One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A gathered strip or pleated border of a skirt or petticoat.
embellish, decorate, furnish, ornament, add ornament to, enhanceView synonyms
- ‘Less juvenile cladding and other furbelows, better-integrated hood scoops, nicer stances and silhouettes - you name it, the '05s are better at it than their predecessors were.’
- 1.1furbelows Showy ornaments or trimmings.‘frills and furbelows just made her look stupid’
- ‘In his book on orchids he documents the elaborate frills and furbelows, gimmicks and traps, that lure and exploit insect pollinators, thereby ensuring cross-fertilization.’
- ‘This evening, gift wrapping a couple of small presents for Graham's birthday, tomorrow, I had to give up on the frills and furbelows and resort to plain old parcel wrapping, and none too tidily at that.’
verb[with object]usually as adjective furbelowed
Adorn with trimmings.
- ‘The desserts seem steadier, although they, too, succumb to major-league busyness, being garnished and furbelowed to a fare-thee-well.’
- ‘In chests in the attic are furbelowed skirts of her great-grandmother's day, the day when her set of six chairs, delicately designed by a colonial craftsman, made a wedding present for her ancestor.’
- ‘The frilled, flounced and furbelowed 1850s grew more ornate with each passing day and even the littlest humans were as loaded with ribbons, bows, embroidery and lace as any Parisian belle.’
- ‘Zoffany's painting of Mrs Oswald shows a lemon-lipped, bored-looking woman trussed in a furbelowed dress.’
- ‘It doesn't stop there: the scatter cushions of the rich are also tasselled, pleated, furbelowed, monogrammed and crested.’
- ‘Many a private chair, too, inclosing some fine lady, monstrously hooped and furbelowed, and preceded by running-footmen bearing flambeaux - for which extinguishers are yet suspended before the doors of a few houses of the better sort - made the way gay and light as it danced along, and darker and more dismal when it had passed.’
- ‘Olnek directs at a breathless pace, imaginatively varying styles and making the most of Munee Hayes's over-the-top furbelowed costumes.’
- ‘After playing small roles in everything from Shakespeare to Jean Anouilh, she was singing in a small New York club in 1959 when Coward heard her and put her, furbelowed all the way to her eyebrow-tangling bangs, in his musical Look After Lulu.’
- ‘In such a furbelowed, tasseled and bedizened production, the greatest of singers would have a difficult time making an impression.’
- ‘Often people join the conversations from above, hanging over the rails of the many furbelowed wrought-iron fire escapes precariously fastened to house fronts.’
Late 17th century: from French falbala ‘trimming, flounce’, of unknown ultimate origin.
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