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Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:41 pm
by Ken Greenwald
<2017 “It seems ludicrous—all that futzing for ‘a’ [[the word]]. No one pays attention to little words like this. Everyone knows what they mean, and all this foofaraw has zero impact on the way we live our lives. Then again, debate over the meaning of ‘is’—one of the simplest words in the English language—helped set in motion the impeachment of a sitting U.S. president.”—Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Korey Stamper>
The author is talking about the extensive research and discussion that was done on the word “a” for a new edition of the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

I only came across this expression once that I recall and that was in the definition on my posting of hoo-ha! and that was quite some time ago. So it is now time for the full Monty.

foofaraw: noun [foo’-fa-raw (the ‘w’ not pronounced)]. Originally U.S. regional (west).

1) A disturbance or to-do over a trifle; a great deal of fuss or attention given to a minor matter; fuss; uproar; to-do; hubbub; commotion; brouhaha; hoopla.<What's the occasion for all this foofaraw?>

2) frills and flashy finery; showy frills added unnecessarily; trinkets or gaudy apparel; (in later use also) gaudy or frivolous trappings or accoutrements; ostentation <Too much foofaraw on that dress to suit me.>

Frequency (in current use): 2 out a maximum of 8 [[a useful indicator of usage by the OED]]

Etymology: Of multiple origins. Partly a borrowing from French. Partly a borrowing from Spanish. Etymons: French fanfaron; Spanish fanfarrón. From French fanfaron, adjective ‘boastful’ (1668; 1609 as noun in sense ‘braggart’; compare French regional fanfarou ) and its etymon Spanish fanfarrón, adjective ‘ostentatious, vain, arrogant’ and noun ‘braggart, show-off’ (1555; 1514 as panfarrón ), of imitative origin (compare fanfare n.). Compare earlier fanfaron n. Forms in fr- are probably influenced by frou-frou n. (a rustling, especially the rustling of a dress.)

(Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, and Google Dictionary)

The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:

Gaudy or frivolous trappings, trinkets, etc.:
<1848 “With both his better halves attired in all the glory of fofarraw, he went his way rejoicing.”—G. F. Ruxton in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (Scotland), August, page 138/1>

<1948 “By then he . . . had formed the habit of trading furs . . . to Tatum at the store for fuforaw for his family, as well as supplies and traps.”—“Old Man Crow’s Boy” by J. Baumann, page 37>

<1966 “No squaw wanted any other squaw to have more than she did, in beads and shells and paint and foofooraw.”—Great Adventure by J. H. Giles, page 98>

<1981 “It has a four-car garage, a tennis court, adjoining servants' suites, floodlit gardens, and a lot more outdoor foofaral.”—Canadian Establishment by P. C. Newman (1990) II. i. page 156>

<1995 “The same car but without such niceties as polished wooden picnic tables in the back seat and similar foofaraw.”—New York Times (New York City), 30 July, xi. page 1/4>

<2007 “It's not too much to ask that a 6-by-12-inch space on the front and rear of the car be kept clear of foofaraw in order to do this humdrum yet essential job.”—Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), 25 January>


A to-do over a trifle, brouhaha, etc.
<1935 “This august assemblage of the powers of earth, with its pomp and circumstance, its foofaraw and medicine-making.”—New York Times (New York City), 5 August, page 14/5>

<1954 “The Vatican's recent decision . . . set off a foofaraw of petition-drafting, letter-signing, and complaining.”—Time Magazine (New York City), 1 March, page 88/2>

<1989 “The food isn't what you'd think, in spite of all the foofaraw about Greek cooking.”—G. Anderson in New Q. Magazine, Spring, page 34>

<2004 “I have no idea how the later-summer foofaraw caused by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth played out.”—Vanity Fair (New York), November, page 316/1>

<2007 “When Larry Craig was accused of playing footsie in a men's room, the ensuing political foofaraw tended to overshadow the interesting fact that the senator is 62 years old.”—The Washington Post (D.C.), 9 September>

<2011 “As the foofaraw continues to rage, the National Art Museum of China is staging a relatively inoffensive landscape exhibit at the Kennedy Center.”—The Washington Times (D.C.), 9 September>

<2015 “I confess it: I have no interest whatsoever in the sport of football. Truly couldn't care less. Find the game itself inscrutable and the multimillion-dollar foofaraw surrounding it fairly nauseating.”—The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 30 January>

<2017 “Many parents have come to fear the foofaraw surrounding Halloween.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota ), 23 October>


Ken Greenwald — December 31, 2017 (Another year shot!) :o

Re: foofaraw

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:27 am
by Erik_Kowal
Reminds me of 'free-for-all', i.e. a melee. But that's doubtless purely coincidental.

It's not 2017 I'd like to see shot.

Re: foofaraw

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:26 am
by trolley
I've witnessed a few hoo-haws, and been involved in a few brouhas but I am not familiar with the foofaraw. Sounds like a bit of a kerfuffle.