Examples of folly
Examples of folly
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 (below).
By the 1880s, follies referred to an extravagant theatrical production brimming with pretty girls. 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 gorgeous, well-dressed Ziegfeld girls.
Who uses folly?
Foolish, impractical behavior—perhaps like oh, needlessly shutting down the government to build a wall at the border—is often described as a folly.
Stop holding Americans hostage to your fruitless folly. Americans stand in solidarity to your terrorism.
— JackBeWack🦅 (@jackedmayhem) January 24, 2019
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