One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hooped petticoat or circular pad of fabric around the hips, formerly worn under women's skirts to extend and shape them.
- ‘In Spain, the farthingale and excessive décolletage were proscribed for all but licensed prostitutes in 1639.’
- ‘A plain white chemise slithered over her form, draping to her ankles, with the multiple petticoats and the flexibly hooped farthingale over it.’
- ‘For example, the black veil and the farthingale, or guardainfante (the rigid framework of iron hoops to support large, stiff skirts), worn by the sitter were typical of but not exclusive to Spanish fashion.’
- ‘They were struggling with a Spanish farthingale and trying to attach it to an uncooperative novice.’
Early 16th century (formerly also as vardingale): from French verdugale, alteration of Spanish verdugado, from verdugo ‘rod, stick’, from verde ‘green’.
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