act/play the fool

act the fool

1. To behave comically or playfully, often to amuse others. If you continue to act the fool, you're going to have to leave the classroom. Joe never acts the fool—he's always serious. Why do you have detention? Please tell me you weren't acting the fool again.
2. To behave irresponsibly or immaturely, especially in an environment where it is especially inappropriate. Don't let me catch any of you kids acting the fool at the museum—it's a privilege to even go inside. We finally get invited to a nice dinner party and you have to go and act the fool—what's wrong with you? People who've had too much to drink always want to go down to the pier and act the fool, hollering and carrying on.
See also: act, fool

play the fool

To behave comically or playfully, often to amuse others. Joe never plays the fool—he's always serious. If you continue to play the fool, you're going to have to leave the classroom.
See also: fool, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play the fool

Fig. to act in a silly manner in order to amuse other people. The teacher told Tom to stop playing the fool and sit down. Fred likes playing the fool, but we didn't find him funny last night.
See also: fool, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play the fool

Act in a silly or stupid way, as in Helen deliberately played the fool so they wouldn't realize she understood their strategy. [First half of 1500s]
See also: fool, play
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

act/play the ˈfool

behave in a stupid way to make people laugh, especially in a way that may also annoy them: It’s impossible to have a decent game of tennis with Frank — he acts the fool the whole time.If you played the fool in class a little less and worked a bit harder, you could do quite well.
In the past, a fool was a man employed by a king or queen to entertain people by telling jokes, singing songs, etc.
See also: act, fool, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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