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foolish

[foo-lish]
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adjective
  1. resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered; unwise: a foolish action, a foolish speech.
  2. lacking forethought or caution.
  3. trifling, insignificant, or paltry.

Origin of foolish

First recorded in 1250–1300, foolish is from the Middle English word folish, foolish. See fool1, -ish1
Related formsfool·ish·ly, adverbfool·ish·ness, nouno·ver·fool·ish, adjectiveo·ver·fool·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·fool·ish·ness, nounqua·si-fool·ish, adjectivequa·si-fool·ish·ly, adverbun·fool·ish, adjectiveun·fool·ish·ly, adverbun·fool·ish·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1, 2. senseless, vacant, vapid, simple, witless. Foolish, fatuous, silly, inane, stupid, asinine imply weakness of intellect and lack of judgment. Foolish implies lack of common sense or good judgment or, sometimes, weakness of mind: a foolish decision; The child seems foolish. Fatuous implies being not only foolish, dull, and vacant in mind, but complacent and highly self-satisfied as well: fatuous and self-important; fatuous answers. Silly denotes extreme and conspicuous foolishness; it may also refer to pointlessness of jokes, remarks, etc.: silly and senseless behavior; a perfectly silly statement. Inane applies to silliness that is notably lacking in content, sense, or point: inane questions that leave one no reply. Stupid implies natural slowness or dullness of intellect, or, sometimes, a benumbed or dazed state of mind; it is also used to mean foolish or silly: well-meaning but stupid; rendered stupid by a blow; It is stupid to do such a thing. Asinine originally meant like an ass; it applies to witlessly stupid conversation or conduct and suggests a lack of social grace or perception: He failed to notice the reaction to his asinine remarks. 1. imprudent, unreasonable, foolhardy, irrational; thoughtless, nonsensical, ridiculous, absurd, pointless, preposterous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for foolishness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His long habit of thought concerning her enabled him to master this foolishness.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We must protect her from the consequences of her own foolishness.

  • It just came over me, all at once, that I—It was just foolishness.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I didn't enter him; that was somebody else's foolishness, and I don't want to back him.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • "Don't ye be lettin' yourself belave your own foolishness," she said.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter


British Dictionary definitions for foolishness

foolish

adjective
  1. unwise; silly
  2. resulting from folly or stupidity
  3. ridiculous or absurd; not worthy of consideration
  4. weak-minded; simple
  5. an archaic word for insignificant
Derived Formsfoolishly, adverbfoolishness, noun
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 foolishness

foolish

adj.

early 14c., from fool (n.) + -ish. Related: Foolishly; foolishness. Old English words for this were dysig, stunt, dol.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with foolishness

foolish

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.