Definition of folly in English:


Syllabification: fol·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈfälē

noun (plural follies)

1Lack of good sense; foolishness: an act of sheer folly
More example sentences
  • This is sheer folly and reveals a lack of understanding of the power of saving regularly from an early age.
  • There is no future in trying to find a middle road between folly and common sense.
  • 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.
1.1A foolish act, idea, or practice: the follies of youth
More example sentences
  • But one man's notion of a masterwork may be another's idea of a folly.
  • It's a good idea to show the follies of socialism in pictorial form and he does have some good pictures.
  • Pensioners are being rack-rated to pay for the follies of this foolish Government.
2A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
More example sentences
  • The monument to the seventh Earl continued the tradition of follies and garden buildings begun in the 18th century.
  • 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.
3 (Follies) A theatrical revue, typically with glamorous female performers: [in names]: the Ziegfeld Follies
More example sentences
  • Her sister Doris had been employed to rehearse a group of dancing girls for a road show of the Follies for producer Ned Wayburn.
  • ‘I'm one of the lucky ones,’ she says of performing in the Follies.
  • The women, now much older, reminisce, rekindle old friendships, open old wounds, and perform some of their Follies numbers.


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

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