In the Middle Ages, a fool was a clown or jester. Today, fools are simply silly people who clown around or lack common sense.

The original fools were clowns hired by the king for entertainment. They were actually witty and smart, but today's fools are not. When you call someone a fool, you either mean he's gullible or just a run-of-the-mill idiot. To fool also means to play a trick or hoax on someone, and fooling around is carelessly spending time on something silly. If someone doesn't believe something you said, you might defend yourself by saying, "I'm not fooling!"

Definitions of fool
  1. noun
    a person who lacks good judgment
    synonyms: muggins, sap, saphead, tomfool
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    buffoon, clown
    a rude or vulgar fool
    flibbertigibbet, foolish woman
    a foolish, flighty, and overly talkative person
    bozo, cuckoo, fathead, goof, goofball, goose, zany
    a man who is a stupid incompetent fool
    meshuggeneh, meshuggener
    (Yiddish) a crazy fool
    a learned fool
    (Yiddish) a fool; an idiot
    a silly and inept person; someone who is regarded as stupid
    type of:
    simple, simpleton
    a person lacking intelligence or common sense
  2. noun
    a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of
    synonyms: chump, fall guy, gull, mark, mug, patsy, soft touch, sucker
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    type of:
    dupe, victim
    a person who is tricked or swindled
  3. noun
    a professional clown employed to entertain a king or nobleman in the Middle Ages
    synonyms: jester, motley fool
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    type of:
    buffoon, clown, goof, goofball, merry andrew
    a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior
  4. verb
    make a fool or dupe of
    synonyms: befool, gull
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    type of:
    cozen, deceive, delude, lead on
    be false to; be dishonest with
  5. verb
    fool or hoax
    “You can't fool me!”
    synonyms: befool, cod, dupe, gull, put on, put one across, put one over, slang, take in
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    kid, pull the leg of
    tell false information to for fun
    type of:
    betray, deceive, lead astray
    cause someone to believe an untruth
  6. verb
    spend frivolously and unwisely
  7. verb
    indulge in horseplay
    “The bored children were fooling about”
    synonyms: fool around, horse around
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    type of:
    jest, joke
    tell a joke; speak humorously
    be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children
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