Definitions

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

  • n. A ruffle or flounce on a garment.
  • n. A piece of showy ornamentation.
  • transitive v. To decorate with a ruffle or flounce.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ruffle, frill or flounce on clothing.
  • n. A decorative piece of fabric, usually gathered or pleated.
  • n. A small, showy ornamentation.
  • v. To adorn with a furbelow; to ornament.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plaited or gathered flounce on a woman's garment.
  • transitive v. To put a furbelow on; to ornament.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish or ornament with furbelows or elaborate embellishments.
  • n. A piece of stuff plaited and puckered on a gown or petticoat; a plaited or puffed flounce; the plaited border of a petticoat or skirt.
  • n. Hence An elaborate adornment of any kind.
  • n. The Laminaria bulbosa, a species of seaweed having a large wrinkled frond, found on the coasts of England.
  • n. Some part or process like a fringe or flounce.

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

  • n. a strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim

Etymologies

Probably alteration of Proven├žal farbello, farbella, fringe, perhaps alteration of Italian faldella, pleat, diminutive of falda, flap, loose end, of Germanic origin; see pel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • There wasn't a single frill, flower or furbelow in her house, and he suspected her mind was just as streamlined.

    Hot For Him

  • For the rest; the dress was made with extreme simplicity, guiltless of flounce or furbelow; it was but the light fabric and bright tint which scared me, and since Graham found in it nothing absurd, my own eye consented soon to become reconciled.

    Villette

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

    The Nest Builder

  • Let a woman appear with an unaccustomed furbelow, or a family of a workman that is earning a fat salary, eat two succulent dishes the same week, public opinion will quickly make evident its sentiments, and swiftly put things to rights.

    With Those Who Wait

  • Lady Craufurd is now dressing for it, with more roses, blood, and furbelow than were ever yet enlisted (?).

    George Selwyn: His Letters and His Life

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

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 267, August 4, 1827

  • "B ` ism Allah" (a Moor mounts and dismounts in the name of God), with a man at his stirrups, he sinks without an effort into his saddle, amidst a furbelow of white robes, which he has afterwards arranged carefully for him.

    In the Tail of the Peacock

  • The Shaggy Man found his bed = soft and luxurious, so he slipped off his shaggy clothes, carefully = arranging them on a chair so that not one frill or furbelow was out of = place, put on the pajamas which Conjo had also provided for him, and = slipped into bed.

    The Shaggy Man of Oz

  • Kedzie's soul expanded to the ultimate fringe of the farthest furbelow.

    We Can't Have Everything

  • The dresses held an atmosphere of evaporated frivolity; flirtations lingered in every frill, and memories of old larks lurked in every furbelow.

    Mr. Opp

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Comments

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  • Furbelow, furabove, furaway . . .

    April 5, 2009

  • If you want to see a real redundant purpleness effect just visit the NYU area.

    June 24, 2008

  • I was wondering that myself, dontcry. I think it might have been the purpleness that made the armchair redundant, i.e. in Wharton's (or the protagonist's) opinion purpleness renders armchairs redundant, but to be honest I'm stumped.

    June 24, 2008

  • We should ask The Oracle.

    June 24, 2008

  • Was the armchair redundant because it was purple among bric-a-brac and furbelow or because there were many purple armchairs about?

    June 21, 2008

  • ...among the bric-a-brac and furbelows, he found Miss Painter seated in a redundant purple armchair...

    - Edith Wharton, The Reef

    June 21, 2008