\ 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 Like Savine, Orso is no fool, but unlike the savvy businesswoman, Orso is also a generous ruler who has no real lust for power. Erik Kain, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 Don't let his ring name fool you, Ziggler is the real-life brother of Ryan Nemeth. The Enquirer, 9 Sep. 2021 Don’t let Penn State’s miserable 2020 season fool you. Christopher Smith, al, 2 Sep. 2021 Don’t let the feel-good nature and witty lines spewing from Lasso and Roy Kent fool you, Brett can act. Scott King, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 Don’t let the small size of this GH Seal star purifier fool you. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, 17 Aug. 2021 Don't let her sweet personality fool you though, this girl is playful and active and will enjoy daily walks. The Arizona Republic, 10 July 2021 Don’t let the perfect timing of this book fool you. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 3 July 2021 Please, please, please, please don't let this guy's cutesy charm fool you. Kristen Baldwin,, 29 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His ability to fool some of the craft’s elite portends trouble as tools for manipulating imagery and information become more widely available. Tom Simonite, Wired, 6 Oct. 2021 Deep diving crankbaits, deep jerkbaits, jigging spoons and swim jigs are among the options to fool these fish. Frank Sargeant, al, 3 Oct. 2021 Tannehill was sacked three times, including a fumble – on a play-action call on second-and-12 that obviously didn’t fool Chandler Jones – to gift the Cardinals their first touchdown. Gentry Estes, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021 One may have to fool the brain to overcome the condition—combating one illusion with another. Baland Jalal, Scientific American, 7 Sep. 2021 Reds starter Tyler Mahle struck out switch-hitter Jeimer Candelario for the second out, but the right-hander couldn't fool Haase. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 5 Sep. 2021 And a code using Welsh words to fool the Turkish censors while communicating with family back in Britain. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 26 May 2021 Old Baldy is only a half mile, but don't let the distance fool you. Priscilla Aguirre, Chron, 17 Sep. 2021 Our researchers — and thanks to Mike Lindell for giving us the recommendation — concluded with 96.4% certainty that the 12th man wasn't Tahi, but rather a hologram that Saints coach Sean Payton motioned in to fool the officiating crew. Star Tribune, 25 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

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for fool



English Language Learners Definition of fool

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a person who lacks good sense or judgment : a stupid or silly person
: a person who enjoys something very much
: a dessert made with cooked fruit and cream or a thick sauce



English Language Learners Definition of fool (Entry 2 of 3)



English Language Learners Definition of fool (Entry 3 of 3)

: to speak or act in a way that is not serious : joke kid
: 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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