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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 ?
The JI Ameer also said that Trump due to his foolishness push the world towards fire and war, and warned that such foolishness would endanger the peace of the world.
Speaking with Ben-Ami during the Camp David Summit in July of 2000, Arafat mocked Israel's withdrawal, calling it "complete foolishness.
He added: "It would be inappropriate for Danny to comment pending the hearing, but through the PJA he would like to apologise to all those he feels he has let down through an act of foolishness and, having informed those same people over the last couple of days, would like to thank them for their support.
Warner himself, currently a politician in Trinidad, said in a statement: "I have no interest in joining in the foolishness that is now passing as news on Qatar and Jack Warner.
We have reported many times on the extraordinary levels of foolishness which lead ill-equipped walkers to take to the hills, sparking expensive and potentially risky mountain rescue operations.
A cultural perspective on holy foolishness as a phenomenon that has been vital through the ages is provided by a series of articles, most notably the first English translation of A.
Business friendly' clergy in the Presbyterian Church at the time said, "The problem of the Great Depression was not capitalism but the foolishness and greed of the individuals at the helm of this economic system; captains of industry who pursued personal wealth at the expense of workers and the public ".
I announce a general amnesty for those who committed foolishness before
Foolishness and using this crisis to stay off work and wander around the Pearl Roundabout and up and down roads will ultimately lead to less jobs, etc etc, no need to list them.
Make it up and you're sure to be found out - and that foolishness will stay with you for a long time.
SIR - When this Coalition Government announced that its major policy in order to rebuild the economy from the recession which the international banks had caused was to make hundreds of thousands of people unemployed, I thought that their policies were arrant foolishness, in contradiction to the proven wisdom of Keynesian economics.