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Ask Cher Your Own Question
Cher, Educator-40+ yrs
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 21422
Experience:  M.A., B.A., Author, Information & Research Specialist
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Resolved Question:

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Cher replied 6 years ago.

Do you mean 'Tomfoolery'?

Do you need a definition of this word?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes, please. I would like the origin of this word, not least because I am named "Tom".
Expert:  Cher replied 6 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

Please give me a few minutes to type your detailed answer.

Expert:  Cher replied 6 years ago.
Hi again Tom, and thanks for your patience!

Here is the dictionary definition of this word:

The origin of the word is interesting. From the online dictionary of etymology: "Tom Fool "buffoon, clown," 1650, from M.E. Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient man (1338), see Tom+ fool
Tomfoolery is recorded from 1812."

In fourteenth century England, "Tom Fool" was a generic name for a mentally deranged person. It's vaguely the same as calling somebody whose name you don't know "Mack" or "Buddy".

The term was gradually softened to refer to any outlandish behavior, and the noun-created version, "tomfoolery" dates back to 19th century England.
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