noun, plural fol·lies for 2–6.
HEED THE VOX POPULI, AND TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!
Origin of folly
OTHER WORDS FROM follysu·per·fol·ly, noun, plural su·per·fol·lies.
Words nearby folly
What does folly mean?
Where does folly come from?
The word folly dates back to the early 13th century, originally meaning “foolishness” or “unwise conduct.” It comes from a French word meaning “mad,” as in “deranged.” In its plural form, follies has referred to “absurdities” since at least the 1400s.
By the 1650s, a folly referred to buildings considered too whimsical, overly expensive, or impractical. In the 18th and 19th centuries, some follies were constructed in Europe as ornamental structures reminiscent of antiquity; others, as in Ireland, were built to provide employment for laborers during famines, such as Connolly’s Folly.
By the 1880s, follies referred to an extravagant theatrical production featuring beautiful women. They were inspired by the Parisian Folies Bergère, which were over-the-top cabaret productions that began in 1872 and continue today. A noted example of the follies was the Ziegfeld Follies, which ran on Broadway from 1907 to 1936 and featured the famed Ziegfeld girls.
How is folly used in real life?
Foolish, impractical behavior is often described as a folly. The unusual, impractical architectural follies built in Ireland have become off-beat tourist attractions.
Theatrical follies have seen something of a renaissance with the 2017 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 musical Follies at the Royal National Theatre in London. The show tells the story of the demolition of the fictional Weismann Theatre and the reunion of the showgirls of the Weismann Follies. The production was a smash hit, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival in 2018.
I swear to god if people saw me lip syncing to the 2018 follies cast recording I’d have an agent
— Isaac Savage (@isaacsavage01) January 19, 2019
More examples of folly:
“This new cast recording for #Follies from @NationalTheatre is everything. Perfection.”
—@hanskig88, January 2019
“If Aberdeenshire councillors press ahead with this decision they will have learned nothing from the folly of Angus Council. My ward borders Angus and I see for myself how formerly busy car parks are now lying empty in a council concocted wasteland.”
—Leigh Wilson quoted by Graeme Strachan, The Courier, January 2019
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for folly
It was not until after the Challenger accident that the folly of this approach was realized.
But in the long term, Moscow can be made to regret its folly.
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|Will Cathcart|March 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Robert Shrum|February 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|DAILY BEAST
How often are they branded with this epithet of madness and folly?The Anatomy of Melancholy|Democritus Junior
Penny dared not take time to try to convince the youth of the folly of fleeing from Immigration authorities.Swamp Island|Mildred A. Wirt
The image of his child, I believe, saved him many times from folly, more than once from guilt.Contraband|G. J. Whyte-Melville
I ought not to have married him; it was folly—money is not everything.Fast as the Wind|Nat Gould
Such an act of folly while the tender babe lay sick is not to be forgiven.Banked Fires|E. W. (Ethel Winifred) Savi
British Dictionary definitions for folly
noun plural -lies
- evil; wickedness
- lewdness; wantonness