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[vair] /vɛər/
a fur much used for lining and trimming garments in the 13th and 14th centuries, generally assumed to have been that of a variety of squirrel with a gray back and white belly.
Compare miniver (def 1).
Heraldry. a fur represented by a pattern of escutcheon- or bell-shaped figures, each outlining the adjacent sides of those beside it so that the figures alternate vertically and horizontally both in position and in tinctures, of which argent and azure are common.
Origin of vair
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin varium something particolored; see various Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for vair


a fur, probably Russian squirrel, used to trim robes in the Middle Ages
one of the two principal furs used on heraldic shields, conventionally represented by white and blue skins in alternate lines Compare ermine (sense 3)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: of more than one colour, from Latin varius variegated, various
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 vair

"squirrel fur," c.1300, from Old French vair, from Latin varium, masculine accusative singular of varius "parti-colored" (see vary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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