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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.


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


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


Fool's Lisp. A small Scheme interpreter.
References in periodicals archive ?
You deliberately, foolishly, to help a friend, breached that trust.
Take note though, for if you foolishly vote to stay in, then an Orwellian future awaits you and your family - this is the real scare story of the EU, as a little research will easily show.
I say foolishly because there is an enormous gap between being able to cause a nuclear explosion and build some sort of platform and putting a nuclear weapons system into service and posing any real threat to anyone.
NCE again, a public Ofigure has been brought to ruin by a lie most foolishly told.
The worst bit was when he rather foolishly asked his cell-mate: "Does my bum look big in this?
There's a combat we can't deny, even if we foolishly remove every military reference in every hymnal in the interests of political correctness.
And he foolishly agreed to pose in their colours for the comedy show Striscia La Notizia.
MY WEEK Punting high I was happy to see Paul Casey beat Camillo Villegas in the World Matchplay, and it got even better when Ian Poulter saw off an out-of-sorts Casey in the final Punting lows Been waiting to back Souffleur over 2m4f and foolishly had him down as a non-stayer over 3m1f at Haydock Cheltenham previews I am attending two this year, including a 7.
The nub of the plot can be simply summarised: a woman foolishly fails to outgrow her childhood infatuation with a priest who foolishly fails to leave the priesthood to marry her.
I and some other gullible Coventry City supporters also foolishly had a dream some weeks ago.
So David foolishly tries to take revenge by smashing up their new kitchen - and even Tina joins in.
Covering six aspects that range from loss to integration, it's a seminal guide to going with the flow of time, instead of foolishly standing in the way of it.