frou·​frou | \ ˈfrü-(ˌ)frü How to pronounce froufrou (audio) \
variants: or frou-frou
plural froufrous or frou-frous

Definition of froufrou

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a rustling especially of a woman's skirts
2 : showy or frilly ornamentation


variants: or frou-frou

Definition of froufrou (Entry 2 of 2)

: very showy or fancy … fussy, fragile, froufrou clothes won't make it through the winter.Elle Some people dismiss the bright yellow garnish as froufrou decoration, but they're missing the point …— Jane Daniels Lear … when she had put on her make-up, he set her on his bed in her frou-frou dressing-gown …— John le Carré

Did you know?

Nineteenth-century Europe featured a lot of sophisticated fashions—especially in Paris, a city considered by many to be the fashion capital of the world. Women's dresses were often made of drooping layers of fabric (such as satin or silk) that rustled as the women moved around, and "froufrou" was the French word coined in imitation of the sound they made. The word made its first appearance in English in 1870 as a noun meaning "rustling." It later came to mean "ostentatious decoration," and its usage expanded beyond the world of fashion to other crafts such as architecture and interior design. These days it also shows up as the adjective frou-frou, meaning "very heavily decorated and fancy," as in "frou-frou designs."

Examples of froufrou in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To keep the planter from skewing fusty, Mr. London recommends filling it with leafy plants, or even cactuses, in lieu of froufrou florals. Allison Duncan, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2021 This froufrou fantasy surged as a status symbol in the 1950s, said New York designer Laurence Carr, but is far too resource-sucking today. Kathryn O'shea-evans, WSJ, 13 Aug. 2021 Here’s a look at some properties that are light on froufrou but big on fun. Pamela Wright,, 20 Jan. 2021 Lindsey Wixson also starred in the show, wearing a punchy blue froufrou dress over a coral knit (complete with a supersized bow). Georgia Murray,, 18 Feb. 2020 Oh’s shoulders courtesy of Elie Saab, the decorative froufrou had been streamlined. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2020 For a $2 fee, nonmembers can use a portion of the club’s private beach cove, and, from 5 to 7 p.m., sip half-price froufrou tropical drinks at the beachside bar. Rico Gagliano, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2018 Like the Seattle flagship, the Reserve coffee bars will brew drinks on machines including a siphon, and a Black Eagle espresso maker — the similar equipment staples at froufrou shops like Intelligensia. Jacqueline Colette Prosper, ELLE Decor, 21 Oct. 2016 Potential buyers are put off by small rooms, steep stairs and froufrou adornments in a culture where the fewest interior walls, level floors and clean lines are popular. Janet Eastman,, 19 Oct. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of froufrou


1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1885, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for froufrou


French, of imitative origin

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The first known use of froufrou was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Froufrou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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