Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Foofaraw – Wacky Word Wednesday

In order to seize the day, sometimes we need to overlook petty things and focus on what matters most. On today’s edition of Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the English language’s most interesting and unusual words, we examine a state of uneasiness that can easily be avoided if you choose to focus on the big picture.

Here’s this week’s word:

foofaraw

[foo-fuh-faw]

-noun

1. a fuss over something trivial.

2. an excessive amount of decoration.

Foofaraw is a North American colloquialism and has appeared in its various iterations as fofaraw, forfarraw, and froufraw among other spellings. Its origin is mostly unknown but etymologists suppose that it may have come about from a mishearing of the Spanish fanfarón, meaning braggart or boaster. It may also have been influenced by the French froufrou, a word for the rustling of a woman’s skirts or showy ornamentation.

Foofaraw first appeared in print in 1848, used to convey trinkets or gaudy apparel.  Later on, it took on the added meaning of commotion or brouhaha. In today’s world, the most common definition of foofaraw is a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant. It also refers to an excessive display or unnecessary frills.

Now that Christmas is just around the corner, we can use foofaraw to describe houses with superfluous decoration. Check out this picture of a house embellished with half a million Christmas lights. The house owner, David Richards, might have gone a little overboard but he managed to claim his second Guinness World Record by stringing 31 miles worth of lights.

And to help you better understand foofaraw, check out these examples below:

  • The foofaraw is a bit like the noise created by dimestore prophets as they made their forecasts about the new millennium. (Dawg’s Blawg)
  • The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a spectacularly creative foofaraw from beginning to end. (Alpha Dictionary)
  • There seems to be a foofaraw boiling over Superman and his recent decision in Wednesday’s Action Comics #900 to renounce his American citizenship. (Bryan Young)

If you find yourself having a tempest in a teapot this week, remember that there are superior things worth your time and energy. We hope you enjoy a foofaraw-free week and see you next time for another edition of Wacky Word Wednesday.

If you’re interested in learning more wacky words, make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates from T for Translation!

1. a fuss over something trivial.[RP1]

2. an excessive amount of decoration.


[RP1]Just checked the blog and we haven’t been consistent about period usage in the last few posts. Could you go back and add periods where necessary?

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