Definition of folly in English:

folly

noun

  • 1mass noun Lack of good sense; foolishness.

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

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

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

Origin

Middle English: from Old French folie ‘madness’, in modern French also ‘delight, favourite dwelling’ (compare with folly (sense 2)), from fol ‘fool, foolish’.

Pronunciation

folly

/ˈfɒli/