Today's Word "Furbelow"


Published in Vocabulary

furbelow \FEHR-bee-lo\ (noun) - 1 : A flounce, a ruffle on a garment, curtain, tablecloth, or the like; 2 : anything unnecessary but showy.

"When McDowell turned up at the fete with a furbelow on his kilt and a flounce in his walk, the womenfolk paid him little mind."

Today's word is a distant relation of English "fold." It is probably a corruption of Provencal farbello "fringe," akin to Italian faldella, the diminutive of falda "flap, leaf, sheet." This word was borrowed from a Germanic word which also gave us Old English faldan "to fold" and modern day "fold." It also turns up in the compound "faldstool" from the Medieval Latin word faldistolium "folding chair." This word went on to become Old French "faldestoel" and, ultimately, Modern French fauteuil "armchair." (The Medieval Latin word was borrowed from an Old Germanic compound *faldistolaz "folding stool.")


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