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April fool

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noun
  1. the victim of a practical joke or trick on April Fools' Day.
  2. a practical joke or trick played on that day.

Origin of April fool

First recorded in 1680–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for april fool

Historical Examples

  • Bertie walks slowly toward the door, but stops halfway there, and asks, "Is it April-fool's Day?"

    The Nursery, February 1881, Vol. XXIX

    Various

  • You know, Mrs. Vanderhook expects me to look after the decorations of her April-Fool tea party.


British Dictionary definitions for april fool

April fool

noun
  1. an unsuspecting victim of a practical joke or trick traditionally performed on the first of April (April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for april fool

April fool

n.

1680s; April-gowk (from Old Norse gaukr "a cuckoo") is a northern variant. April Fool's Day customs of sending people on false errands seem to have come to England from France late 17c.; originally All Fool's Day (1712). In Cumberland, Westmorland and northern parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, however, May 1 was the day for hoaxing, and the fool was a May gosling. That custom was first attested 1791.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper