Definition of folly in English:

folly

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Lack of good sense; foolishness:

    ‘an act of sheer folly’
    • ‘How much publicity should that act of folly generate, in comparison to the meaningless Plame farce?’
    • ‘What sheer folly it must be to fall in love if it makes one talk in such a silly manner.’
    • ‘The Soviet colonisation of the Arctic was an act of extreme folly and cruelty.’
    • ‘‘It would be folly to abandon a national asset unless we were sure it had outlived its usefulness,’ he says passionately.’
    • ‘That act of folly summed up 30 minutes of dire rugby, but also seemed to spark Scotland into some semblance of life.’
    • ‘With a minute left, and the score 2-2, Phil Neville committed an act of folly in the penalty box and Ganea scored from the spot.’
    • ‘There is no future in trying to find a middle road between folly and common sense.’
    • ‘It seems to me that for a country of any size, nineteen political parties is sheer folly.’
    • ‘But to commit America to a broader role while remaining blindly ignorant of the ultimate cost of doing so is sheer folly.’
    • ‘A luxury player, great to add to a winning team, his purchase by City was the ultimate act of folly.’
    • ‘So then, do you think, Bill, the newspapers are just committing an exercise in folly, or is it good journalism?’
    • ‘Being booked for rejoicing in a goal is sheer folly in itself.’
    • ‘If anything, he has unwittingly sounded the sirens to launch a war without end by this single act of presidential folly.’
    • ‘This is sheer folly and reveals a lack of understanding of the power of saving regularly from an early age.’
    • ‘The residents of Tortuga put up with a lot, but it was sheer folly to fly the colors in a town.’
    • ‘The desire for rationalising and centralising local services is sheer folly and will lead to more traffic, more travelling and deprived communities.’
    • ‘By an act of unthinking folly I used them as an example yesterday.’
    • ‘But to attack him now, at a time when the Middle East is already on the brink of full-scale war, would be an act of terrible folly.’
    • ‘But, having said that, some of the ways that people have been dispersed into the community have been sheer folly.’
    • ‘Why, it is sheer folly to attempt to predict who will prevail with so much uncertainty pervading the future.’
    1. 1.1[count noun] A foolish act, idea, or practice:
      ‘the follies of youth’
      • ‘True enough, Deacon, we're not about to start throwing stones at the political follies of one's youth.’
      • ‘It is almost a folly to expect complete truth and sincerity among political parties and that too in today's dirty politics.’
      • ‘Disregard of the movements and sentiments developing around them was a primary folly.’
      • ‘While the teens spend a lost weekend in the countryside, the director makes lazy points about the follies of youth.’
      • ‘Pensioners are being rack-rated to pay for the follies of this foolish Government.’
      • ‘They've committed one great folly in the mess-up with the dig tree.’
      • ‘I will conspicuously recycle the cans and glasses and papers, even though I suspect it's all a folly.’
      • ‘It is a peculiar folly, under these circumstances, for the rich to seek greater riches by selling weapons to the poor.’
      • ‘It's a good idea to show the follies of socialism in pictorial form and he does have some good pictures.’
      • ‘We are full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other for our follies.’
      • ‘Political blunders and economic follies are depressing the Japanese economy.’
      • ‘It is a suicidal folly to condone, much less encourage, any anarchic agenda, overlooking its disruptiveness in the national context.’
      • ‘But one man's notion of a masterwork may be another's idea of a folly.’
      • ‘It is one of the follies of youth, indeed of all ages.’
      • ‘It cries out to be exploited as a grand folly, an emblem of muddle, hype and plain foolishness with enormous entertainment potential.’
      • ‘He is a pragmatist to the last breath and would never have indulged a personal folly, like Bacon did, in appointing a governor.’
      • ‘Right now, there was nothing to do but mope over her past follies and errors.’
      • ‘In truth, it is a folly of gigantic proportions.’
      • ‘This is an enormous folly on behalf of the government.’
      • ‘To the average young whippersnapper of today, this would be most risible, but I care not for the follies of youth.’
      foolishness, foolhardiness, stupidity, idiocy, imbecility, silliness, inanity, lunacy, madness, rashness, recklessness, imprudence, injudiciousness, lack of caution, lack of foresight, lack of sense, irrationality, illogicality, irresponsibility, thoughtlessness, indiscretion
      craziness
      daftness
      View synonyms
  • 2A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.

    • ‘It is home to a folly tower, called the Summer House, built to commemorate the Reform Bill of 1832.’
    • ‘This treatment of the hydrotherapy unit transcends function: the building is a kind of garden folly in a landscape of cars.’
    • ‘Ruins themselves are reminiscent of purpose-built folly gardens of the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘Wildly elaborate architectural follies, ruins and waterworks are featured in two 1982 drawings, both titled Haunted Village.’
    • ‘Later it made me think of follies built in the gardens of the English houses of the rich and often featuring in Agatha Christie plays.’
    • ‘Several folly towers and temples once formed part of the landscape at Emo.’
    • ‘At present, architectural production often seems to be of two quite dissimilar kinds: sheds and follies.’
    • ‘Now we have a swimming pool, a marvellous garden and a splendid folly.’
    • ‘To others it is simply an artistic folly on a bleak Lanarkshire hillside.’
    • ‘It's a fascinating folly in the woods, up a hill, offering stunning views over London, out into Kent, and across to Essex and beyond.’
    • ‘The most dominant garden feature is a folly with an interesting provenance.’
    • ‘Built in 1843 in the style of a Greek temple, the folly is a Grade II Listed Building.’
    • ‘Apart from formal diversity, the symbolic and cultural role of the folly is also important.’
    • ‘A building can be symbolic of power, but it can also be a folly.’
    • ‘It was also from Ruisdael that 18 th-century Britain inherited its love of gothic ruins and haunted follies.’
    • ‘Why is this council contemplating spending £2 million of our tax on an unnecessary folly?’
    • ‘The Strickland's other main legacy is much easier to spot: the fine folly tower, Carnaby Temple, sited atop of a nearby hill.’
    • ‘Known as the Temple de l' Amour, the folly is now the client's summer residence.’
    • ‘The monument to the seventh Earl continued the tradition of follies and garden buildings begun in the 18th century.’
    • ‘There was also a folly and a burial ground, so all in all more sinister than friendly, in my opinion.’
  • 3A theatrical revue with glamorous female performers:

    [in names] ‘the Ziegfeld Follies’
    • ‘Her sister Doris had been employed to rehearse a group of dancing girls for a road show of the Follies for producer Ned Wayburn.’
    • ‘Instead of going back to the chorus, she took to the road, playing the lead roles in classic musicals like Can-Can, Gypsy, and Follies.’
    • ‘‘I'm one of the lucky ones,’ she says of performing in the Follies.’
    • ‘But Spielberg's strong sense of nostalgia and his increasing sense of irony makes Follies, a forever ‘troubled’ show, a perfect match.’
    • ‘The Palace Grand Prize is the title of this year's instalment of the Gaslight Follies at the Palace Grand Theatre in Dawson City.’
    • ‘Drag Follies will be showing at the Arts Theatre Club in Patterson Street until May 28.’
    • ‘Opening night for the Gaslight Follies is Saturday, May 18.’
    • ‘I would have been very sorry indeed to have missed the latest reincarnation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies.’
    • ‘As if the Paper Mill had blown its funds on Follies, this Gypsy, in sets and costumes that seem underfinanced, also looks underimagined.’
    • ‘The depression wiped out not only the Follies, but also the Vaudeville touring circuit.’
    • ‘He was 15 when he saw his first Broadway production, Follies, and 32 years later he can still recall every moment ‘scene by scene.’’
    • ‘Along with Follies, the festival screens Wiseman's Law and Order and Domestic Violence.’
    • ‘Minto adult skaters have performed in every edition of the Follies that has been presented.’
    • ‘Emma Clifford comes direct to the national tour of Chicago from playing ‘Young Salle’ in the recent London production of Follies.’
    • ‘I recalled seeing him in a private screening of ‘Pep Follies of 1930,’ strumming his vulgar ukulele and screeching ‘Good Night Sweetheart.’’
    • ‘The women, now much older, reminisce, rekindle old friendships, open old wounds, and perform some of their Follies numbers.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French folie madness, in modern French also ‘delight, favourite dwelling’(compare with folly), from fol fool, foolish.

Pronunciation:

folly

/ˈfɒli/