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Tomfoolery   Listen
noun
Tomfoolery  n.  Trifling or silly behavior done mostly for amusement; foolishness; fooling around.
Synonyms: tomfoolishness.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Tomfoolery" Quotes from Famous Books



... moon signs, their owl signs, their cat and dog signs, and I know not what all other kinds of signs, all of which were regarded with the reverence due only to sacred things. I must confess I have often been disgusted at the tomfoolery of some of these ...
— Ellen Walton - The Villain and His Victims • Alvin Addison

... better go and lie down, Miss Blyth," he said, abruptly. "I'll see to this—" he said "tomfoolery," ...
— Geoffrey Strong • Laura E. Richards

... "What tomfoolery is this?" he demanded, looking angrily round. "You seem to forget, all of you, that you come here to work, and not to play. If you want to play you can go somewhere else. There!" So saying he passed into his private room, ...
— My Friend Smith - A Story of School and City Life • Talbot Baines Reed

... it's not to maintain law and order and the proper protection of property? And to have the whole blessed country terrorised, the police defied, and people's houses invaded with impunity by a gutter-bred brute of a cracksman is nothing short of a scandal and a shame! Call this sort of tomfoolery being protected by the police? God bless my soul! one might as well be in charge of a parcel of doddering old women and be done ...
— Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces • Thomas W. Hanshew

... opportunity to sever your relations, and nobody need have been wiser—and she'd have had all the blame—and it's only what she's accustomed to—you—you! you, James North!—you must nonsensically go, and, by this extravagant piece of idiocy and sentimental tomfoolery, let everybody see how serious the whole affair was, and how deep it hurt you! and here in this awful place, alone—where you're half drowned to get to it and are willing to be wholly drowned to get away! ...
— Drift from Two Shores • Bret Harte

... off his shoes, with a muttered sailor's blessing on Frobisher's head at what he termed the latter's "tomfoolery", and, going down upon one knee, seized first one and then the other of Frobisher's feet, removed the bandages from them, and ...
— A Chinese Command - A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas • Harry Collingwood

... all along, of course," said the foreman. "But I never paid any attention to them. I just quit, like Mr. Sinclair, when they started all that tomfoolery ...
— The Revolt on Venus • Carey Rockwell

... so drunk as not to know what you are doing. Enough of this tomfoolery," said the officer sternly, "or I will have you put under arrest in your ...
— Almayer's Folly - A Story of an Eastern River • Joseph Conrad

... his hand on the butt of his revolver at his hip, meaning to whip out the weapon and fire before the miscreant had finished his high-sounding tomfoolery. His daughter had also grasped hers, intending to obey to the letter the command of her parent, when the Ghoojur chieftain abruptly paused in his speech, staggered for a moment, and then sank to the ground like a bundle of rags, with the breath of ...
— The Jungle Fugitives • Edward S. Ellis

... aggressively. "That piece of tomfoolery, as you call it, is a sail. I'll make you fellows open your eyes ...
— Canoe Boys and Campfires - Adventures on Winding Waters • William Murray Graydon

... themselves in all probability, have given this substantial dweller of the under-water plateaus undignified names. They call him pilker, scrod, groper, etc. This is pure envy. When he bites it means business. There is none of the bait-stealing tomfoolery of the cunner, none of the dancing hilarity of the pollock. It is just a steady down tug that makes the line cut your fingers and likely takes your hand under water. If he is a good one you will need to sit back and snub ...
— Old Plymouth Trails • Winthrop Packard

... just wait. All this business with colored lights and chords on that old organ is only tomfoolery. Wait til ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... "Now, Sir, heads or tails?" I happen to have seen it fall head uppermost—but no doubt he has manipulated it some way—if I say tails, he will look rather foolish. Tails, then. Will I lift my hat? I do—a guinea-pig! Renewed roars. I ought to be above feeling annoyed at this tomfoolery—but these conjuring fellows ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 93, September 24, 1887 • Various

... camping out," with an irrepressible chuckle. "Often thought I'd like to try it," he said, and invited us to help him make up a camping party. "Be a change for us city chaps," he suggested; and then exploding at what he called his "tomfoolery," set the dining-net all a-quivering ...
— We of the Never-Never • Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn

... to such tomfoolery for one," replied Tommy. "I'm dead beat." He went and sat down doggedly on the main hatch. "You got us on; get us off again," ...
— The Wrecker • Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

... he's out at some of his tomfoolery," conjectured the visitor, in a tone of virtuous conviction. "Johnny never would stick to anything long enough to succeed. I wonder how he manages to run his business here, and never be 'round ...
— Cabbages and Kings • O. Henry

... the three men came in and limply dropped into comfortable chairs in my library, with the air of having made martyrs of themselves in the great cause of charity. But they did not deceive me. They originated all that tomfoolery for their own ...
— Dear Enemy • Jean Webster

... blue-blooded but impecunious baronet should, and to step into the living which is fattening for you, then I must refuse to take any further responsibility for your future. Here is a thousand pounds; it is the money I had set aside for your college course. Use it for your musical tomfoolery if you insist, and then—get what living you can.' Which was severe but dignified, unpaternal yet patrician. But what does my governor do? That cantankerous, pig-headed old Philistine—God bless him!—he's got no sense of the respect a father owes to his ...
— Merely Mary Ann • Israel Zangwill

... that there are asses here in France that want to import the solemn tomfoolery that the English keep up among themselves with that admirable self-possession which you know!" added Blondet. "It is enough to make any man shudder if he has seen the English at home, and recollects the ...
— The Firm of Nucingen • Honore de Balzac

... the door in time. Myra is not well, and she has sent a message to me to beg that she may be allowed to slip away quietly with few good-byes. I suppose the people will have all the satin slipper and rice throwing tomfoolery." ...
— Witness to the Deed • George Manville Fenn

... by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of ...
— The Devil's Dictionary • Ambrose Bierce

... tomfoolery you are up to doesn't matter. We needn't quarrel. I've another proposition to put before you—much more to your fancy, I think. You like this Mr. Randall ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... by tickling his nose with a straw. Camille sneezed, got up, and pronounced the joke a capital one. He liked Laurent on account of his tomfoolery, which made him laugh. He now roused his wife, who kept her eyes closed. When she had risen to her feet, and shaken her skirt, which was all crumpled, and covered with dry leaves, the party quitted the clearing, breaking the small branches ...
— Therese Raquin • Emile Zola

... Tomfoolery Convention now being held in this city, talk as fluently of the Bible and God's teachings in their speeches, as if they could draw an argument from inspiration in maintenance of their Woman's Rights stuff.... The poor creatures who take part in the silly rant of "brawling women" and Aunt Nancy men, ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... with your eternal chatter!" Henley burst out, angrily. "I don't care what them two silly women do. I'll not be here to witness such tomfoolery. I'm going to Texas, ...
— Dixie Hart • Will N. Harben

... fun while it lasts; it yields mellow mirth for later years, and are not our fellow-creatures, those solemn buffoons, ten times more ridiculous? Where is the use of experience, if it does not make you laugh? The Logic of the Intellect—what next! If any one had treated me to such tomfoolery while standing there, petrified into a pillar of fidelity in that creeping shadow, I ...
— Alone • Norman Douglas

... nice set of nincompoops the race will develop into if such fools as that get their way! We're soft enough as it is, Heaven knows. Why couldn't they hang the scoundrel as he deserved? That's the surest way of putting an end to savagery. But to stop the sport altogether! It would be tomfoolery!" ...
— The Bars of Iron • Ethel May Dell

... said Belch. "Look here. If we don't get this grant from Congress, what on earth is the use of having worked so long in this devilish old harness of politics? Haven't we been to primary meetings, and conventions, and elections, and all the other tomfoolery, speechifying and plotting and setting things right, and being bled, by Jupiter!—bled to the tune of more hundreds than I mean to lose; and now, just as we are where a bold push will save every thing, and make it worth while to have worked in the nasty mill so long, we must have our wits ...
— Trumps • George William Curtis

... cried Bonnebault, "do you mean to tell me that neither my grandmother nor I, nor your mother, Godain, can come here and glean? Here's tomfoolery for you; a pretty show of authority! Why, the fellow is a devil let loose from ...
— Sons of the Soil • Honore de Balzac

... "You'll only make ma nervous, and she is nervous enough already, thinking about dad. You save your tomfoolery until we are on the way ...
— The Rover Boys on a Hunt - or The Mysterious House in the Woods • Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)

... old imbecile," cried he, jumping off his chairs and running up to him, "What are you after?" bursting into a loud laugh as he looked at Mr. Jorrocks's mustachios (a pair of great false ones). "Is there no piece of tomfoolery too great for you? What's come across you now? Where the deuce did you get these things?" taking hold of the curls at one side of ...
— Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities • Robert Smith Surtees

... kitchen. Keeping the ladder an extra day by special permission she climbed it to wash the eight small panes of the window, after which she hung at either side of them a strip of the blue-tinted cheesecloth. But when Barber saw the curtains, he called them "tomfoolery," and tore them down. So nothing happened to the ...
— The Rich Little Poor Boy • Eleanor Gates

... on the men," said Mr. Thorne. "We lost two of our best hands this week—threw down their tools and quit, for some tomfoolery they wouldn't have noticed a month ago. The bosses irritate the men, and the men get fighting mad in a minute. Not one of them will bear the weight of a word, and I don't blame them. The work is hard enough in decent weather; they are dropping off sick every day. The night-shift boys can't ...
— A Touch Of Sun And Other Stories • Mary Hallock Foote

... time for tomfoolery," said the Secretary, breaking in savagely. "We have come to know what all this means. Who are you? What are you? Why did you get us all here? Do you know who and what we are? Are you a half-witted man playing the conspirator, or are you ...
— The Man Who Was Thursday - A Nightmare • G. K. Chesterton

... tomfool. And that is not the kind of a man we women love, not even when we are still half children, as you have always thought me and perhaps still do, in spite of my progress. Tomfoolery is not what we want. Men ...
— The German Classics Of The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 • Various

... on the cadence of their first poems, clawing the air with crooked fingers and scenting at the Academy gates the good smell of our decaying minds." Well, it is satisfactory to be told, however obscurely, that this sort of thing is coming to an end some day, to be replaced by some other tomfoolery. And though I commonly refrain from clawing the air with crooked fingers, I can assure Mr. Marinetti that this omission does not disqualify me, and that I scent the good smell of his ...
— Alarms and Discursions • G. K. Chesterton

... I said. "That's just the thing I've come to ask you. A pretty pair of fools you made of the two of us up on the poop just now, with your hysterical tomfoolery." ...
— The Ghost Pirates • William Hope Hodgson

... "My tomfoolery came near to being the end of the poor dear," said Cousin 'Ratio, walking with us to the carriage, when we had taken leave of his wife. "I feel mighty bad about it, too, as you may suppose, for it was my fault in not reminding her of those cussed side-blades. ...
— When Grandmamma Was New - The Story of a Virginia Childhood • Marion Harland

... Dennis," said our host; "we shall have a crowd collecting if you go on with this tomfoolery. Send him off." ...
— We and the World, Part II. (of II.) - A Book for Boys • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... I said, putting in my oar. 'You looked at the trees, and you will at once tear them down. You fell on the fruit like a wolf. You saw the garden, and at once wanted to buy. Now you want the ring, and will exchange for it your wares. What sort of tomfoolery are you talking to us? You are either crazy yourself or will make others so. The apple falls not far from the stem—one ...
— Armenian Literature • Anonymous

... "Why, what tomfoolery is this?" said a highly-pitched voice; and Roy tried to snatch off his helmet as he caught sight of the secretary standing in the ...
— The Young Castellan - A Tale of the English Civil War • George Manville Fenn

... on the 13th of this month, and as one of the uninitiated I went through the usual tomfoolery practised on that occasion. The affair has been too often described for me to say anything about it. I had the good luck to be ducked and shaved early, and of course took particular care to do my best in serving out the unhappy beggars who had to follow. I enjoyed the fun well ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 1 • Leonard Huxley

... the text of an awful row, in which the old gentleman exposed himself more than I am willing to repeat, and called on me to choose between his hides and tallow and what he was pleased to call my tomfoolery.' ...
— The Pillars of the House, V1 • Charlotte M. Yonge

... cards. I'm going to back this boy of Morley's by millions, if necessary, and there are millions to count on—not millions to be made. Why I am doing this is my concern—all that matters is—I'm going to do it! Maybe it is a whim; maybe it is plain tomfoolery; every man has his weak side—I have mine. That factory up the hill is going to run as soon as it is finished; the Home-school is going to open its doors likewise; and both institutions are going to pay and don't you forget it! You put one product on the market; I another. ...
— A Son of the Hills • Harriet T. Comstock

... been taken to the title of this seeming tomfoolery on the ground that the Catherine it represents is not Great Catherine, but the Catherine whose gallantries provide some of the lightest pages of modern history. Great Catherine, it is said, was the Catherine whose diplomacy, whose campaigns and conquests, whose plans of Liberal reform, ...
— Great Catherine • George Bernard Shaw

... sacrifice himself to the interests of his children. She endeavoured to separate him from his friends and to make him forsake his party and his fidelity to his ideas. She made fun of what she called his tomfoolery, which prevented him from turning his position to account. Every day there were fresh attacks and reproaches until he was fairly haunted by them; it was the terrible battle of all that is most prosaic against the conscience of a Deputy of the Opposition. Finally, M. Mauperin asked his wife ...
— Rene Mauperin • Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt

... you at all, Er slosh 'nd mud 'nd drizzlin' rain, combined with a snowfall, It's just the most delightful spot this side o' heaven's dome— But I kind o' sorter reckon that I couldn't call it home. When you talk about that climate, it's all tomfoolery, Fer sunny ol' Cal'forny's good ...
— The California Birthday Book • Various

... and woods were all clean gone. I suppose it might be eight o'clock when I took the road, laden like a donkey. First there was that Bible, a book as big as your head, which I had let myself in for by my own tomfoolery. Then there was my gun, and knife, and lantern, and patent matches, all necessary. And then there was the real plant of the affair in hand, a mortal weight of gunpowder, a pair of dynamite fishing bombs, and two or three pieces of slow match that I had hauled out of the tin cases and spliced ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 17 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... devil's tomfoolery? Explain it to me. Are you mad?" His suppressed feelings overmaster him. He gives way to ...
— The Little Lady of Lagunitas • Richard Henry Savage

... to be wound up with a jerk," answered his companion. "I've settled all that. She wanted to hire somebody to take charge of the store while we're gone, and to sell out the things on her old plan; but that's all tomfoolery. I have engaged a shopkeeper at Romney to come out and buy the whole stock at retail price, and I gave him the money to do it with. That's good business, you know, because it's the same as money coming back to me, and as for the old oddments, and remnants, and endments of faded braids ...
— The Squirrel Inn • Frank R. Stockton

... Graham. "I can imagine how this great world state of ours seems to a Victorian Englishman. You regret all the old forms of representative government—their spectres still haunt the world, the voting councils and parliaments and all that eighteenth century tomfoolery You feel moved against our Pleasure Cities. I might have thought of that,—had I not been busy. But you will learn better. The people are mad with envy—they would be in sympathy with you. Even in the streets now, they clamour to destroy the Pleasure Cities. ...
— When the Sleeper Wakes • Herbert George Wells

... said, and grinned. "After all, I didn't touch him—couldn't, in any way. He'd shielded himself perfectly from any telekinetic force—and I had no weapons. I couldn't even get to him barehanded because of his shield and the binder field. He had me located—no tomfoolery about that. He fired six shots at me, ...
— Sight Gag • Laurence Mark Janifer

... the secret of her vitality. We must find it for her,—distraction, a system of physical exercises, perhaps. But we must occupy the mind. Those Christian Scientists have an idea, you know,—not that I recommend their tomfoolery; but we must accomplish their results by scientific means." And he went away highly satisfied with his ...
— Together • Robert Herrick (1868-1938)

... am Bill Cameron, the owner of these ice-houses, that's who I am! And I know you, in spite of them tomfoolery dresses you've got on. You're boys from ...
— Dave Porter and His Rivals - or, The Chums and Foes of Oak Hall • Edward Stratemeyer

... parents were poor, or because she was too kind hearted to say no. Anyway, it must have been horrid for her to know that he was rich enough to let her do anything she liked, but wouldn't let her do anything nice, because he was a Consistent Democrat, and didn't believe in show or "tomfoolery." ...
— My Friend the Chauffeur • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... On the Kaiser's birthday, military bands played everywhere. When one passes and listens to this tomfoolery, and sees the emaciated and overworked men in war-time, swaying to the sounds of music, and enjoying it, one's very gall rises. Why music? Of course, if times were different, one could enjoy music. But to-day! It should be the aim of the higher authorities to put an end to this murder. In every sound ...
— Towards The Goal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... everyone, and applause from Milburd, towards whom the Professor looks appealingly, as much as to say, "There, I can be just as funny as you, only without Tomfoolery."] ...
— Happy-Thought Hall • F. C. Burnand

... Church and the State are wrangling and quibbling, as they soon must be, over the loathsome divorce laws, these mandarins will wake up to find the marriage laws themselves are being threatened by a new generation sick of the archaic tomfoolery that controls them. If you could only take a larger view and not let yourself be bound down by your ...
— The Spinners • Eden Phillpotts

... tomfoolery of this sort never pays. I know. I've done it myself in my time. If I were you, I should pull up and try some less expensive hobby than that of mending broken men. The pieces are always chipped and never stick, and the chances are that you'll ...
— The Swindler and Other Stories • Ethel M. Dell

... rings and cabals, social and political. These were extraordinarily funny and whimsical to Rolf. No doubt because Van Cortlandt presented them that way. And he more than once wondered how rational humans could waste their time in such tomfoolery and childish things as all conventionalities seemed to be. Van Cortlandt smiled at his remarks, but made ...
— Rolf In The Woods • Ernest Thompson Seton

... spurt out of her every now and then. He's blown enough wind in her to get up a hurricane, and I expect nothing else but he'll get the old machine so chock full that she'll blow back at him some day and burst his brains out, and all along of your tomfoolery. You're a pretty mother, you are! You'd better go and join some asylum ...
— The Universal Reciter - 81 Choice Pieces of Rare Poetical Gems • Various

... tomfoolery. I asked you to be my mistress, and then, at your suggestion, I asked you to be my wife; I really don't see what more I can do. You say you're very fond of me, and yet you want to ...
— Celibates • George Moore

... travels to India by the overland route, gets to America per Cunard line, strikes the base of the Rocky Mountains, and, rebounding back to Europe, mostly perishes on the steppes of Russia from inanition and extreme cold." When he felt he was not under observation, and that tomfoolery would not be frowned upon or gazed at with astonishment, he gave himself up without reserve to healthy amusement and strengthening mirth. It was his mission to make people happy. Words of good cheer were native ...
— Yesterdays with Authors • James T. Fields

... Monck paused to lay an unexpected hand upon the lad's shoulder. "And you must take care of yourself, Tommy," he said. "Don't get up to any tomfoolery while I am away! And if you get thirsty, stick ...
— The Lamp in the Desert • Ethel M. Dell

... a woman to marry me for love of me, and not out of romantic admiration because I was lucky enough to drill a hole in a man's shoulder with smokeless powder. I tell you I am disgusted with this adventure tomfoolery and rot. I don't like it. Tudor is a sample of the adventure- kind—picking a quarrel with me and behaving like a monkey, insisting on fighting with me—'to the death,' he said. It ...
— Adventure • Jack London

... and there was a head-splitting racket in the room, a storm of tomfoolery, a sort of cats' concert, with Vautrin as conductor of the orchestra, the latter keeping an eye the while on Eugene and Father Goriot. The wine seemed to have gone to their heads already. They leaned back in their chairs, looking ...
— Father Goriot • Honore de Balzac

... for a while under his breath, "this is the most utter tomfoolery that ever I heard of. Here you've got an invention that would revolutionize mechanics, and instead of utilizing it you rush off into space on a hairbrained adventure. You might have been twenty times a billionaire inside of a year if you had stayed ...
— A Columbus of Space • Garrett P. Serviss

... tomfoolery has possessed you, mother, I'd like to know? What's the use of scarin' folks half to death? As if we hadn't had enough things happen without your ...
— Jessica, the Heiress • Evelyn Raymond

... hands on him had they dared. Sundry little spiteful tricks also were played off upon him. Thus, one morning he found that the word "Surgery" had been obliterated from his private door, and the word "Tomfoolery" painted under it. He let this pass for a while unnoticed and unremedied, and then restored the original word; and as his friends and the police were on the watch, the outrage was not repeated. All open scoffs and insults he took very quietly, sometimes just remarking, when any ...
— True to his Colours - The Life that Wears Best • Theodore P. Wilson

... crowned a king this day, and there has been great rejoicing and elaborate tomfoolery, and I am perplexed and saddened. I never saw anything to compare with the pageant, except Yankee circuses and Alhambra ballets; nor did I ever see anything so hopeless and ...
— The People of the Abyss • Jack London

... assembly room, with monologues and dialogues, and also some singing by the school Glee Club, and some very good violin and mandolin playing. Pepper, Jack and Andy took part in the entertainment, and everybody but Josiah Crabtree enjoyed the exhibition. Crabtree did not believe in such "tomfoolery," as he expressed it, and told Captain Putnam the cadets should have given a Shakespearian recital, ...
— The Mystery at Putnam Hall - The School Chums' Strange Discovery • Arthur M. Winfield

... way of his teaching. No matter for Carlyle's life, no matter for a great deal of his {174} writing. What was the most important thing he said to us? He said: "Hang your sensibilities! Stop your snivelling complaints, and your equally snivelling raptures! Leave off your general emotional tomfoolery, and get to WORK like men!" But this means a complete rupture with the subjectivist philosophy of things. It says conduct, and not sensibility, is the ultimate fact for our recognition. With the vision of ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... interval Nekhludoff got up and went out into the corridor, with the intention of not returning to the court. Let them do what they liked with him, he could take no more part in this awful and horrid tomfoolery. ...
— Resurrection • Count Leo Tolstoy

... were so friendly. Some labeled the gathering "a Tomfoolery convention" of "Aunt Nancy men and brawling women"; others called it "the farce at Syracuse,"[37] but for Susan it marked a milestone. Never before had she heard so many earnest, intelligent women plead so convincingly for property rights, civil rights, and the ballot. Never before ...
— Susan B. Anthony - Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian • Alma Lutz

... tomfoolery!" said Sir Richard. After saying which he swung himself into the saddle with a lightness and ease that many ...
— The Broad Highway • Jeffery Farnol

... reckon," sneered the skipper, snorting and fuming with rage at the recollection. "Why, me an' Flinders hed the mullygrabs fur a week arterwards; an' I guess I don't feel all right yet! I ain't half paid ye fur it, by thunder! But, thet ain't the wust by a durned sight; fur, by yer dodrotted tomfoolery, an' carryin' on with thet scoundrel yer accomplice thaar—thet British hound, Bullover, I mean—ye hev so fuddled every one aboard thet ye hev caused the loss of the shep an' cargy on this air outlandish island. I'll make ye answer fur it, though—I will by ...
— The Island Treasure • John Conroy Hutcheson

... the world," and, in order to obtain a better view of an engagement, he deliberately planted himself between the French and Chinese combatants. I should doubtless have derived more amusement from his tomfoolery had I not already known that English war correspondents did not behave in any such idiotic manner, and I came away from the performance with strong feelings of resentment respecting so outrageous a caricature of a profession counting among ...
— My Days of Adventure - The Fall of France, 1870-71 • Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

... speak," and if I would do so, I could come to his house some Saturday night and stay over Sunday. He said that the boy was "a perfect little case to carry on and folks didn't know whether he would develop into a condemb fool or a youmerist." So he wanted a piece of one of them tomfoolery kind for the little cuss to speak the ...
— Remarks • Bill Nye

... myself in love, declares all the viands of Japan to be uneatable—a staggering pretension. So, when the Prince of Wales's marriage was celebrated at Mentone by a dinner to the Mentonese, it was proposed to give them solid English fare—roast beef and plum pudding, and no tomfoolery. Here we have either pole of the Britannic folly. We will not eat the food of any foreigner; nor, when we have the chance, will we suffer him to eat of it himself. The same spirit inspired Miss Bird's American missionaries, who had come thousands of miles to change the faith of Japan, and ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 9 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... the Blind Man's Buff handkerchief from WOLTON'S neck.] What do you mean by going in for all this tomfoolery, to-night, with ruin and disgrace ready ...
— Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: The Moth and the Flame • Clyde Fitch

... of the man he is trying to pass, like the mirror pantomime in Hanlon's Fantasma. Finally, both come to a standstill, facing each other, and one tries to execute a quick flank movement to the left. Just at this moment the other suddenly remembers that he would have avoided all this tomfoolery if he had only kept to the right, and tries to make good on this hypothesis. The result is that they bump into each other violently and begin side-stepping again. After another round or two of Terpsichorean gymnastics one of ...
— Said the Observer • Louis J. Stellman

... (what kind of drinks are those, dear Caroline?) and who don't know Chambertin from liquorice-water,—for a swarm of persons few of whom we know fewer, still care for me, and to whom I am only 'Old Potiphar,' the husband of you, a fashionable woman. I am simply resolved to have no more such tomfoolery in ...
— The Potiphar Papers • George William Curtis

... he looked up to see Langton striding along towards him. He was walking quickly, with the air of one who brings news, and he delivered his message as soon as they were within earshot of each other. "Good news, Graham," he called out. "This tomfoolery is over. They've heard from H.Q. that the whole stunt is postponed, and we've all to go back to our bases. Isn't it like 'em?" he demanded, as he came up. "Old Jackson in the office is swearing like blazes. He's had all his ...
— Simon Called Peter • Robert Keable

... sketch! 'The devil guided my hand,' said the deaf painter to me, with mysterious gesticulations and a satirical yet good-natured wag of the head, such as he was wont to indulge in when in the midst of his genial tomfoolery." ...
— Great Violinists And Pianists • George T. Ferris

... scoffed Grimm. "Seekers after the truth! And madly eager to believe everything they hear or read except the commonsense truth. And you, a level-headed Scotchman, old enough to be your own father, actually gulp down such tomfoolery! Next we'll have you chasing around the streets at night, looking with a dark lantern for ...
— The Return of Peter Grimm - Novelised From the Play • David Belasco

... Merrihew, waving him aside. "You see?" he whispered to Hillard, who was rather amused at this tomfoolery. "Brings 'em without a word. Hanged if I don't wear it the rest of the trip. There's a certain—whatdyecallit?—eclaw about ...
— The Lure of the Mask • Harold MacGrath

... monkey on 'is back, ower this letter job," said the father secretly to me. "Mother 'er knows nowt about it. Lot o' tomfoolery, isn't it? Ay! What's good o' makin' a peck o' trouble ower what's far enough off, an' ned niver come no nigher. No—not a smite o' use. That's what I tell 'er. 'Er should ta'e no notice on't. Ay, what ...
— Wintry Peacock - From "The New Decameron", Volume III. • D. H. Lawrence

... boys simpered, smirked, grinned, giggled, tittered, chuckled, and guffawed. A wine of merriment flushed the crowd and mounted to the old mummer's brain and heart. He skipped and danced and sang; he went through all the drollery and tomfoolery, all the old comic business ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 1908. • Various

... fee—three guineas for absolute tomfoolery! 'Item 2. To diagnosing Aunt Maria and failing to find anything wrong and recommending appendicitis.... ' Shall we say a guinea for Aunt Maria's put-up job? I ought to get my money back since nothing ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, February 11, 1914 • Various

... with cowards, Pierre flew into a passion. It was the marquis's fault, it was his wife's fault, the fault of all his family. Had he ever thought of politics at all, until Monsieur de Carnavant and Felicite had driven him to that tomfoolery? ...
— The Fortune of the Rougons • Emile Zola

... of adulation. A cat possesses a very fair sense of the ridiculous, and will put her paw down kindly but firmly upon any nonsense of this kind. Dogs, however, seem to like it. They encourage their owners in the tomfoolery, and the consequence is that in the circles I am speaking of what "dear Fido" has done, does do, will do, won't do, can do, can't do, was doing, is doing, is going to do, shall do, shan't do, and is about to be going ...
— Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow • Jerome K. Jerome

... commanding officer. Why couldn't poor Lord Howe have been spared two days longer, to win everlasting renown? We talked this over as we lay on our bearskins at Sabbath Day Point; and if he were alive, there would be no such tomfoolery ...
— Ben Comee - A Tale of Rogers's Rangers, 1758-59 • M. J. (Michael Joseph) Canavan

... obsolete by the human mind outgrowing the childishness that delights in the tales told by grownup children such as novelists and their like! An end to the silly confusion, under the one name of Art, of the tomfoolery and make-believe of our play-hours with the higher methods of teaching men to know themselves! Every artist an amateur, and a consequent return to the healthy old disposition to look on every man who makes art a means of money-getting as a vagabond ...
— An Unsocial Socialist • George Bernard Shaw

... the doctor with that depth of contempt which only a rather young man can express. "She? She's a quack and a humbug. Making money out of religion and tomfoolery. I'll give her a piece of my mind if she ever crosses my track ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... be up to any such tomfoolery!" She Yeh demurred. "She hasn't snapped her hands, so bid her ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... not; you had but one rival; a very young lady, wise before her age; a blonde, with violet eyes. She was dressed in light mauve-colored silk, without a single flounce, or any other tomfoolery to fritter away the sheen and color of an exquisite material; her sunny hair was another wave of color, wreathed with a thin line of white jessamine flowers closely woven, that scented the air. This girl was the moon of that assembly, and ...
— A Simpleton • Charles Reade

... jumping about for just ten seconds, and give me a chance to observe that I am your maiden aunt from Devonshire, all this tomfoolery can be avoided." ...
— Idle Ideas in 1905 • Jerome K. Jerome

... at all," he muttered, with a touch of impatience in his voice. "And now, what about those tickets? I suppose, Basil, you're dying to see all this tomfoolery?" ...
— In the Days of My Youth • Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards

... the wooden chair under me would have come to pieces. He roared, he raved, he swore, he pushed them about, slapped them on the back, shoved them against the wall, and occasionally rushed out to the head of the stair to address them en masse. At the same time, behind all this tomfoolery, I, watching his prescriptions, could see a quickness of diagnosis, a scientific insight, and a daring and unconventional use of drugs, which satisfied me that he was right in saying that, under all ...
— The Stark Munro Letters • J. Stark Munro

... empty glasses; all this business was idiotic, it was a boy's foolishness. "It shows how young you are, Blair," she said kindly, "though the Lord knows you are old enough in years to have some sense!" But if he kept the foolishness up, and this other tomfoolery on account of which she had had to leave the Works and spend her valuable time talking to the Dean, why, he might be expelled. He would certainly be suspended. And that would put off his getting into business for ...
— The Iron Woman • Margaret Deland

... said, as if they had disputed him without reason, "you ought to be thankful you have no children. What you can see in this tomfoolery about Christmas Eve is beyond me. Better save your money for something worth while, that's what ...
— Mr. Bingle • George Barr McCutcheon

... was to be reformed, and that the Emperor, in accordance with a secret clause of the Treaty with the Allies, was about to grant a Constitution! Ivan Ivan'itch listened for a little in silence, and then, with a gesture of impatience, interrupted the speaker: "Polno duratchitsya! enough of fun and tomfoolery. Vassili Petrovitch, tell ...
— Russia • Donald Mackenzie Wallace

... "I guess I sha'n't give up my nice room for any such tomfoolery as that. I guess I would just as soon have red roses on a yellow ground as peacocks on a blue; but there's no use talking, you couldn't have seen straight. How could ...
— The Wind in the Rose-bush and Other Stories of the Supernatural • Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman

... does this tomfoolery mean?" As he spoke he felt the accumulated capacity for temper of the last seven years surging up toward Wallis, and Arthur, and Phyllis, and the carriage-horses, and everything else, down to the two conductors. Wallis seemed rather relieved than otherwise. Waiting ...
— The Rose Garden Husband • Margaret Widdemer

... now? Sixteen last October? He doesn't look as much—you'll see he'll outgrow all that nonsense of Nationalism! Send him to Oxford as soon as you can. He'll soon get hold of some other tomfoolery there, and forget this. Seven devils worse than the ...
— Mount Music • E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross

... to me like tomfoolery!" ejaculated the banker, as he drew the papers toward him, and signed them rapidly. "Patricia, you are the party of the third part, here, and you can sign them at your leisure. I've got to go, also. Melvin, you can send my copy of the contract direct ...
— The Last Woman • Ross Beeckman

... asked one of the ecstatic guests. At the bottom of his heart he was also wondering why the greybeards of the mess stood all this tomfoolery without protest. He had never been shipmates with the ...
— A Tall Ship - On Other Naval Occasions • Sir Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... be a pretty story of tomfoolery for them all to hear. I should like to make a comic drawing of it, if I could. It would have done capitally for John Leech, among ...
— Prince Fortunatus • William Black

... here tomfoolery you've been telling my girl?" he says. "I wonder at you, Mrs. Badge, a lowering yourself for to do it—frightening an innocent female into fits. You ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... do better if you try; I wish there was time to train you. We'll do the 'logs duet' once more after this tomfoolery. Ha! Captain Armytage. You are an awful pirate, and no mistake. Where did ...
— The Long Vacation • Charlotte M. Yonge

... think, and turned on Graham. "I can imagine how this great world state of ours seems to a Victorian Englishman. You regret all the old forms of representative government—their spectres still haunt the world, the voting councils, and parliaments and all that eighteenth century tomfoolery. You feel moved against our Pleasure Cities. I might have thought of that,—had I not been busy. But you will learn better. The people are mad with envy—they would be in sympathy with you. Even in the streets now, they clamour to destroy the Pleasure Cities. But the Pleasure Cities ...
— The Sleeper Awakes - A Revised Edition of When the Sleeper Wakes • H.G. Wells

... active co-operation of every member of the Committee; and whilst the majority regarded it as an august and impressive vindication of the majesty of parliament, the minority regarded it with equal conviction as a puerile tomfoolery, and declined altogether to act their allotted parts in it. Besides, they did not all want to part with the books. For instance, Mr Hugh Law, being an Irishman, with an Irishman's sense of how to behave like a gallant gentleman on occasion, was determined to be able to assure me that nothing ...
— The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet • George Bernard Shaw

... must be rescued!" He broke off to use (I must confess) some very strong words upon Trant's design against Marmont and the tomfoolery, as he called it, which had taken me into Sabugal, and left a cloud of suspicion hanging over "the best scouting officer in my service; the only man of the lot, sir, who knows his business." Lord ...
— The Laird's Luck • Arthur Quiller-Couch

... cried, "this is what I understand you to say,—the truth. The truth is your bargain; I think I'm right, the truth; Hm; what is truth? What in heaven and earth do you mean by truth? where did you get that cant? What oriental tomfoolery is bamboozling you? The truth!" he cried, staring at him with eyes, half of triumph, half of impatience, "the truth! Jove help the boy!—the truth! can truth pour me out a cup of melilotus? can truth crown me with ...
— Callista • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... enough to remember for the future, sir,' said the Chief of the Staff, 'that His Majesty does not require his lieutenants to execute manoeuvres on their own responsibility, and also that to attack a battery with three men is not war, but damned tomfoolery. You ought to be ...
— Novel Notes • Jerome K. Jerome

... and there, and the creakings and joggings of the quivering bed: unless thou canst silence these, nothing and again nothing avails thee to hide thy whoredoms. And why? Thou wouldst not display such drained flanks unless occupied in some tomfoolery. Wherefore, whatsoever thou hast, be it good or ill, tell us! I wish to laud thee and thy loves to the sky in ...
— The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus • Caius Valerius Catullus

... drawled Billy, throwing back the lapels of his coat, and slapping his checked trousers with his cane. "Larst time you talked to me about him he had some machine with w'eels and horse-shoe magnets, didn't he? He hasn't been in here for some time, so I know he's at work on some tomfoolery or other. Amazing, isn't it, that a man of his blood, with a cellar of the best Madeiwa in the State, should waste his time on such things. Egad! I cawn't understand it." Some of Billy's expressions, as well as his accent, came in with his clothes. "Now, if I had that Madeiwa, do you know ...
— The Fortunes of Oliver Horn • F. Hopkinson Smith

... too little religion—and not too much—leads to these unholy follies. There is a religious instinct in man. True religion satisfies it fully. Quack religion, pious tomfoolery, and doctrinal ineptitude foisted upon a God-hungry people end by driving some from one folly to another in a pitiful attempt to get away from the deceptions of man and near to God. Others are led on by a sinful curiosity that outweighs their common-sense ...
— Explanation of Catholic Morals - A Concise, Reasoned, and Popular Exposition of Catholic Morals • John H. Stapleton

... fixing his eye on me. Yes, and the horse too; the whole three of them. But there's that bit of meat at the end of the performance, so I suppose I may as well appear "to come the docile highly trained beast," and go through with the tomfoolery and collar it. "Snarl?" Do I? Of course I do. It's the one outlet I have for my feelings. Who wouldn't snarl under the circumstances? Fancy, me, the "King of Beasts" (it sounds like chaff), dropping off a platform, at a given signal, on to the back of an idiotic circus-horse, ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98 January 11, 1890 • Various

... tell you that was Jerry's chuckle, for all the world! Now, what tomfoolery is he up to, do you suppose? Bringing us ashore through all that beastly water just to have a shy at us! Hi, Jerry, you old joker! ...
— The Outdoor Chums on the Gulf • Captain Quincy Allen

... "This daring tomfoolery! If he'd come back to old Rosecrans with his story about a few pieces of artillery posted on a ridge, Rosy would want to know why the d——l he didn't find ...
— Red-Tape and Pigeon-Hole Generals - As Seen From the Ranks During a Campaign in the Army of the Potomac • William H. Armstrong

... But they all say it's unlucky, and full o' all kinds o' wicked, strange critters, ghosts and goblins, and gashly things that live underground to keep people from getting the treasure. I used to laugh to myself and say it was all tomfoolery, and old women's tales; but it's true enough, as I know now, ...
— Sappers and Miners - The Flood beneath the Sea • George Manville Fenn

... "All tomfoolery!" he blustered. "There isn't any nobility in your country, nor have you five dollars all told to rub against each other. If you had, you wouldn't come over here to play the gallant to women who are . . . you know what they are as ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... well enough what I mean," Merriman answered irritably. "Let's drop this childish tomfoolery about plots and mysteries and try to get reasonably sane again. Here," he went on fiercely as the other demurred, "I'll tell you what I'll do if you like. I'll have no more suspicions or spying, but I'll ask her if there is anything wrong: say I thought ...
— The Pit Prop Syndicate • Freeman Wills Crofts

... was insecure. She foresaw inquiries being made concerning her. She foresaw an immense family fuss, endless tomfoolery, the upsetting of her existence, the destruction of her calm. And she sank away from that prospect. She could not face it. She did not want to face it. "No," she cried passionately in her soul, "I've lived alone, and I'll stay as I am. I can't change at my time of life." And her attitude ...
— The Old Wives' Tale • Arnold Bennett

... selfish or unworthy. His patients were his friends. He had a sense of responsibility to them, and very little faith in the new modern methods. He thought there was a great deal of tomfoolery about them, and he viewed the gradual loss of faith in drugs with alarm. When Dick wore rubber gloves during their first obstetric case together ...
— The Breaking Point • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... with an oath threw the letter on the table. "I'll pay the rest as soon as I can, if you'll stop this damned tomfoolery," he said sullenly, for he saw that he was ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... want to know, Alfred Burton, is first how long this tomfoolery is to last, and secondly what it all means?" Ellen began, with her elbows upon the table and a reckless disregard of neighbors. "Haven't we lived for ten years, husband and wife, at Clematis Villa, and you as happy and satisfied with his home as a man could be? And now, all of a sudden, ...
— The Double Life Of Mr. Alfred Burton • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... "No—this tomfoolery. I don't believe you have to earn your living. I'd lay a wager that you are doing it as a stunt to vary the monotony of a dull existence, but there are other and better ways ...
— The Shield of Silence • Harriet T. Comstock

... my son! But I tell you I'm tired of his jokes. I mean to make him understand that his days of tomfoolery are over! Do you realize it—here he is, twenty-one years of age, when he should be coming into possession of the fortune his mother left him—and he's tying fire-crackers to the tails of goats! And I—I am trustee of the money, and have to decide whether he's fit to have it or not! I know that ...
— The Pot Boiler • Upton Sinclair

... stood at attention in the hall. While Clarence and his father struggled into their great-coats, neither of them in a very good temper, Mr. Stimpson being annoyed at postponing his dinner for what he called "tomfoolery," and Clarence secretly sulky because his parent could not be induced to see the propriety of going up ...
— In Brief Authority • F. Anstey

... truth—can laugh at himself as well as others; that's what makes him precious. These humming-birds here to-night couldn't raise a smile at their own tomfoolery to ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... alone, and they did not have much going out and coming in, either. Mrs. Gilton would have liked more of it, but she had given up thinking about it, for her husband had said so many times that it was women's tomfoolery to want to have people, whom you weren't anything to and who weren't anything to you, ringing your doorbell all the time and bothering around in your dining-room,—which of course it was; and she would have believed it if a woman ever did believe anything a man says ...
— A Christmas Accident and Other Stories • Annie Eliot Trumbull

... the dozen at The Blue Pike for many years—among them even crowned heads—and they had wanted for nothing. His skill, however, was not sufficient for these city demigods; for the landlord of The Pike intended to look after their table himself. Tomfoolery! There was more than enough for him to do that day over yonder in the room occupied by the lansquenets and the city soldiers, where he usually directed affairs in person. It roused Dietel's ire. The cooking of The Blue Pike, which the landlady superintended, ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers



Words linked to "Tomfoolery" :   harlequinade, craziness, play, frivolity, indulgence, meshugaas, folly, prank, romp, mishegaas, clowning, foolery



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