buffoon

A buffoon is someone whose ridiculous behavior is a source of amusement to others. People you might call a buffoon are a political rival or the guy at work who tells silly jokes at office parties.

The noun buffoon has changed its spelling over the years, but not really its meaning. In Middle French, it was bouffon, which came from the Italian buffone, meaning "jester." The original root is the Latin buffare. Think of the stereotypical court jester, the person who makes jokes and falls about trying to make the king laugh — he's paid to be a buffoon.

Definitions of buffoon
1

n a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior

Synonyms:
clown, goof, goofball, merry andrew
Examples:
Emmett Kelly
United States circus clown (1898-1979)
Types:
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harlequin
a clown or buffoon (after the Harlequin character in the commedia dell'arte)
fool, jester, motley fool
a professional clown employed to entertain a king or nobleman in the Middle Ages
whiteface
a clown whose face is covered with white make-up
zany
a buffoon in one of the old comedies; imitates others for ludicrous effect
Type of:
comedian, comic
a professional performer who tells jokes and performs comical acts

n a rude or vulgar fool

Synonyms:
clown
Examples:
Pantaloon
a buffoon in modern pantomimes; the butt of jokes
Type of:
fool, muggins, sap, saphead, tomfool
a person who lacks good judgment