See more synonyms for foolish on
  1. resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered; unwise: a foolish action, a foolish speech.
  2. lacking forethought or caution.
  3. trifling, insignificant, or paltry.

Origin of foolish

First recorded in 1250–1300, foolish is from the Middle English word folish, foolish. See fool1, -ish1
Related formsfool·ish·ly, adverbfool·ish·ness, nouno·ver·fool·ish, adjectiveo·ver·fool·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·fool·ish·ness, nounqua·si-fool·ish, adjectivequa·si-fool·ish·ly, adverbun·fool·ish, adjectiveun·fool·ish·ly, adverbun·fool·ish·ness, noun

Synonyms for foolish

See more synonyms for on
1, 2. senseless, vacant, vapid, simple, witless. Foolish, fatuous, silly, inane, stupid, asinine imply weakness of intellect and lack of judgment. Foolish implies lack of common sense or good judgment or, sometimes, weakness of mind: a foolish decision; The child seems foolish. Fatuous implies being not only foolish, dull, and vacant in mind, but complacent and highly self-satisfied as well: fatuous and self-important; fatuous answers. Silly denotes extreme and conspicuous foolishness; it may also refer to pointlessness of jokes, remarks, etc.: silly and senseless behavior; a perfectly silly statement. Inane applies to silliness that is notably lacking in content, sense, or point: inane questions that leave one no reply. Stupid implies natural slowness or dullness of intellect, or, sometimes, a benumbed or dazed state of mind; it is also used to mean foolish or silly: well-meaning but stupid; rendered stupid by a blow; It is stupid to do such a thing. Asinine originally meant like an ass; it applies to witlessly stupid conversation or conduct and suggests a lack of social grace or perception: He failed to notice the reaction to his asinine remarks. 1. imprudent, unreasonable, foolhardy, irrational; thoughtless, nonsensical, ridiculous, absurd, pointless, preposterous. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for foolish

Contemporary Examples of foolish

Historical Examples of foolish

British Dictionary definitions for foolish


  1. unwise; silly
  2. resulting from folly or stupidity
  3. ridiculous or absurd; not worthy of consideration
  4. weak-minded; simple
  5. an archaic word for insignificant
Derived Formsfoolishly, adverbfoolishness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for foolish

early 14c., from fool (n.) + -ish. Related: Foolishly; foolishness. Old English words for this were dysig, stunt, dol.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with foolish


see penny wise and pound foolish.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.