fool

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fool

or

court jester,

a person who entertains with buffoonery and an often caustic wit. In all countries from ancient times and extending into the 18th cent., mental and physical deformity provided amusement. Attached to noble and royal courts were dwarfs, cripples, idiots, albinos, and freaks. The medieval court fool was seldom mentally deficient. For the freedom to indulge in satire, tricks, and repartee, many men of keen insight and caustic wit obtained powerful patronage by assuming the role of fool. This role was played in the courts of the East, in ancient Greece and Rome, and in the court of Montezuma. The clownclown,
a comic character usually distinguished by garish makeup and costume whose antics are both humorously clumsy and acrobatic. The clown employs a broad, physical style of humor that is wordless or not as self-consciously verbal as the traditional fool or jester.
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 or jester was common in Elizabethan drama (e.g., the Fool in King Lear), and by donning the fool's garb the actor gained the freedom of the fool. His costume, which was hung with bells, usually consisted of a varicolored coat, tight breeches with legs of different colors—occasionally a long petticoat was worn—and a bauble (mock scepter) and a cap which fitted close to the head or fell over the shoulders in the form of asses' ears. Till Eulenspiegel and Robin Goodfellow are mythical fools.

Bibliography

See B. Swain, Fools and Folly (1932); E. Welsford, The Fool (1936, repr. 1961); S. Billington, A Social History of the Fool (1984).

fool

(formerly) a professional jester living in a royal or noble household

FOOL

Fool's Lisp. A small Scheme interpreter.

ftp://scam.berkeley.edu/src/local/fools.tar.Z.
References in classic literature ?
Judging you merely by appearances, I think you'd better talk to the Foolish Owl yonder.
But it's good advice for the foolish," said the donkey, admiringly.
Owls are supposed to be so very wise, generally, that a foolish one is unusual, and you perhaps know that anything or anyone unusual is sure to be interesting to the wise.
His politeness for the fair sex has already been hinted at by Miss Rebecca Sharp--in a word, the whole baronetage, peerage, commonage of England, did not contain a more cunning, mean, selfish, foolish, disreputable old man.
Her father chid her for crying so for a foolish bird; but could not help telling young Blifil, if he was a son of his, his backside should be well flead.
Don't be foolish," advised the Tin Woodman, "or you may be sorry for it.
But now that this foolish trial is ended, I will tell you what really became of your pet piglet.
Well, then, my love, I wish you would keep your foolish fancy to yourself, and not wake up MY foolish fancy to keep it company,' retorted Mrs Nickleby.
But they threw him into the river for asking foolish questions, and laughed when the water ruined his pasteboard head before he could swim out again.
This was foolish and inconsistent with my previous dread of the light, but what would you have?
You ask foolish questions about things unknown and things forbidden.
Considering everything, therefore, I hope, foolish as our engagement was, foolish as it has since in every way been proved, it was not at the time an unnatural or an inexcusable piece of folly.