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frou·​frou ˈfrü-(ˌ)frü How to pronounce froufrou (audio)
variants or frou-frou
plural froufrous or frou-frous
: a rustling especially of a woman's skirts
: showy or frilly ornamentation


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variants or frou-frou
: 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
None of that decadent froufrou for us Americans, no sir; the Eurosport breathes through a Rochester two-barrel carburetor, and the mixture flows from carburetor to manifold unvexed by any little whirling rotors or impellers. David E. Davis Jr., Car and Driver, 30 Jan. 2023 An unusual mushroom farm, a chef who hates trash cans, manta for all, Thanksgiving classics and waiting for froufrou. Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2022 Heimat is entirely over the top, from its exorbitant prices to its gaudy designs to its froufrou rhetoric around self-actualization and community-building. Evan Sterrett, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2022 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
Nothing fancy or froufrou, for sure! Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2021 The collection drew inspiration from La Samaritaine’s diverse clientele and featured streamlined high octane silhouettes, froufrou flourishes and sporty, cold weather appropriate quilted puffers. Stephanie Hirschmiller, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 The froufrou thematic stuff is for other people to figure out. Mike Sacks, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2022 That was always life for Venorica Tucker, 72, who works as a server and bartender at froufrou events all over the Washington region. Washington Post, 6 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'froufrou.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



French, of imitative origin

First Known Use


1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of froufrou was in 1870


Dictionary Entries Near froufrou

Cite this Entry

“Froufrou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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