What is the difference between foolish and silly?

foolish | silly | Synonyms |

Silly is a synonym of foolish.

As adjectives the difference between foolish and silly

is that foolish is lacking good sense or judgement; unwise while silly is (archaic) pitiable; deserving of compassion; helpless.

As a noun silly is

(colloquial) a silly person; a fool.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




  • Lacking good sense or judgement; unwise.
  • :
  • *
  • *:As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish , but I would not go out of my way to protest against it. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. I would very gladly make mine over to him if I could.
  • Resembling or characteristic of a fool.
  • :
  • *(Aeschylus)
  • *:It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish .
  • Synonyms

    * absurd * idiotic * ridiculous * silly * unwise


    * wise

    Derived terms

    * foolishness




  • (label) Pitiable; deserving of compassion; helpless.
  • * 1590 , (Edmund Spenser), (The Faerie Queene) , I.vi:
  • A silly man, in simple weedes forworne, / And soild with dust of the long dried way; / His sandales were with toilesome trauell torne, / And face all tand with scorching sunny ray
  • * (Edmund Spenser) (c.1552–1599)
  • After long storms with which my silly bark was tossed sore.
  • * (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) (1772-1834)
  • The silly buckets on the deck.
  • (label) Simple, unsophisticated, ordinary; rustic, ignorant.
  • * 1633 , (John Donne), "Sapho to Philænis":
  • For, if we justly call each silly man'' / A ''little island , What shall we call thee than?
  • * (William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • A fourth man, in a silly habit.
  • * (John Milton) (1608-1674)
  • All that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
  • Foolish, showing a lack of good sense and wisdom; frivolous, trifling.
  • Irresponsible, showing irresponsible behaviors.
  • Semiconscious, witless.
  • (label) Of a fielding position, very close to the batsman; closer than short.
  • Simple, not intelligent, unrefined.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1935, author= George Goodchild
  • , title=Death on the Centre Court, chapter=1 , passage=“Anthea hasn't a notion in her head but to vamp a lot of silly mugwumps. She's set her heart on that tennis bloke
  • (label) Happy; fortunate; blessed.
  • (Chaucer)
  • (label) Harmless; innocent; inoffensive.
  • * (Edmund Spenser) (c.1552–1599)
  • The silly virgin strove him to withstand.
  • * Robynson (More's Utopia)
  • A silly , innocent hare murdered of a dog.

    Derived terms

    * sillily (adverb) * silly season


    * ("playful"): pious


    * ("playful"): charming


  • (colloquial) A silly person; a fool.
  • (colloquial) A mistake.
  • Anagrams

    * * * 1000 English basic words