Printable Version
Pronunciation: fahp Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A prig, a male snob, a conceited fellow. 2. A prissy, vain guy overly concerned about the clothes he wears, a coxcomb, a dandy.

Notes: This word has a bit of an old-fashioned ring to it today, but it is still available for use. It is a word you can have a lot of fun with. The behavior of a fop is foppery, for fops are, after all, foppish characters who act foppishly. The word is so short writers in the 17th century sometimes added an extension to be sure the word caught your attention: fop-doodle. Time to warm it up again?

In Play: We should save today's word for guys obsessed with their appearance who push stylishness in their dress too far: "Here comes that dreadful Art Dwecko again, dripping with jewelry and smelling like a perfume store!" It can simply refer to conceit, though: "Pierce Deer is such a fop he thinks his opinion is a gift."

Word History: Today's Good Word belongs solely to English, coming to us from our ancestral Germanic languages and was not borrowed. It is related to German foppen "to trick, deceive" and probably derived directly from that verb's English cousin, fob in the sense of fobbing something off on someone. Nothing is known about this word before it descended to the Proto-Germanic language. No trace of it can be found in ancient Latin and Greek. (Today's Good Word is due Amy Frits, who sent it in with an amusing story published in the Language Blog.)

Dr. Goodword,

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