more people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows

Tom Fool is a name traditionally given to a simpleton, or to one who acts the part of a fool, as in a drama or morris dance.

1656 S. HOLLAND Wit & Fancy II. i. In all Comedies more know the Clown, then the Clown knows.

1723 DEFOE Colonel Jack (ed. 2) 347 It was no satisfaction to me that I knew not their faces, for they might know mine..according to the old English proverb, ‘that more knows Tom Fool, than Tom Fool knows’.

1865 SURTEES Facey Romford’s Hounds xxxii. ‘Good mornin’, Mr. Swig,’ said the man; for the aphorism that ‘more people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows,’ holds particularly good as regards huntsmen and field servants.

1980 L. MEYNELL Hooky & Prancing Horse iv. Hooky asked..‘How’s the great pulsating world of journalism?’ Mac was..surprised; but he consoled himself with the thought that more people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows.

2000 ‘C. AIRD’ Little Knell (2001) xv. 170 ‘I reckon that just at this minute, sir, there’s more that we don’t know about this girl’s murder than what we do...’ ‘More people always know Tom Fool, Crosby.’

Proverbs new dictionary.

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