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  1. a ruffle or flounce, as on a woman's skirt or petticoat.
  2. any bit of showy trimming or finery.
verb (used with object)
  1. to ornament with or as if with furbelows.

Origin of furbelow

First recorded in 1670–80; variant of falbala
Related formsun·fur·be·lowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for furbelow

Historical Examples

  • Her sex was the very essence of her; she had no need to wear it like a furbelow.

    The Nest Builder

    Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale

  • How ridiculous that one should suffer from want of a frill or a furbelow!

    The Golden Censer

    John McGovern

  • A furbelow of precious stones, a hat buttoned with a diamond, a brocade waistcoat or petticoat, are standing topics.

  • Then why, in the name of common sense, did you gaze so earnestly at the furbelow lady herself?

    The Widow Barnaby

    Frances Trollope

  • And, if it were a mere fal-lal, a furbelow of larval coquetry, even that would not surprise me.

British Dictionary definitions for furbelow


  1. a flounce, ruffle, or other ornamental trim
  2. (often plural) showy ornamentation
  1. (tr) to put a furbelow on (a garment)

Word Origin

C18: by folk etymology from French dialect farbella; see falbala
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

Word Origin and History for furbelow


c.1700, alteration of falbala, from French falbala (17c., cognate with Provençal farbello), from Italian falda "fold, flap, pleat," from PIE *pel- "to fold." As a verb from 1701.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper