[ fol-ee ]
See synonyms for: follyfollies on

noun,plural fol·lies for 2-6.
  1. the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.

  2. a foolish action, practice, idea, etc.; absurdity: the folly of performing without a rehearsal.

  1. a costly and foolish undertaking; unwise investment or expenditure.

  2. Architecture. a whimsical or extravagant structure built to serve as a conversation piece, lend interest to a view, commemorate a person or event, etc.: found especially in England in the 18th century.

  3. follies, a theatrical revue.

  4. Obsolete. wickedness; wantonness.

Origin of folly

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English folie, from Old French, derivative of fol, fou “foolish, mad”; equivalent to fool1 + -y3

Other words for folly

Other words from folly

  • su·per·fol·ly, noun, plural su·per·fol·lies. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use folly in a sentence

  • Whatever my follies may have been as a young man, I am at least incapable of wronging my wife as a married one.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • My serious turn and studious habits have preserved me alike from the follies of dissipation and from the bustle of intrigue.

  • The follies of youth have a basis in sound reason, just as much as the embarrassing questions put by babes and sucklings.

    The Pocket R.L.S. | Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Of course, he told Violet none of the follies which had cost poor Kennedy the loss both of popularity and self-respect.

    Julian Home | Dean Frederic W. Farrar
  • He was even represented swung up in a basket in his own thinking-shop and giving utterance to innumerable heresies and follies.

British Dictionary definitions for folly


/ (ˈfɒlɪ) /

nounplural -lies
  1. the state or quality of being foolish; stupidity; rashness

  2. a foolish action, mistake, idea, etc

  1. a building in the form of a castle, temple, etc, built to satisfy a fancy or conceit, often of an eccentric kind

  2. (plural) theatre an elaborately costumed revue

  3. archaic

    • evil; wickedness

    • lewdness; wantonness

Origin of folly

C13: from Old French folie madness, from fou mad; see fool 1

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