enclose the stage. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 17 Nov. 2021 Firefox and Safari had already deprecated third-party cookies some time ago, without much digital ad industry folderol and no industry input. David Doty, Forbes, 25 May 2021 But then there’s some folderol with magic puppets — in comic books, puppets are always magic, so never take your eyes off the little buggers — resulting in Wanda getting possessed by an ancient Elder God named Chthon. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 23 Jan. 2021 As this folderol was brewing, Matt started the rose ceremony. oregonlive, 12 Jan. 2021 But even without the virus crisis, Philip would have sought to downplay public folderol about his birthday, in keeping with his non-nonsense personality. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 11 June 2020 There’s no folderol, just the facts lined up as if in composition class, the fish cooked slowly in a low oven so that the fat eases out of the flesh to combine with the tart brightness of the lemon juice. Sam Sifton, New York Times, 26 Feb. 2020 See More

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

Word History


fol-de-rol, a nonsense refrain in songs

First Known Use

circa 1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of folderol was circa 1820


Dictionary Entries Near folderol

Cite this Entry

“Folderol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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