Fantoosh puppets

I came across the interesting Scots word fantoosh [fan’tuʃ], which is defined by the Online Scots Dictionary as “flashy, ultra-fashionable”, whicle the Dictionary of the Scots Language gives a more detailed definition: “1. Over-dressed, over-ornamented; flashy, showy; ultra-fashionable; and 2. An over-dressed person”.

Related words include fantoosherie (fuss, pretentiousness, swank) and fantooshed (flashily dressed).

This word was apparently coined during the First World War and was influenced by the English dialect word fanty-sheeny (a marionette, showy, fanciful), which comes from the Italian fantoccino (puppet), or from the French fantoche (puppet), or maybe fantoosh comes directly from the French.

According to the Caledonian Mercury, fantoosh is more often used for women than, and is also used for other things, such as clothes, hats, wedding cakes, and it usually carries with it hints of criticism or disapproval.

Are there similar words in other languages?

This entry was posted in English, Language, Scots, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Fantoosh puppets

  1. Barry Dean says:

    I wonder whether the term “fancy pants,” meaning–according to Merriam-Webster’s Web site–“overly elegant or refined,” has any connection to the words that Simon mentions, or whether it is a totally independent coinage. The similarity is striking. M-W indicates first known use of fancy pants as 1945.

  2. Cesar M. says:

    The Spanish word “fanfarrón” may be related. As an adjective it can mean “vain” “ostentatious” “conceited.”

  3. David Eger says:

    ‘Fanfarrón’ looks like it could be related to ‘fanfare’ – that being something, by its very nature, loud and unabashed.

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