Definitions

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

  • n. A fur, probably squirrel, much used in medieval times to line and trim robes.
  • n. Heraldry A representation of fur.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of fur from a squirrel with a black back and white belly, much used on garments in the Middle Ages.
  • n. An heraldic fur formed by a regular tessellation of blue and white bell shapes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The skin of the squirrel, much used in the fourteenth century as fur for garments, and frequently mentioned by writers of that period in describing the costly dresses of kings, nobles, and prelates. It is represented in heraldry by a series of small shields placed close together, and alternately white and blue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of fur in use in the middle ages.
  • n. In heraldry, one of the furs. See tincture, 2.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, variegated, vair, from Latin varius, variegated.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French vair, veir, from the accusative singular masculine form of Latin varius ("variegated"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • 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.

    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.

    The belief that Cinderella wore glass slippers actually arises from a confusion of vair (squirrel-fur) with its homonym verre (glass). In all probability, she went to the ball wearing fashionable furry footwear.

    November 12, 2007