In the Middle Ages, a fool was a clown or jester. Today fools are simply idiots who clown around.

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!"

Primary Meanings of fool

a person who lacks good judgment
make a fool or dupe of
indulge in horseplay
Full Definitions of fool

n a person who lacks good judgment

muggins, sap, saphead, tomfool
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a pompous fool
buffoon, clown
a rude or vulgar fool
flibbertigibbet, foolish woman
a foolish, flighty, and overly talkative person
bozo, cuckoo, fathead, goof, goofball, goose, jackass, 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

n a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of

chump, fall guy, gull, mark, mug, patsy, soft touch, sucker
Type of:
dupe, victim
a person who is tricked or swindled

n a professional clown employed to entertain a king or nobleman in the Middle Ages

jester, motley fool
Type of:
buffoon, clown, goof, goofball, merry andrew
a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior

v make a fool or dupe of

befool, gull
Type of:
cozen, deceive, delude, lead on
be false to; be dishonest with

v fool or hoax

“You can't fool me!”
befool, cod, dupe, gull, put on, put one across, put one over, slang, take in
kid, pull the leg of
tell false information to for fun
Type of:
betray, deceive, lead astray
cause someone to believe an untruth

v spend frivolously and unwisely

dissipate, fool away, fritter, fritter away, frivol away, shoot
Type of:
consume, squander, ware, waste
spend extravagantly

v indulge in horseplay

“The bored children were fooling about”
fool around, horse around
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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