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[fish-oo; French fee-shy] /ˈfɪʃ u; French fiˈʃü/
noun, plural fichus
[fish-ooz; French fee-shy] /ˈfɪʃ uz; French fiˈʃü/ (Show IPA)
a woman's kerchief or shawl, generally triangular in shape, worn draped over the shoulders or around the neck with the ends drawn together on the breast.
Origin of fichu
1795-1805; < French: noun use of fichu, past participle of ficher to drive in, fix (informally, to throw, fling; hence, something put on hastily, loosely attached) < Vulgar Latin *fīgicāre, for Latin fīgere; cf. finca Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fichu
Historical Examples
  • The green chiffon crossed the shoulders in fichu effect, and the elbow-length sleeves were edged with bands of green.

    What Will People Say? Rupert Hughes
  • Pamela's contained a rather short-waisted frock of lilac silk, with a fichu of chiffon tied softly round the shoulders.

    The Quiver 12/1899 Anonymous
  • It only wants the sleeves shortened and some lace put in, and the neck turned down to make it lower, and then a fichu put round.

  • The women wore a calico skirt, a white shirt with a bracelet at the elbow to hold the sleeves and a fichu on the head.

    The History of Cuba, vol. 2 Willis Fletcher Johnson
  • She furthermore wore a fichu of a style which had been entirely extinct for fifty years at least.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • There were ruffles of point lace in the full sleeves, and she held up the point-lace cap and fichu that completed the costume.

    The Land of Long Ago Eliza Calvert Hall
  • She paused to shake out the lustrous silk and spread the fichu over it that I might see the delicate pattern of the lace.

    The Land of Long Ago Eliza Calvert Hall
  • The fichu was one her mother had thrown away long ago, and Esther had rescued.

    The Carroll Girls Mabel Quiller-Couch
  • "Doubtless," replied Madame, arranging a napkin carefully over her fichu, and dealing rigorously with some mayonnaise sauce.

  • And you look deliciously pretty in that dress, though she did make a fiasco of the back; let the fichu come well down over it.

    The Dull Miss Archinard Anne Douglas Sedgwick
British Dictionary definitions for fichu


a woman's shawl or scarf of some light material, worn esp in the 18th century
Word Origin
C19: from French: small shawl, from ficher to fix with a pin, from Latin fīgere to fasten, fix
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fichu

1803, from French fichu (18c. in this sense), apparently a noun use of the adj. fichu "carelessly thrown on," from Latin figere "to fasten" (see fix). "[M]od. substitution for a coarser word" [Weekley].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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