• foofaraw •
fu-fê-raw • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: (Slang) 1. A big fuss or commotion, a brouhaha, excessive hoopla, a fancy, overdone to-do. 2. Gaudy trinkets, fancy frills, flashy but tasteless clothes or accessories.
Notes: Goofy words like today's seldom have derivational relatives, so it is no surprise that foofaraw is a lexical orphan. Spelling isn't much of a problem, either; since it is slang, it should be used in only casual conversation or very, very informal writing.
In Play: The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a spectacularly creative foofaraw from beginning to end. So, foofaraws are big, overstaged to-dos: "All Llewellyn wanted was a small, simple cookout but his mother put on a big foofaraw for his birthday." To be consistent, his mother came wearing every foofaraw in her jewelry case (the other meaning of the word).
Word History: Today's Good Word seems to have slipped over from Spanish fanfarronada "bluster, swagger". Apparently, it was introduced by someone whose Spanish was less than perfect but managed to convey at least the basic impression. The Spanish word is a noun based on fanfarrón "braggart", apparently borrowed from Arabic farfar "talkative" during the period of Moorish presence in Spain (711-1492). The Arabic adjective comes from the verb farfara "to become talkative, agitated" and is probably of imitative (onomatopoetic) origin. French fanfaron "swagger, bluster" was borrowed from the same Spanish word.
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