Where does the word “Furbelow” come from and What does Furbelow mean?

One could make a poor pun by asking, “Was it fur below?”

But the source of the stylish flounce, furbelowof, of bygone years did not derive from a mispronounced “far below” nor from the pelt of an animal.

The flounce was much more likely to have been made of silk than of fur.

No, we owe the term only to the carelessness of the dressmakers or their customers of the early eighteenth century.

The true name, used also in other languages though from an unknown origin, was falbala, accented on the first syllable.

Through ignorance, perhaps, this became falbeloe and, eventually, furbelow.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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