One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Fur obtained from a variety of red squirrel, used in the 13th and 14th centuries as a trimming or lining for garments.
- ‘A thousand men dressed in vair followed Beduerus the butler, similarly attired, offering various drinks of every sort in goblets.’
- ‘All day long Cinderella wore rags and dragged her feet in clogs, but at night she whirled in fine vair shoes and glittering gowns.’
- ‘It was ordained that no ecclesiastic, but dignified clergymen, should wear vair, gray, or ermine.’
- ‘One morning this maidservant, with a basket of cabbage greens, passed by Bito who, beforehand, had thought to dress in his finest robes of rich vair.’
- ‘On special feasts, the knights would bestow many robes of vair, for which reason courtiers and jugglers from Lombardy and all of Italy were drawn to Florence, where they were welcomed.’
Fur represented by interlocking rows of shield-shaped or bell-shaped figures which are typically alternately blue and white, as a tincture.
- ‘The height of a row of vair is not strictly specified, but is typically about one-fifth that of the shield.’
- ‘The white and blue bell-shapes of vair usually form the equivalent of a chequerboard pattern.’
Middle English: via Old French from Latin varius (see various).
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