frip·​pery | \ˈfri-p(ə-)rē \
plural fripperies

Definition of frippery 

1 obsolete

a : cast-off clothes

b archaic : a place where old clothes are sold

2a : finery also : an elegant or showy garment

b : something showy, frivolous, or nonessential

c : ostentation especially : something foolish or affectedly elegant

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Examples of frippery in a Sentence

The design is simple and devoid of needless frippery. dressed in their most elegant frippery for the big gala at the symphony

Recent Examples on the Web

Zig-zagging between the United States, France, Italy, and Germany, Schneider was quick to eclipse the froth and frippery of Sissi with far bolder, more sophisticated projects—and a wardrobe to match. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Romy Schneider! Revisiting the Star’s Enduring Style," 23 Sep. 2018 The macaroni style, brought from Italy and France by men who had made the Grand Tour, proved hard to integrate into English society, which was unused to such frippery. George Prochnik, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 24 June 2018 The art of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), however, like that of his contemporary Joshua Reynolds, was more than smooth finishes and frippery. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘Gainsborough’ Review: A Special Light Shone Out of Him," 25 May 2018 But while the plethora of new options and tailored advice for female finances are a big step for women, is all the feminine frippery really necessary? Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "Financial Sites For Women Are Game Changing—But Do They Have To Be So Pink?," 4 May 2018 These dramas and comedies are typically lacking in effects budgets and other frippery, and many of them will sink without a trace. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "17 under-the-radar summer movies you won’t want to miss," 30 Apr. 2018 Purchases of fripperies such as football clubs and hotels have been curbed by the Chinese authorities, but investment continues to flow into technology and infrastructure, notes James Zhan of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Economist, "Europeans fret that Chinese investment is a security risk," 22 Mar. 2018 In the fat times, managers could be careless with money; staff complained about spending on fripperies, such as making surroundings more pleasant. The Economist, "The NHS looks due to get more money. Where should it go?," 28 Mar. 2018 But those sentiments still reinforce the idea that the speech of young women isn’t just empty frippery, but an active force of evil tearing apart our language. Kory Stamper, The Cut, "The 300-Year History of Using ‘Literally’ Figuratively," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frippery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of frippery

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for frippery

Middle French friperie, alteration of Old French freperie, from frepe old garment

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Learn More about frippery

Dictionary Entries near frippery


Frio, Cape




Frisbee golf


Statistics for frippery

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for frippery

The first known use of frippery was in 1568

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More Definitions for frippery



English Language Learners Definition of frippery

: something that is not necessary or not serious

More from Merriam-Webster on frippery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frippery

Britannica English: Translation of frippery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frippery

What made you want to look up frippery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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