On StackOverflow, answering a question I introduced a badly written piece of code by saying

To make it clear, let's have some folly examples.

I wanted to say that the examples the reader is going to see are not sensible and show a lack of good judgment.

I am now having doubts whether folly was the right word and whether it conveys the meaning of foolish.

My questions are

  1. Is my sentence correct?
  2. Can foolish and folly be used interchangeably? If not, provide some examples, please.


I discovered folly a few months ago in Collins:

If you say that a particular action or way of behaving is folly [or a folly], you mean that it is foolish.

I missed the part "or a folly". I inaccurately believed folly is an adjective (a synonym for foolish) and didn't recheck it before asking the difference between those two. My bad, sorry.

closed as off-topic by Jason Bassford, Michael Harvey, SamBC, Robusto, Andrew Tobilko Mar 5 at 21:34

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    A quick look in the dictionary would have shown you that folly is a noun. That said, your update does a good job of explaining how you may have been led to believe otherwise by a credible source. Indeed, [that] way of behaving is folly is a curious construct. Thank you for taking the time to post the update. – J.R. Mar 5 at 22:27

No, they can't. Foolish is an adjective.

Folly is a rather literary noun - in everyday English foolishness or stupidity, or idiocy are more common alternatives.

While some nouns can be used as modifiers for other nouns, I can't think of any uses of folly as a modifier.

  • 1
    Yes. Use foolishness if you need a corresponding noun. (I would say that's a lighter alternative to stupidity or idiocy). – Robusto Mar 5 at 21:00

Is my sentence correct? Can foolish and folly be used interchangeably? If not, provide some examples, please.

First, folly is a noun, foolish is an adjective.

Examples? Here they are (just a few) , in collocations:

Pure/ultimate/human follies that you can realize/demonstrate/ show, etc.

Foolish act/ mistake/ thing, etc.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.