To play the fool

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; an idiot; a natural. [1913 Webster]

2. A person deficient in intellect; one who acts absurdly, or pursues a course contrary to the dictates of wisdom; one without judgment; a simpleton; a dolt. [1913 Webster]

Extol not riches, then, the toil of fools. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. --Franklin. [1913 Webster]

3. (Script.) One who acts contrary to moral and religious wisdom; a wicked person. [1913 Webster]

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. --Ps. xiv. 1. [1913 Webster]

4. One who counterfeits folly; a professional jester or buffoon; a retainer formerly kept to make sport, dressed fantastically in motley, with ridiculous accouterments. [1913 Webster]

Can they think me . . . their fool or jester? --Milton. [1913 Webster]

{April fool}, {Court fool}, etc. See under {April}, {Court}, etc.

{Fool's cap}, a cap or hood to which bells were usually attached, formerly worn by professional jesters.

{Fool's errand}, an unreasonable, silly, profitless adventure or undertaking.

{Fool's gold}, iron or copper pyrites, resembling gold in color.

{Fool's paradise}, a name applied to a limbo (see under {Limbo}) popularly believed to be the region of vanity and nonsense. Hence, any foolish pleasure or condition of vain self-satistaction.

{Fool's parsley} (Bot.), an annual umbelliferous plant ({[AE]thusa Cynapium}) resembling parsley, but nauseous and poisonous.

{To make a fool of}, to render ridiculous; to outwit; to shame. [Colloq.]

{To play the fool}, to act the buffoon; to act a foolish part. ``I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.'' --1 Sam. xxvi. 21. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • play the fool — If someone plays the fool, they behave in a silly way to make people laugh. ( Act the fool is and alternative form.) …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • play the fool — CLOWN ABOUT/AROUND, fool about/around, mess about/around, lark about/around, monkey about/around, joke; informal horse about/around, act the goat; Brit. informal muck about/around. → play * * * play/act/the fool …   Useful english dictionary

  • play the fool — by the time she was ten, Ronnie knew it was her God given job to play the fool Syn: clown around, fool around, mess around, monkey around, joke; informal horse around …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • play the fool — pretend you are a fool, act simple or foolish    If you play the fool, people will often tell you secrets …   English idioms

  • play the fool — to behave in a silly way, often to make people laugh. Teenagers will often play the fool in class when they don t know the answers …   New idioms dictionary

  • play the fool —    If someone plays the fool, they behave in a silly way to make people laugh. ( Act the fool is and alternative form.)   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • play the fool — to behave in a silly way, often in order to make people laugh. Come on guys, stop acting the fool and pay attention …   New idioms dictionary

  • play the fool — Cut capers, cut didoes, act the buffoon, act like a fool, make a fool of one s self, play tricks or pranks …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • play the fool — act like a fool …   English contemporary dictionary

  • play the fool — verb To behave in a foolish or comical manner …   Wiktionary

  • play the fool —  Behave foolishly …   A concise dictionary of English slang

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