Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Pretentious, showy finery.
  • n. Pretentious elegance; ostentation.
  • n. Something trivial or nonessential.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Ostentation, as in fancy clothing.
  • n. Useless things; trifles.
  • n. Cast-off clothes.
  • n. The trade or traffic in old clothes.
  • n. The place where old clothes are sold.
  • n. Hence: secondhand finery; cheap and tawdry decoration; affected elegance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Trifling; contemptible.
  • n. Coast-off clothes.
  • n. Hence: Secondhand finery; cheap and tawdry decoration; affected elegance.
  • n. A place where old clothes are sold.
  • n. The trade or traffic in old clothes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Trade or traffic in old clothes.
  • n. A place where old clothes are sold.
  • n. Old clothes; cast-off garments; clothing discarded after wearing.
  • n. Hence Worthless or useless trifles; trumpery; gewgaws.
  • Trifling; frivolous; contemptible; trumpery.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. something of little value or significance

Etymologies

French friperie, from Old French freperie, old clothes, from felpe, frepe, from Medieval Latin faluppa, worthless material.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French friperie. From Old French fripierĀ ("to rub up and down, to wear into rags"). Compare fripper. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Gloves, an Ell or two of Muslin or figured Lawn, and as a little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world, Nabby would have me add, a few yard of Black or

    Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 May 1780

  • In San Francisco, Tim meets Jay, calls his frippery-based collection the equivalent of

    Queer Sighted

  • Ignore the insanely complex and expensive parallelogram-hinged door frippery, which is strictly concept; the car does provide some design clues.

    Advance auto zone blog about fast cars and auto trader

  • Miss Roberts never could stand what she called 'frippery' in dress or hair style.

    Summer Term At St Clare's

  • The three gorgeously caparisoned chamberlains, who had inducted me to the shelter, laid before me changes of raiment bedecked with every imaginable kind of frippery, and would have me transform myself into a popinjay in fashion like their own.

    The Lost Continent

  • All this kind of frippery smacks of the boarding school, the pirouette, and the dancing master, and is out of character for the farm, or the sensible retirement of the country.

    Rural Architecture Being a Complete Description of Farm Houses, Cottages, and Out Buildings

  • Joe's favorite word is "frippery," which he likes because it sounds funny and not because he's found a way to work it into conversation.

    IndyStar.com Top Stories

  • There's a solid, if unremarkable racing game buried underneath all this pointless frippery and camera-wobbling, but it's one that fails to provide either the dogged authenticity of Gran Turismo 5 or the balls-to-the-wall rush of Blur or Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

    This week's new games

  • But such frippery doesn't seem to sink to the level of even a Dis-Honorable Mention, in our humble opinion.

    Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points -- Budget Standoff Continues

  • Cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX and Mazda's hatchbacks are loved for their rough-and-tumble rally personalities, not for interior frippery or extra design cues.

    The Fastest Cars Under $30,000

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Comments

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  • From OED:
    d. fig. Empty display, esp. in speech or literary composition; showy talk; ostentation.

    June 8, 2009

  • "WHEREAS For damage caused by lightning, earthquakes, floods, fire, frost or frippery of any sort, kind or condition, consequently the undersigned take responsibility."

    February 24, 2009

  • I've always thought of this as a noun, and not as a legitimate adjective.

    November 14, 2007

  • This can mean a lot, but I like it for describing someone or someone's manners/dress when writing.

    showy; gaudy; nonessential, trivial

    October 2, 2007