American English

Definition of fool verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they fool
    he / she / it fools
    past simple fooled
    -ing form fooling
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  1. 1[transitive] to trick someone into believing something that is not true fool somebody You don't fool me! She certainly had me fooled—I really believed her! fool yourself You're fooling yourself if you think none of this will affect you. fool somebody into doing something Don't be fooled into thinking they're going to change anything. synonyms at cheat
  2. 2[intransitive] to say or do stupid or silly things, often in order to make people laugh fool around Stop fooling around and sit down! fool (around) with something If you fool around with matches, you'll end up getting burned.
  3. Thesauruscheatlie trick fool deceive betray conThese words all mean to make someone believe something that is not true, especially in order to get what you want.cheat to make someone believe something that is not true, in order to get money or something else from them:She cheated on her taxes. I was cheated out of my fair share. Cheat also means to act in a dishonest way in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game, competition, or exam:Copying someone else's answers is one kind of cheating.lie to say or write something that you know is not true:He lied about his age. Don't lie to me.trick to make someone believe something that is not true, especially in a skillful way, in order to get what you want:She tricked him into handing over all his savings.fool to make someone believe something that is not true, especially in order to laugh at them or to get what you want:Just don't be fooled by these statistics.deceive to make someone believe something that is not true, especially someone who trusts you, in order to get what you want:I don't know how he deceived me so well.betray to hurt someone who trusts you, especially by deceiving them or not being loyal to them:She felt betrayed when she found out the truth about him.con (informal) to deceive someone, especially in order to get money from them or get them to do something for you:My grandfather was conned out of $10,000 by criminals.which word?Many of these words involve making someone believe something that is not true, but some of them are more disapproving than others. Deceive is probably the worst because people typically deceive friends, relations, and others who know and trust them. People may feel cheated/betrayed by someone in authority whom they trusted to look after their interests. If someone cheats/tricks/fools/cons you, they may get something from you and make you feel stupid. However, someone might fool you just as a joke; and to trick someone is sometimes seen as a skillful thing to do, if the person being tricked is seen as a bad person who deserves it.Patterns to cheat/trick/fool/con somebody out of something to fool/trick/con somebody into doing something to feel cheated/tricked/fooled/deceived/betrayed/conned to fool/deceive yourself to cheat/trick/con your way into somethingIdioms
    you could have fooled me (informal)
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    used to say that you do not believe something that someone has just told you “I'm trying as hard as I can!” “You could have fooled me!”
    Phrasal Verbsfool around
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fool