English edit

The Temple de l'Amour, a garden folly of the Château de Versailles (France), and more specifically, in the Petit Trianon part of it (sense 3)
The Casino at Marino from Marino (Dublin, Ireland), a Neoclassical folly (sense 3)
The Ionic Temple in Chiswick House gardens (London), with an obelisk in front of it (sense 3)

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Old French folie (madness), from the adjective fol (mad, insane).

Noun edit

folly (countable and uncountable, plural follies)

  1. Foolishness that results from a lack of foresight or lack of practicality.
    It would be folly to walk all that way, knowing the shops are probably shut by now.
  2. Thoughtless action resulting in tragic consequence.
    The purchase of Alaska from Russia was termed Seward's folly.
    • 2023 June 30, Marina Hyde, “The tide is coming in fast on Rishi Sunak – and it’s full of sewage”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Thames Water has become the latest object lesson in the predictable and predicted folly of privatised monopolies, aided by a regulator that’s an even bigger wet wipe than the fatbergs bunging up the sewers.
  3. (architecture) A fanciful building built for purely ornamental reasons.
    A luncheonette in the shape of a coffee cup is particularly conspicuous, as is intended of an architectural duck or folly.
    • 1984, William Gibson, chapter 14, in Neuromancer (Sprawl; book 1), New York, N.Y.: Ace Books, →ISBN, page 172:
      “The Villa Straylight,” said a jeweled thing on the pedestal, in a voice like music, “is a body grown in upon itself, a Gothic folly. []
    • 2014 September 7, “Doddington's garden pyramid is a folly good show”, in The Daily Telegraph[2], London:
      It has been a long time since new follies were springing up across the great estates of Britain. But the owners of Doddington Hall, in Lincolnshire, have brought the folly into the 21st century, by building a 30ft pyramid in the grounds of the Elizabethan manor.
    • 2018 April 18, Paul Cooper, “Europe Was Once Obsessed With Fake Dilapidated Buildings”, in The Atlantic[3]:
      A great deal of eccentricity was expressed through the trend for ruin follies. But it wasn’t only the madness of paranoid earls and fashionable landowners that was encoded in them.
  4. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) A pinkish-red color.
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
Translations edit

Etymology 2 edit

Verb edit

folly (third-person singular simple present follies, present participle follying, simple past and past participle follied)

  1. (dialectal) To follow.
    • 1957, Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Penguin, published 1976, →OCLC, page 23:
      "You got any money?" he said to me. ¶ "Hell no, maybe enough for a pint of whisky till I get to Denver. What about you?" ¶ "I know where I can get some." ¶ "Where?" "Anywhere. You can always folly a man down an alley, can't you?"
    • 2002, Richard Kilroy O'Malley, Hobo: A Depression Odyssey, →ISBN, page 104:
      "Anybody got the makin's?" he said. "That's one hell of a thick bunch of canvas, but I follied the seam."
    • 2012, Honor Molloy, Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage, Boston, M.A.: Gemma, →ISBN, page 43:
      Howandever, at the selfsame time, there was a gang of fellas from the valley of kings follying the very same pointy star. And didn't that pointy star point them king-fellas in the direction of Mary's cowstable.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit