Word Of The Week: FOLLY

Word Of The Week: FOLLY

Something about a familiar but under-appreciated word elevates both you, and what you are saying.

People seem to remember more of what you say, and are even more interested in it. I love the sense of novelty, and the power  words like this add,  and this week’s word is  FOLLY.

Heard at a to-the-trade forum at last week’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show; it came from Miles Redd, an NYC Interior Designer by way of Atlanta. The topic was the influence travel has on design, and since his most memorable trips were to England,  it was a perfect word-I was immediatley transported.

Almost impossible to mumble or butcher the pronunciation, there is a crisp, yet light-hearted bounce to it.

As entertainment (Ice Follies, Folies Bergere) it’s a wink and a nod to the theatrical: the glamorous, the over the top,  the silly and ridiculous-this was where Miles was coming from.

But it’s also an offhand disapproval; a dispassionate dismissal.  A civilized, genteel-sounding put down, you’re  humoring someone’s  fantasy. It’s a noun, and defined as both silliness and foolishness, a lack of sense, understanding or foresight, even madness.

In mid-evil times, a Folly was an allegorical character in plays and artwork, a young man, usually looking like a Jester on tarot cards.

BONUS! It’s  also a useless but showy, over-designed, highly decorative structure. Quite common in 18th century English gardens, on the grounds of many castles in Europe…and Westchester  McMansions of the 1980s-HA!

What I really like about this word is that it’s a great way to register your opinion without it being a body-blow…in fact, it’d be a great choice when you have to disagree, and need to de-sensitize the situation as well. As in, it’d be pure folly to expect top dollar for your property without doing all you can to properly prepare it for sale.