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April Fools' Day

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noun

April 1, a day when practical jokes or tricks are played on unsuspecting people.

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On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
Also called All Fools' Day .

Origin of April Fools' Day

First recorded in 1745–50; the variant All Fools' Day is first recorded in 1700–05
April Fools’ Day (or April Fool’s Day ) started out as April-Fool Day in 1748. April-Fool Day was a variant or replacement of the earlier All Fools’ Day, humorously modeled on All Saints’ Day (November 1) or All Souls’ Day (November 2), and first recorded in 1702. The custom of playing pranks or practical jokes seems to have been imported into Britain from France, if for no other reason than that the 15th-century French musical composer and poet Eloy d’Amerval uses the equivalent French term, poisson d’avril, literally “April fish,” in 1508, the first reference to the practice in France, and continuing to this day in France, Italy, Belgium, and the Francophone regions of Switzerland and Canada. The explanation for the “fish” in the French term gets into murky territory, as there are competing stories behind that. It may have to do with the fact that at one time it was forbidden to fish during the month of April, while fish were spawning, and therefore the claim that you dined on or served fish would have had to have been a prank or joke. (It is still the custom in France and elsewhere in Europe to stick a paper fish on someone’s back.)
By the mid-16th century, the holiday was established in Western Europe. The 17th-century English antiquary John Aubrey used the phrase Fooles holy day (1686), the first reference in English to the tradition. Twelve years later, on April 1, 1698, some gullible people were tricked into going to the Tower of London for the “annual ceremony of the washing of the lions,” an elaborate prank involving admission cards and nonexistent lions and which lasted through the 19th century. Part of the observed customs of the “feast” is that the jokes and pranks shall end at noon; otherwise one is simply acting in bad taste.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
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