As this week progresses, people in many lands will celebrate foolishness (or at least indulge in some). In honor of April 1, we’ll join them by taking a gander at the word fool.
Fool has been around in English for a long time. The noun form of fool showed up in the 1200s & the verb form appeared about a century later. It came from fol, an Old French term for idiot, rogue, jester, or madman. The French got it from the Latin term follis, literally meaning leather bag or bellows & figuratively meaning empty-headed person or windbag. Though one might imagine the antics of court jesters inspired the word, centuries of jesters gave their collective all before the English term fool was applied to their ilk in the late 1300s.
In 1680 the term April fool was born. On All Fool’s Day people were sent on “false errands” (did those Brits have a crazy sense of humor or what?). Interestingly, the Norse had a similar celebration known as April Gowk (gowk meant cuckoo in Norse)
Some fool-related words include:
bold (no fooling)
Though most of the following words have multiple meanings, they are all also synonyms for fool:
What have you to say about all this etymological tomfoolery?