This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Monday, 4 June 2018

Spot the Frippet: fantoosherie.

I'm not so very keen on tartan or large bagpipes in quantity, but Scottish words give me great joy: they display a splendid vigour from which standard English so often shies away.

Fantoosh started off meaning ostentatious:

File:Ostentation of Peacocks - geograph.org.uk - 90012.jpg
photo of an ostentation of peacocks by Mick Garratt.

Nowadays fantoosh tends to mean fancily, or very fashionably, dressed - and especially over-dressed.

From fantoosh we get the gorgeous word fantoosherie, which means fuss, pretentiousness, or swank.

Fantoosh is definitely a term of disapproval. Dressing smartly isn't enough: you have to do it with the intention of making everyone else feel slightly inadequate. 

Yes, you need to take yourself seriously to be fantoosh.

If you want to spot some fantoosherie then weddings, royalty, and high-ranking officials tend to attract it.

Spot the Frippet: something fantoosh. No one is quite sure of this word, but it seems to have appeared during the 1914 - 18 war, and perhaps it was something to do with the English dialect word fanty-sheeny, from the Italian fantoccino, puppet. Whether this is correct or not I do not know, but it does give just the right impression of a small person in thrall to the larger forces of their ego.


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