Word of the Day : September 30, 2013

foofaraw

play
noun FOO-fuh-raw

Definition

1 : frills and flashy finery

2 : a disturbance or to-do over a trifle : fuss

Did You Know?

"Foofaraw" originates in the American West where it has been variously spelled as "fofaraw," "forfarraw," and "froufraw," among other spellings. In writings of the pioneer West, it names the frivolous trinkets, baubles, and gewgaws used in trade. Around the 1930s, the word's more common meaning of a fuss or brouhaha developed-probably from the to-do that showy foofaraw stirred up-and people began to settle on the spelling "foofaraw." Etymologists have speculated that this eye-catching word may have come about from a mishearing of Spanish "fanfarrón," meaning "braggart" or "boaster." French "froufrou," a word for the rustling of a woman's skirts or showy ornamentation, may have also influenced it, however. Another possible connection is the French expression "fou faraud," meaning "foolish dandy."


Examples

"Marcia Edwards … turned down the offer to become dean of the College of Education because she didn't want the hassle, especially the foofaraw of being the first woman dean." - From Garrison Keillor's 2004 book Homegrown Democrat

"Typical of workstations, the Z420 doesn't make much of an impression from across the room.… No lights, no mesh filters, no fancy front-panel foofaraw." - From a product review by William Van Winkle at ComputerShopper.com, June 20, 2013



Test Your Memory

What word completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "The defense asserts that the defendant's confession was made under __________"? The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!