- the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.
- a foolish action, practice, idea, etc.; absurdity: the folly of performing without a rehearsal.
- a costly and foolish undertaking; unwise investment or expenditure.
- 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.
- follies, a theatrical revue.
- Obsolete. wickedness; wantonness.
Origin of folly
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsmadness, silliness, craziness, absurdity, indiscretion, foolishness, recklessness, idiocy, stupidity, lunacy, inanity, fatuity, vice, triviality, imprudence, imbecility, impracticality, irrationality, senselessness, rashness
Examples from the Web for folly
It was not until after the Challenger accident that the folly of this approach was realized.Can Anyone Make Space Safe for Civilians?
November 4, 2014
But in the long term, Moscow can be made to regret its folly.The Unhappy Truth About Ukraine
Leslie H. Gelb
May 2, 2014
Whatever the reason behind all this folly, the Georgian people have earned their right to some form of protection by the West.Obama Tells Georgia to Forget About NATO After Encouraging It to Join
March 27, 2014
Most Democratic presidents – and perhaps secretly even George H.W. Bush – have understood the folly of U.S. policy toward Cuba.Obama Should End America’s Stupidest Foreign Policy: Isolating Cuba
February 26, 2014
John Kael Weston, who spent years in both, reflects on what another war would mean after the folly of the last two.War Is the New Peace: American Vets Reflect on Syria
John Kael Weston
September 10, 2013
It had been folly enough while he believed that she stood ready to accept him and his wealth.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
It is worse than folly to expect good from the way that things are now managed.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
He had but the vaguest idea of the folly that possessed her.Weighed and Wanting
But this was moderate, as the Edgware "folly" reached £250,000.De Libris: Prose and Verse
He must suffer more, must lose more, must pay more with happiness for his folly.Within the Law
- the state or quality of being foolish; stupidity; rashness
- a foolish action, mistake, idea, etc
- a building in the form of a castle, temple, etc, built to satisfy a fancy or conceit, often of an eccentric kind
- (plural) theatre an elaborately costumed revue
- evil; wickedness
- lewdness; wantonness
Word Origin and History for folly
early 13c., "mental weakness; unwise conduct" (in Middle English including wickedness, lewdness, madness), from Old French folie (12c.) "folly, madness, stupidity," from fol (see fool (n.)). Sense of "costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder" is attested from 1650s. Used since Middle English of place names, especially country estates, as a form of Old French folie in its meaning "delight." Meaning "glamorous theatrical revue with lots of pretty girls" is from 1880, from French.