• WordNet 3.6
    • n farthingale a hoop worn beneath a skirt to extend it horizontally; worn by European women in the 16th and 17th centuries
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Farthingale A hoop skirt or hoop petticoat, or other light, elastic material, used to extend the petticoat. "We'll revel it as bravely as the best, . . . With ruffs and cuffs, and farthingales and things."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n farthingale A contrivance for extending the skirts of women's dresses, resembling the modern hooped skirt and made of ribs of whalebone run into a cloth foundation. It was introduced into England from France about 1545. It reached its greatest degree and inconvenience about 1610, when it gave the skirt an almost perfectly cylindrical form, the top of the cylinder being covered by the short skirt of a kind of basque maintained in a nearly horizontal position, or by loosely puffed folds of the material of the dress. It was still in use as late as 1662. Compare hoop and crinoline.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Farthingale fär′thing-gāl a kind of crinoline of whalebone for distending women's dress.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. vardingale, fardingale, fr. OF. vertugale, verdugade, F. vertugade, vertugadin, from Sp. verdugado, being named from its hoops, fr. verdugo, a young shoot of tree, fr. verde, green, fr. L. viridis,. See Verdant
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. verdugale—Sp. verdugado, hooped, verdugo, rod.


In literature:

She wore a ruff of black taffeta, a red velvet hood, and a farthingale all in rags, and she leaned heavily upon a crutch.
"The Blue Fairy Book" by Various
She was quaintly dressed in a ruff and farthingale, and a velvet hood covered her snow-white hair.
"The Red Fairy Book" by Various
Margaret pinned up her kirtle and farthingale, for the road was wet.
"The Cloister and the Hearth" by Charles Reade
And I shall not dress thee out like a peacock with gay colours and great farthingales.
"A Lady of Quality" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
It was in Queen Anne's time that the bone was in its glory, the farthingale being then all the fashion.
"Moby Dick; or The Whale" by Herman Melville
They are not handsome, and their farthingales a strange dress.
"Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1662" by Samuel Pepys
She darted in and out between the tables, managing her unwieldy farthingale with amazing skill.
"The Nest of the Sparrowhawk" by Baroness Orczy
Elizabeth was as a farthingale over an executioner's block.
"The Man Who Laughs" by Victor Hugo
The Elizabethan farthingale was such a garment.
"Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 4 (of 6)" by Havelock Ellis
No breeches for her, but farthingales and 'modesty pieces' high enough to graze her chin.
"His Grace of Osmonde" by Frances Hodgson Burnett