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Fool, subst. 1) one who acts or thinks absurdly: Lucr. 1568. Tp. III, 1, 73. III, 3, 27. III, 3, 27 IV, 223. V, 297. Gentl. I, 1, 36. I, 2, 53. III, 1, 99. Err. II, 2, 205. Ado III, 4, 59. Mids. III, 2, 115. IV, 1, 89 etc. etc. “to make a f. of one,” Tw. II, 3, 138. “a f. go with thy soul,” H4A V, 3, 22 (i. e. go thy ways, fool that thou art; cf. Wiv. I, 4, 11. H4B V, 3, 70. Tim. V, 1, 111). “call me not f. till heaven hath sent me fortune,” As II, 7, 19 (cf. the German proverb: God is the guardian of the silly). “a --'s bolt is soon shot,” H5 III, 7, 132; cf. As V, 4, 67. “if you should lead her into a --'s paradise,” Rom. II, 4, 175 (i. e. if you make a fool of her, deceive her). “not a holiday f. there but would give a piece of silver,” Tp. II, 2, 30. (cf. As I, 3, 14). “we play the --s with the time,” H4B II, 2, 154 (we make jests, when, under so heavy circumstances, we ought to be grave). “bad is the trade that must play f. to sorrow,” Lr. IV, 1, 40 (Qq the f.). “he should be my f. and I his fate,” LLL V, 2, 68 (== I should make a fool of him, he should be my dupe). “now I am your f.” Tw. III, 1, 156 (you make sport of me). “I'll be your f. no more,” Troil. V, 2, 32; cf. III, 2, 157. “none of these rogues and cowards but Ajax is their f.” Lr. II, 2, 132 (they make sport of Ajax, the fiercest of the Greek warriors). “my f. usurps my body,” IV, 2, 28. “thus do I ever make my f. my purse,” Oth. I, 3, 389. “love is not time's f.” Sonn. 116, 9 (is not made a sport of by time, is not subject to time). “to this I witness call the --s of time,” 124, 13 (i. e. those who are 'subject to time's love or to time's hate', v. 3). merely thou (life) “art death's f.” Meas. III, 1, 11. “thought's the slave of life, and life time's f.” H4A V, 4, 81. “I am fortune's f.” Rom. III, 1, 141; cf. Lr. IV, 6, 195. “mine eyes are made the --s o' the other senses,” Mcb. II, 1, 44. “and we --s of nature so horridly to shake our disposition with thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls,” Hml. I, 4, 54. In quite another sense Tim. III, 6, 106: you --s of fortune, trencher-friends; i. e. foolish followers of fortune.
Adjectively: “this f. gudgeon, this opinion,” Merch. I, 1, 102. “the f. multitude,” II, 9, 26. Abstr. pro concr.: “much f. may you find in you,” All's II, 4, 36. “thou full dish of f.” Troil. V, 1, 10. “this is not altogether f.” Lr. I, 4, 165. they will not let me have all f. to myself, 169 (Q2 all the f.).
2) an idiot, a blockhead: “unfeeling --s can with such wrongs dispense,” Err. II, 1, 103. “he's a very f. and a prodigal,” Tw. I, 3, 25. “f. Lepidus,” Ant. III, 5, 18.
3) a licensed jester (“"a fellow in a long motley coat guarded with yellow",” Ant. III, 5, 18; see “Motley; with his hair cut,” Err. V, 175): Ado I, 1, 41. II, 1, 211. Mids. IV, 1, 215. Tw. I, 5, 39. Tw. I, 5, 39 Tw. I, 5, 39 48 etc. II, 3, 15. 19 etc. III, 1, 36 etc. etc. “use you for my f. and chat with you,” Err. II, 2, 27. “he was whipped for getting the shrieve's f. with child,” All's IV, 3, 213 (Douce: "female idiots were retained in families for diversion as well as male"). “there is no slander in an allowed f., though he do nothing but rail,” Tw. I, 5, 101. “or tie my treasure up in silken bags, to please the f. and death,” Per. III, 2, 42 (an allusion, according to Steevens, to an old print, in which Death is exhibited in the act of plundering a miser of his bags, and the Fool is standing behind and grinning at the process. But the expression would be pretty clear even without such an allusion).
4) a term of endearment and pity: “do not weep, good --s,” Wint. II, 1, 118. “the poor f. prays her that he may depart,” Ven. 578. “alas poor f., why do I pity him,” Gentl. IV, 4, 98. “you have a merry heart . . . . . I thank it, poor f.” Ado II, 1, 326. “the poor dappled --s,” As II, 1, 22. “alas, poor f., how have they baffled thee,” Tw. V, 377. “so many weeks ere the poor --s will ean,” H6C II, 5, 36. “and my poor f. is hanged,” Lr. V, 3, 305. “poor venomous f., be angry,” Ant. V, 2, 308. “felt it bitter, pretty f.” Rom. I, 3, 31. Rom. I, 3, 31 And without an adj.: “she's a lamb, a dove, a f. to him,” Shr. III, 2, 159.
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