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[tom-fool] /ˈtɒmˈful/
a grossly foolish or stupid person; a silly fool.
being or characteristic of a tomfool.
Origin of tomfool
1325-75; Middle English Thome fole Tom the fool
Related forms
tomfoolish, adjective
tomfoolishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tomfool
Historical Examples
  • You want genius, my boy, to make a tomfool of yourself like this,' and he looked himself proudly up and down.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • That tomfool letter we sent ruined whatever chance I had left.

  • I don't like to apply such a tomfool word to anything, but observe how all this has come about.

    Master of His Fate J. Mclaren Cobban
  • Then aloud in Spanish: "What's the good of all that tomfool business?"

    Lone Pine R. B. (Richard Baxter) Townshend
  • And think of that tomfool of a Tommy-Bill-beg sending the man to me.

  • Go and fetch the money and the tomfool paint-box thing that you say he had it in.

    "Carrots:" Mrs. Molesworth
  • Dorcas objected to this name, but Tabitha remarked sagely that at any rate it was better than "tomfool."

  • "I'll stop all night in your tomfool wood and up your tomfool trees," he said.

    The Trees of Pride G.K. Chesterton
  • This ought to be read before all the tomfool peace societies and anti-imperialist societies of the present-day.

    Letters to His Children Theodore Roosevelt
  • “If she wa'n't dead and gone, I wouldn't believe one word of such a tomfool story,” said she, with vicious energy.

    The Shoulders of Atlas Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for tomfool


  1. a fool
  2. (as modifier): tomfool ideas
Derived Forms
tomfoolish, adjective
tomfoolishness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from tom1 + fool1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tomfool

"buffoon, clown," 1640s, from Middle English Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient man (mid-14c.), see Tom + fool (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tomfool



: In his younger days he was a notorious tomcat


To pursue male sexual activity avidly

[1927+; fr the common name for a male cat, popularized by the 1760 book The Life and Adventures of a Cat, in which the creature was named Tom]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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