Definition of folly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfɒli/

noun (plural follies)

1 [mass noun] Lack 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.
1.1 [count noun] A 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.
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
informal craziness
British informal daftness
2A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
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 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, favourite dwelling' (compare with sense 2), from fol 'fool, foolish'.

Words that rhyme with folly

Barbirolli, brolly, collie, dolly, golly, holly, jolly, lolly, Mollie, molly, nollie, Ollie, polly, poly, trolley, volley, wally

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: folly

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