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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



... 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

... Italian. He knows how to "do nothing" with dignity. Be assured, if Hercules had been of Anglo-Saxon blood, Omphale would never have set him down to spin; but being what he was, I could swear he went through his tomfoolery gracefully. ...
— Cornelius O'Dowd Upon Men And Women And Other Things In General - Originally Published In Blackwood's Magazine - 1864 • Charles Lever

... For my mistress said the child was over young; and my master told me I had somewhat else to think of than such tomfoolery. Howbeit, when I told them that, say what they pleased, Jeannette was mine, and that so soon as my time was up two years hence I should take her to myself with leave or without, they thought better of ...
— Sir Ludar - A Story of the Days of the Great Queen Bess • Talbot Baines Reed

... 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, ...
— The Swindler and Other Stories • Ethel M. Dell

... joke to 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 ...
— The Pot Boiler • Upton Sinclair

... very well what sort of poetic tomfoolery you are talking about, Nelsen," he said. "I wondered how long it would be before one of you—other than my grandson with his undiluted brass, and knowing me far too well in one sense, anyway—would have the gall to come here and talk to me like this. You'd probably be considered ...
— The Planet Strappers • Raymond Zinke Gallun

... If I used your money as freely as you would like, it wouldn't be long before half the people in my district would be living on you—giving nothing—no effort, no work, no self-respect in return. You don't mind if I say so, but that sort of thing isn't charity, Jerry. It's merely sentimental tomfoolery which might by accident do some good, but ...
— Paradise Garden - The Satirical Narrative of a Great Experiment • George Gibbs

... 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 be neither mistress ...
— Celibates • George Moore

... shouting and 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 ...
— Idle Ideas in 1905 • Jerome K. Jerome

... 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 ...
— The Jungle Fugitives • Edward S. Ellis

... 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 them breaks through ...
— Said the Observer • Louis J. Stellman

... but since that doctor waccinated me and nearly killed me by it, tough as I be, I come to call all tomfoolery by the same name. I've been in theatres, yer honour, and played in pieces, and I've known the willain in the play get up a shindy like this. I knows they're on'y got up to 'arrow up the feelin's o' tender females; but I'm afeared as 'ow ...
— Weapons of Mystery • Joseph Hocking

... 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 Squirrel Inn • Frank R. Stockton

... something about a beggar on horseback. Was is Solomon, though? Never mind. He couldn't ride. Never had a horse till he was grown up. But he said some uncommon wise things about having to do with such friends as T. B. So, Harry East, if you please, no more tomfoolery after to-day. You've got a whole skin, and a lieutenant's commission to make your way in the world with, and are troubled with no particular crotchets yourself that need ever get you into trouble. So just you keep clear of other people's. ...
— Tom Brown at Oxford • Thomas Hughes

... then 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 ...
— Northern Lights • Gilbert Parker

... pedigree, and not keep the village a-guessin' as to who they is and where they come from. I don't believe a word of this outcast yarn. Guess Miss Lucy is all right, and she knows enough to stay away when all this tomfoolery's goin' on. She doesn't want to come back to a child's nussery." To all of which her mother nodded her head, keeping it going like a toy mandarin long after the subject of discussion had ...
— The Tides of Barnegat • F. Hopkinson Smith

... and Injuns around, and you with naught but a scalping knife? 'Tis not bravery but tomfoolery," said the elder Letitia. "I'll warrant you stole out without the knowledge of Goodman Cephas Holbrook and Mistress Holbrook, and they having taken you in as they did and given you food and shelter, with nine of their own to care for, and not knowing of a certainty ...
— The Green Door • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... slightly and, although she didn't usually pay any attention to such trifles, she shook her hand back and forth. I wanted to examine the cut, but she beckoned to me to continue my work. 'There is no end to your tomfoolery,' the old man grumbled; and, stepping before the girl, he said in a loud voice, 'What I was going to do hasn't been attended to at all,' and with a heavy tread he went out of the door. Then I started to make apologies for the day before, but she interrupted ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VI. • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... 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 ...
— Novel Notes • Jerome K. Jerome

... "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 out what ...
— Red-Tape and Pigeon-Hole Generals - As Seen From the Ranks During a Campaign in the Army of the Potomac • William H. Armstrong

... motives 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 ...
— The Breaking Point • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... 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

... see no sense in your tryin' to seem ignorant about it. Why, I wouldn't be surprised a bit ef you would try to make out that you wasn't anear any fire today. But that wouldn't do, Vermont—I'll give you a pointer on that now, so you won't attempt no such tomfoolery with me, for no boy like you ever comes into a town like New York is and don't save somebody from burning up—rescue 'em from a tall building when nobody else can get to 'em. And of course for doing this they get pushed right ahead into ...
— The Boy Broker - Among the Kings of Wall Street • Frank A. Munsey

... 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 sees ...
— Armenian Literature • Anonymous

... con-founded Idiot,' muttered Tackleton, 'that I was afraid she'd never comprehend me. Ah, Bertha! Married! Church, parson, clerk, beadle, glass-coach, bells, breakfast, bride-cake, favours, marrow-bones, cleavers, and all the rest of the tomfoolery. A wedding, you know; a wedding. Don't you know what a ...
— The Cricket on the Hearth • Charles Dickens

... 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 there ...
— The Pit Prop Syndicate • Freeman Wills Crofts

... 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 ...
— The Man Who Was Thursday - A Nightmare • G. K. Chesterton

... occurred the following year, and the baron angrily swore that the child did not need to believe all that tomfoolery, so it was decided that he should be brought up as a Christian, but not as an active Catholic, and when he came of age he could ...
— Une Vie, A Piece of String and Other Stories • Guy de Maupassant

... 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

... had thought all this tomfoolery, but while Bubbles had been speaking to, or at, his sister, he had felt amazed, as well ...
— From Out the Vasty Deep • Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

... magnates 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 the line over the gunwale in that first plunge which ...
— Old Plymouth Trails • Winthrop Packard

... seemed to 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 are ...
— When the Sleeper Wakes • Herbert George Wells

... don't shut up your tomfoolery, you blatherin' old idiot!" she cried, in a sort of shrieking whisper, "I'll throw boilin' water ...
— Duncan Polite - The Watchman of Glenoro • Marian Keith

... 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 ...
— Father Goriot • Honore de Balzac

... 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

... "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 well ...
— The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... tomfoolery between us, eh? We are both met before the same dish, but I leave you your share. I intend that you ...
— The Nabob • Alphonse Daudet

... to do with writing, think I, of a long morning or a longer night! I'm no scrivening professor, but blood and flesh.... You couldn't imagine the number of times I've been tempted to chuck all the mild climate tomfoolery, and cut away ...
— V. V.'s Eyes • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... "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, slamming the ...
— My Friend Smith - A Story of School and City Life • Talbot Baines Reed

... 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 ...
— A Tall Ship - On Other Naval Occasions • Sir Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... stowed for the night, 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 ...
— Dear Enemy • Jean Webster

... 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 Sleeper Awakes - A Revised Edition of When the Sleeper Wakes • H.G. Wells

... 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 was found in Aunt Maria. There should be ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, February 11, 1914 • Various

... 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 for you in ...
— Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: The Moth and the Flame • Clyde Fitch

... 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! Oh, don't talk to me! I won't hear it—it's just ...
— Drift from Two Shores • Bret Harte

... galimathias^, amphigouri^, rhapsody; farrago &c (disorder) 59; betise [Fr.]; extravagance, romance; sciamachy^. sell, pun, verbal quibble, macaronic^. jargon, fustian, twaddle, gibberish &c (no meaning) 517; exaggeration &c 549; moonshine, stuff; mare's nest, quibble, self- delusion. vagary, tomfoolery, poppycock, mummery, monkey trick, boutade [Fr.], escapade. V. play the fool &c 499; talk nonsense, parler a tort et a travess [Fr.]; battre la campagne [Fr.]; hanemolia bazein [Gr.]; be absurd &c adj.. Adj. absurd, nonsensical, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... Criticism." "The Best Modern Criticism" decides that "Tam o' Shanter" was written by a committee of permanent officials of the Board of Trade, or that Napoleon Bonaparte never existed. As a matter of fact, the tomfoolery does not usually venture upon ground so near home, but it talks rubbish just as monstrous about a poem a few hundred or a few thousand years old, or a great personality a few hundred or ...
— First and Last • H. Belloc

... us! I 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

... 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

... can't enter into the spirit of it, like that. You're splendid. But if I took a hand, it would be tomfoolery." ...
— Viviette • William J. Locke

... 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 you ...
— A Simpleton • Charles Reade

... that cut across her flanks by hanging the reins on the overhead hook, and letting her plod along at her own pleasure. He was saying to himself that he hoped he had done right to tell the child to hold her tongue. "It was just tomfoolery," he argued; "there was no sin about it, so confession wouldn't do her any good; on the contrary, it would hurt a girl's self-respect to have a man know she had tried to catch him. But what a donkey he was not to see.... Oh yes; I'm sure I'm right," ...
— The Voice • Margaret Deland

... tomfoolery," the captain acknowledged. "Robins is accused of having received a Marconigram of which he took no note, and which he handed to a passenger. He is also accused of attempting to communicate ...
— The Box with Broken Seals • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... of rules about the fashioning of shirt collars and the hemming of sheets and the sewing on of buttons and the folding of bandages which The Woman characterised as tomfoolery. The President was for keeping the rules. She believed in system, she stated in her address to the Society, but Mrs. Johnnie Dunn believed only in her own system, and told every one to go ahead and do things the way they had always done ...
— In Orchard Glen • Marian Keith

... them 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 about wearing uniforms ...
— The Revolt on Venus • Carey Rockwell

... last, "for goodness' sake be a little more rational. You are getting too old for this sort of tomfoolery, you know." ...
— Colonel Quaritch, V.C. - A Tale of Country Life • H. Rider Haggard

... "Tomfoolery, is it? Go up, thin, an' luk for yerself," cried Terry, who bounded up on deck again, and began to prepare for action. At this Jericho put on his nose an enormous pair of spectacles, and thus equipped climbed upon deck, followed closely by ...
— The Lily and the Cross - A Tale of Acadia • James De Mille

... listen to any tomfoolery, and I ain't goin' to have anybody dictatin' to me about ...
— Country Neighbors • Alice Brown

... "This is tomfoolery!" Mr. Chalker turned red, and looked very uncomfortable. "Stick to business. Payment in full. Those are ...
— In Luck at Last • Walter Besant

... '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

... have voted in the minority, against any such tomfoolery; yet, when the vote is given, it will be a punishable offence for them, and me, to work overtime? You actually mean that; how do you propose ...
— Marcella • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... some of their gentleness, "you can tell the truth still. Now, Ray, the shock of your disappointment has deprived you of reason, or you, of all people, would see that this tomfoolery outside ...
— Tell England - A Study in a Generation • Ernest Raymond

... set a hand 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 ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... "Any tomfoolery and you will go off," replied the Parson sternly—"out of this world into the next—pop! as you say yourself. You've only one chance against the finest marksmen in the world, and that's to show em a clean pair of heels. If you don't, you've fought your ...
— The Gentleman - A Romance of the Sea • Alfred Ollivant

... 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 ...
— Remarks • Bill Nye

... he said, rather as a child might complain to his elder, "for two days, and now it's suddenly gone. I never used to have headaches. But I've been irritated lately by some of the tomfoolery that's been going on. Don't tell your mother; I haven't said a word to her; but what do you take when you ...
— The Cathedral • Hugh Walpole

... 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

... 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

... When we were having tea just now I did a lot of thinking. I am a man who makes up his mind quickly and sticks to it. Now, look here, I'm going to make you an offer—without sentiment or any nonsense of that sort. I want a wife, and I want a girl who hasn't been spoilt by the tomfoolery of the world. I want a girl I can mould to my own ideas. I'll treat her well and be a good husband to a woman who could fancy me." He paused. "Well, what do ...
— The Beggar Man • Ruby Mildred Ayres

... throw your money to the dogs, give it to whomsoever you choose. Perhaps, when you know the value of money, you will learn to appreciate it more. For my part, I will have nothing more to do about this tomfoolery." ...
— The Silver Lining - A Guernsey Story • John Roussel

... all say," 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 ...
— The Return of Peter Grimm - Novelised From the Play • David Belasco

... had begun to grow red and angry. "I don't know whether you are playing a game with us, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," said he. "If you know anything, you can surely say it without all this tomfoolery." ...
— The Return of Sherlock Holmes • Arthur Conan Doyle

... make? Secretary, indeed! What sort of men do you suppose secretaries are? A beggar that came from nobody knows where! I won't have any tomfoolery;—d'ye hear?" Whereupon the countess said that she did hear, and soon afterwards managed to escape. The valet then took his turn; and repeated, after his hour of service, that "Old Nick" in his tantrums had been more like the Prince of ...
— The Small House at Allington • Anthony Trollope

... of what 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

... the house o' God!" he snorted. "Why the very idy! Talk about them Pharisees an' Sadducees a-makin' the temple a den o' thieves! W'y, you're a-turnin' it into a theayter with your play-actin' tomfoolery! They'll be no blessin' ...
— Back Home • Eugene Wood

... was over; wondered how he would shape "at 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

... another fine Romanesque church, also a complete minster, the church of Notre-Dame-du-Pre. A fine hospital, the work of Henry the Second, is now perverted to some military purpose, and some military tomfoolery forbids examination, in marked contrast to the liberal spirit which allows free access to everything that the antiquary can wish to visit at Fontevrault and at Saumur. But the ecclesiastical remains of Le Mans are far from being the whole of its attractions. Its ...
— Sketches of Travel in Normandy and Maine • Edward A. Freeman

... and is not in evidence at half-past seven. Perhaps, too, the knowledge of the particular cause of the captain's delay somewhat added to his chief officer's ill-temper—that cause being a pretty girl; for the mate was a crusty old bachelor, and had but little sympathy with such "tomfoolery." ...
— Foster's Letter Of Marque - A Tale Of Old Sydney - 1901 • Louis Becke

... him, ere he had done with me. Was it in jest, or with some serious purpose of his own, that he brought me plump upon a pair of lovers, silent, face to face o'er a discreet unwinking stile? As a rule this sort of thing struck me as the most pitiful tomfoolery. Two calves rubbing noses through a gate were natural and right and within the order of things; but that human beings, with salient interests and active pursuits beckoning them on from every side, could thus—! Well, it was a thing to ...
— The Golden Age • Kenneth Grahame

... think that I'm Abe Silt's keeper. I ain't. Abe's old enough—and ought to be seaman enough—to look out for Abe Silt. What tomfoolery he packed into that chest is none o' my consarn. I l'arnt years ago that Moses an' them old fellers left the chief commandment out o' the Scriptures. That's 'Mind your own business.' Abe's business ain't mine. Here, you Amiel! clear up that clutter an' let's have no ...
— Cap'n Abe, Storekeeper • James A. Cooper

... perfect right to dress his hair in this fashion, or in any fashion he pleases; but a more absurd appearance than the blue ribbons gave to his broad, brown, beardless face, it is impossible to imagine. The solemn dignity, too, with which he carried off this tomfoolery was not the least laughable part of it. I wonder which of his wives—for I was told he had several—braided all these small rings of hair, and confined them with the blue love-knots; but it is more than ...
— Life in the Clearings versus the Bush • Susanna Moodie

... "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 door-way ...
— The Young Castellan - A Tale of the English Civil War • George Manville Fenn

... required the 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

... episode and the Claudie Belmont episode had long been things to laugh at. Marriage had turned out an unredeemed tragedy, which had never had even the poor excuse of a passing infatuation behind it He had never loved Annette, and she was fast growing into a terror and an aversion. And now all this tomfoolery of telepathic communion, this wilful brooding over an absent woman, this summoning of her features to mind, this recalling of her tones, this yearning in which his own soul seemed to beat its mortal bars in the strife to draw her spirit near, made a clean end of the platonic ...
— Despair's Last Journey • David Christie Murray

... centered upon the dog. Cats, by the way, rarely suffer from excess 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 to have done ...
— Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow • Jerome K. Jerome

... Louviers, with her examination, &c., 1652, Rouen,' he knows of 'no book more important, more dreadful, or worthier of being reprinted. It is the most powerful narrative of its class. Piety Afflicted, by the Capuchin Esprit de Bosrager, is a work immortal in the annals of tomfoolery. The two excellent pamphlets by the doughty surgeon Yvelin, the Inquiry and the Apology, are in the Library of Ste. Genevieve.'—La Sorciere, the Witch of the Middle Ages, chap. viii. Whatever exaggeration there may possibly be in any of the details of these and similar histories, there ...
— The Superstitions of Witchcraft • Howard Williams

... carnival, and when does this piece of tomfoolery come off?" he inquired, with winning grace ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... cheerfully, "I've been pretty well entertained with all this pointless and incompetent tomfoolery for a couple of days; but it seems to be wearing rather thin, and I'm engaged for a city dinner. Among the hundred flowers of futility on both sides I was unable to detect any sort of reason why a lunatic should be allowed to shoot me in the ...
— Manalive • G. K. Chesterton

... the sleeper 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

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

... on the rock, and we gathered round her. She was not more than twenty-two or three, but as perfectly assured and fearless as only a well-bred woman can be in the presence of unshaven men she does not know. Fred would have continued the tomfoolery, but Will ...
— The Eye of Zeitoon • Talbot Mundy

... Welton, aghast. "That would take all summer! And besides, I made out all that tomfoolery last summer. I supposed you must have unwound all that red tape ...
— The Rules of the Game • Stewart Edward White

... 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

... 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

... the Latin line he gave to my quotation; it was very cut-and-dried, very; or I, who haven't looked into a classical author for the last eighteen years, shouldn't have remembered it. Well, Elfride, you had better go to your room; you'll get over this bit of tomfoolery ...
— A Pair of Blue Eyes • Thomas Hardy

... course, if ten foot snowbanks don't bother 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 enough ...
— The California Birthday Book • Various

... 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 you get that ...
— The Long Vacation • Charlotte M. Yonge

... she had said, "because I feel that you will not think that you ought to make love to me. There is nothing I hate so much as the idea that a young man and a young woman can't be acquainted with each other without some such tomfoolery as that." This had exactly expressed his own feeling. Nothing could be so pleasant as ...
— The Duke's Children • Anthony Trollope

... for him, doesn't it?" the Operative 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 ...
— Sight Gag • Laurence Mark Janifer

... his fingers resting lightly on Viola's soft hand, experienced a keen, pang of sympathetic pain. "She is so charming! What profanation to develop the seamy side of her nature! What pitiful tomfoolery! She is in the lion's mouth now—and yet how eagerly she seemed to desire it. Weissmann has made anything but the simplest ventriloquistic performance impossible—she cannot lift a hand. To save her from herself, as well as from ...
— The Tyranny of the Dark • Hamlin Garland

... hesitated, then 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

... grandmother! A 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

... 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 ...
— Explanation of Catholic Morals - A Concise, Reasoned, and Popular Exposition of Catholic Morals • John H. Stapleton

... I to him, 'this is a serious question. You are representing Uncle Sam. This ain't any little international tomfoolery, like a universal peace congress or the christening of the Shamrock IV. I'm an American citizen and I demand protection. I demand the Mosquito fleet, and Schley, and the Atlantic squadron, and Bob Evans, and General E. Byrd Grubb, and two or three protocols. What are you going to ...
— Roads of Destiny • O. Henry

... that for "the first paper of the first country in 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 ...
— My Days of Adventure - The Fall of France, 1870-71 • Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

... "'What tomfoolery is this,' said he; yet he yielded to me, and soon I garnered three of his melodies; but I would not let Cul de Jatte wot the thing I meditated. 'Show not fools nor bairns unfinished work,' saith the byword. And by this time 'twas night, and a little town ...
— The Cloister and the Hearth • Charles Reade

... 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 offspring. Not an atom. You're simply a ...
— Merely Mary Ann • Israel Zangwill

... makes it so probable that Helen did it. Grant isn't the man to make a fool of himself without outside pressure, and in the end a sacrifice to principle is always some ridiculous tomfoolery that can't be come at in any other way. However, we shall see what we shall see. What time are you going ...
— The Philistines • Arlo Bates

... up!" snapped Amber impatiently. "I'm sick of all this damned tomfoolery. Get up, d'you hear?—unless you want me to take that pretty sword of yours and spank ...
— The Bronze Bell • Louis Joseph Vance

... "It is all tomfoolery," John answered with fixity of purpose. "You don't need a thing that you haven't already got—except," he added slowly, "except what mother could help you to. But that isn't the point. I shall need you. It's time for me to get down to ...
— The Wind Before the Dawn • Dell H. Munger

... 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 this charlatanism, there lay solid reasons for his success. ...
— The Stark Munro Letters • J. Stark Munro

... and asked for Miss Montague. As I mounted the stairs to the drawing-room floor, I heard a sound of voices—the murmur of laughter; idiotic guffaws, suppressed giggles, the masculine and feminine varieties of tomfoolery. ...
— Hilda Wade - A Woman With Tenacity Of Purpose • Grant Allen

... "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 such a thing ...
— The Wind in the Rose-bush and Other Stories of the Supernatural • Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman

... 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 ...
— Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces • Thomas W. Hanshew

... sick, 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

... reminding the father that it was his duty to 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 ...
— Rene Mauperin • Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt

... 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 ...
— Simon Called Peter • Robert Keable

... 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 ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 9 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... 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

... read it, and said something about our oughting to know better than to make fun of people's troubles with our tombstones and tomfoolery. ...
— The Wouldbegoods • E. Nesbit

... mute cries out, and eke the pillow and bolsters indented here 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 ...
— The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus • Caius Valerius Catullus

... payer of taxes, foolishly pretending to be a brigand; Miss Jones, daughter of old Jones the Chemist, making believe to be a haughty Princess. How can you, a grown man, waste money on a seat to witness such tomfoolery! What we saw was something very different. A young and beautiful girl—true, not a lady by birth, being merely the daughter of an honest yeoman, but one equal in all the essentials of womanhood to the noblest ...
— Paul Kelver • Jerome Klapka, AKA Jerome K. Jerome

... have any tomfoolery and expense. If she chooses to marry a clerk in an office, she shall marry him ...
— The Small House at Allington • Anthony Trollope

... until they sank upon the floor with exhaustion. Afterwards they played off some other genteel tricks. His Excellency the Rais is as great a dervish as any mad fellow here, and though suffering greatly from headache and bad eyes, he endured this tomfoolery for nearly a couple of hours. My taleb, a shrewd man, said to me, "Don't you see, I told you this Algerian was an impostor?" I believe really he is a French spy on the movements of the Turks, and perhaps myself. The Tibboo calls. He is preparing ...
— Travels in the Great Desert of Sahara, in the Years of 1845 and 1846 • James Richardson

... 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

... 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 must ...
— The German Classics Of The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 • Various

... but it seemed a pity for such a good working to go to waste. 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 ...
— Sappers and Miners - The Flood beneath the Sea • George Manville Fenn

... thing looks 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 ...
— The Last Woman • Ross Beeckman

... the head of the Rowan Pool; their plans prearranged in every detail; both men in excellent form, head, body, and spirit; and Burdock, the keeper, resigned to the innovation of photography which he sniffingly flouted as a piece of downright tomfoolery. ...
— Lines in Pleasant Places - Being the Aftermath of an Old Angler • William Senior

... leaping 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



Words linked to "Tomfoolery" :   frivolity, harlequinade, mishegoss, frolic, craziness, meshugaas, foolery, buffoonery, play, mishegaas, gambol, prank



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