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[tom-fool] /ˈtɒmˈful/
a grossly foolish or stupid person; a silly fool.
being or characteristic of a tomfool.
Origin of tomfool
1325-75; Middle English Thome fole Tom the fool
Related forms
tomfoolish, adjective
tomfoolishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tomfool
Historical Examples
  • That tomfool letter we sent ruined whatever chance I had left.

  • Then aloud in Spanish: "What's the good of all that tomfool business?"

    Lone Pine

    R. B. (Richard Baxter) Townshend
  • Go and fetch the money and the tomfool paint-box thing that you say he had it in.

    "Carrots:" Mrs. Molesworth
  • And think of that tomfool of a Tommy-Bill-beg sending the man to me.

  • "I'll stop all night in your tomfool wood and up your tomfool trees," he said.

    The Trees of Pride G.K. Chesterton
  • “If she wa'n't dead and gone, I wouldn't believe one word of such a tomfool story,” said she, with vicious energy.

    The Shoulders of Atlas Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • If Dalrymple really meant what he had said, and would stick to it, she need not mind being called a tomfool by her mother.

    The Last Chronicle of Barset

    Anthony Trollope
  • Dorcas objected to this name, but Tabitha remarked sagely that at any rate it was better than "tomfool."

  • This ought to be read before all the tomfool peace societies and anti-imperialist societies of the present-day.

    Letters to His Children Theodore Roosevelt
  • If anyone asks, youve been for a spin with a tomfool skipper who didnt know dirty weather when he saw it.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
British Dictionary definitions for tomfool


  1. a fool
  2. (as modifier): tomfool ideas
Derived Forms
tomfoolish, adjective
tomfoolishness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from tom1 + fool1
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
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Word Origin and History for tomfool

"buffoon, clown," 1640s, from Middle English Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient man (mid-14c.), see Tom + fool (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tomfool



Stupid; foolish; nutty: some tomfool scientist

[1762+; found by 1356 as the actual name of a man, also called Thomas fatuus, ''foolish Tom'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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