fool

fool1
/foohl/, n.
1. a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.
2. a professional jester, formerly kept by a person of royal or noble rank for amusement: the court fool.
3. a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid: to make a fool of someone.
4. an ardent enthusiast who cannot resist an opportunity to indulge an enthusiasm (usually prec. by a present participle): He's just a dancing fool.
5. a weak-minded or idiotic person.
6. be nobody's fool, to be wise or shrewd.
v.t.
7. to trick, deceive, or impose on: They tried to fool him.
v.i.
8. to act like a fool; joke; play.
9. to jest; pretend; make believe: I was only fooling.
10. fool around,
a. to putter aimlessly; waste time: She fooled around all through school.
b. to philander or flirt.
c. to be sexually promiscuous, esp. to engage in adultery.
11. fool away, to spend foolishly, as time or money; squander: to fool away the entire afternoon.
12. fool with, to handle or play with idly or carelessly: to be hurt while fooling with a loaded gun; to fool with someone's affections.
[1225-75; ME fol, fool < OF fol < L follis bellows, bag; cf. FOLLIS]
Syn. 1. simpleton, dolt, dunce, blockhead, numskull, ignoramus, dunderhead, ninny, nincompoop, booby, saphead, sap. 2. zany, clown. 5. moron, imbecile, idiot. 7. delude, hoodwink, cheat, gull, hoax, cozen, dupe, gudgeon.
Ant. 1. genius.
fool2
/foohl/, n. British Cookery.
a dish made of fruit, scalded or stewed, crushed and mixed with cream or the like: gooseberry fool.
[1590-1600; prob. special use of FOOL1]

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I

Comic entertainer whose madness or imbecility, real or pretended, made him a source of amusement and gave him license to abuse and poke fun at even his most exalted patrons.

Professional fools flourished in diverse societies from ancient Egyptian times until the 18th century. Often deformed, dwarfed, or crippled, fools were kept for luck as well as amusement, in the belief that deformity can avert the evil eye and that abusive raillery can transfer ill luck from the abused to the abuser. In some societies, they were regarded as inspired with poetic and prophetic powers. The greatest literary characterization of the fool is found in William Shakespeare's King Lear.
II
(as used in expressions)
fool's gold
April Fools' Day
All Fools' Day

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▪ comic entertainer
also called  Jester,  

      a comic entertainer whose madness or imbecility, real or pretended, made him a source of amusement and gave him license to abuse and poke fun at even the most exalted of his patrons. Professional fools flourished from the days of the Egyptian pharaohs until well into the 18th century, finding a place in societies as diverse as that of the Aztecs of Mexico and the courts of medieval Europe. Often deformed, dwarfed, or crippled, fools may have been kept for luck as well as for amusement, in the belief that deformity can avert the evil eye and that abusive raillery can transfer ill luck from the abused to the abuser. Fool figures played a part in the religious rituals of India and pre-Christian Europe, and, in some societies, such as that of Ireland in the 7th century BC, they were regarded as being inspired with poetic and prophetic powers. The raillery of the fool and his frequent ritual association with a mock king suggest that he may have originated as a sacrificial scapegoat substituted for a royal victim. A resemblance between the sacrificial garments of ancient ritual and the costume of a household jester in the Middle Ages—coxcomb, eared hood, bells, and bauble, with a motley coat—has been noted.

      The earliest record of the use of court fools dates from the 5th dynasty of Egypt (Egypt, ancient), whose pharaohs attached great value to Pygmies (Pygmy) brought from the mysterious lands to the south, apparently employing them as dancers and buffoons. Fools were a part of many wealthy households of imperial Rome, in which imbecility and deformity fetched high prices in the slave markets. References to household fools appear increasingly in records from the 12th through the 15th century. Fools were attached to courts, private households, taverns, and even brothels. In the 18th century, household jesters declined in western Europe but flourished in Russia, and offending courtiers were sometimes degraded to court jesters.

      The figure of the fool has also been important in literature and drama. The clown-player in Shakespeare's (Shakespeare, William) dramatic company, Robert Armin (Armin, Robert), was interested in household fools and published a historical account of them in 1605. His knowledge may have influenced the playwright, who produced some of the best-known fools in literature: Touchstone in As You Like It; Feste in Twelfth Night; and the fool in King Lear. See also fool's literature.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fool — Fool, n. [OE. fol, n. & adj., F. fol, fou, foolish, mad; a fool, prob. fr. L. follis a bellows, wind bag, an inflated ball; perh. akin to E. bellows. Cf. {Folly}, {Follicle}.] 1. One destitute of reason, or of the common powers of understanding;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fool — Ⅰ. fool [1] ► NOUN 1) a person who acts unwisely. 2) historical a jester or clown. ► VERB 1) trick or deceive. 2) (fool about/around) act in a joking or frivolous way. 3) …   English terms dictionary

  • fool — fool1 [fo͞ol] n. [ME fol < OFr (Fr fou) < LL follis < L, windbag, bellows: see FOLLICLE] 1. a) a person with little or no judgment, common sense, wisdom, etc.; silly or stupid person; simpleton b) Obs. a mentally retarded person 2. a man …   English World dictionary

  • Fool — steht für: Fool (Süßspeise) April Fool, ein Segelboot The Fool, eine Designergruppe Fool (Roman), Roman von Christopher Moore FOOL steht für: Flughafen Libreville Leon M ba in Gabun (ICAO Code) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fool — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Fool Single por Shakira Lanzado 2003 Grabado 2001 Género Rock Duración …   Wikipedia Español

  • Fool — Fool, v. t. 1. To infatuate; to make foolish. Shak. [1913 Webster] For, fooled with hope, men favor the deceit. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. To use as a fool; to deceive in a shameful or mortifying manner; to impose upon; to cheat by inspiring… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fool — fool, idiot, imbecile, moron, simpleton, natural are often used popularly and interchangeably of one regarded as lacking sense or good judgment but each can be more precisely applied to someone mentally deficient in a given degree. Fool, the most …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Fool — Fool, n. [Cf. F. fouler to tread, crush. Cf. 1st {Foil}.] A compound of gooseberries scalded and crushed, with cream; commonly called gooseberry fool. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fool — Fool, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Fooled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fooling}.] To play the fool; to trifle; to toy; to spend time in idle sport or mirth. [1913 Webster] Is this a time for fooling? Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fool — [n] stupid or ridiculous person ass, birdbrain*, blockhead*, bonehead*, boob*, bore, buffoon, clod*, clown, cretin*, dimwit*, dolt*, dope*, dumb ox*, dunce, dunderhead*, easy mark*, fair game*, fathead*, goose*, halfwit, idiot, ignoramus,… …   New thesaurus

  • fool — index bilk, deceive, defraud, delude, dupe, ensnare, entrap, evade (deceive), illude …   Law dictionary

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