In a silly manner; foolishly.--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850
Death of Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774),
Irish-born playwright, novelist, and poet. W. & R. Chambers's Book of Days (1864) profiled the writer: "At school and at college he showed all the symptoms of a dunce, and many of a fool. Then, after idling some time, he succeeded in failing utterly in a very fair number of attempts to set up in life, as much out of sheer negligence and simplicity as incapacity, and when his friends had pretty well given him up, he set out with a flute in his hand and nothing in his pocket, to see the world. He passed through many countries, and much privation, and finally returned, bringing with him a degree in medicine and that wide of experience of manners which ever fed his genius more than reading." In 1773 Samuel Johnson wrote: "It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. He seldom comes where he is not more ignorant than any one else." But a few years later, he amended this judgment: "No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had."