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[fish-oo; French fee-shy] /ˈfɪʃ u; French fiˈʃü/
noun, plural fichus
[fish-ooz; French fee-shy] /ˈfɪʃ uz; French fiˈʃü/ (Show IPA)
a woman's kerchief or shawl, generally triangular in shape, worn draped over the shoulders or around the neck with the ends drawn together on the breast.
Origin of fichu
1795-1805; < French: noun use of fichu, past participle of ficher to drive in, fix (informally, to throw, fling; hence, something put on hastily, loosely attached) < Vulgar Latin *fīgicāre, for Latin fīgere; cf. finca Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fichu
Historical Examples
  • She had a ribbon of the MacGregor tartan on her cap, and an uncompromising cairngorm fastened her fichu of valuable point lace.

    The Golden Silence C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • Pamela's contained a rather short-waisted frock of lilac silk, with a fichu of chiffon tied softly round the shoulders.

    The Quiver 12/1899 Anonymous
  • She took the fichu from her shoulders and laid it reverently over the dead man's face: she folded the hands across the breast.

    Lord Tony's Wife Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • It only wants the sleeves shortened and some lace put in, and the neck turned down to make it lower, and then a fichu put round.

  • Stella Mayne shrugged her shoulders, and played with the soft lace of her fichu.

    Mount Royal, Volume 1 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • She paused to shake out the lustrous silk and spread the fichu over it that I might see the delicate pattern of the lace.

    The Land of Long Ago Eliza Calvert Hall
  • The wrap which previously she had loosened she let fall on a chair beside her and put the fichu on the table.

    The Monster Edgar Saltus
  • To begin with, finding it warm, Stella threw off the fichu, greatly to the gain of her personal appearance.

    Stella Fregelius H. Rider Haggard
  • The fichu was one her mother had thrown away long ago, and Esther had rescued.

    The Carroll Girls Mabel Quiller-Couch
  • Adjusting his eyeglasses, they slipped from his nose and fell on the lace of her fichu.

    The Second Latchkey Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson
British Dictionary definitions for fichu


a woman's shawl or scarf of some light material, worn esp in the 18th century
Word Origin
C19: from French: small shawl, from ficher to fix with a pin, from Latin fīgere to fasten, fix
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fichu

1803, from French fichu (18c. in this sense), apparently a noun use of the adj. fichu "carelessly thrown on," from Latin figere "to fasten" (see fix). "[M]od. substitution for a coarser word" [Weekley].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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