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vair

[vair] /vɛər/
noun
1.
a fur much used for lining and trimming garments in the 13th and 14th centuries, generally assumed to have been that of a variety of squirrel with a gray back and white belly.
Compare miniver (def 1).
2.
Heraldry. a fur represented by a pattern of escutcheon- or bell-shaped figures, each outlining the adjacent sides of those beside it so that the figures alternate vertically and horizontally both in position and in tinctures, of which argent and azure are common.
Origin of vair
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin varium something particolored; see various
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vair
Historical Examples
  • They were clad in scarlet garments lined with pearl grey and vair.

    Over Strand and Field Gustave Flaubert
  • Bartsch interprets the name as vair fils, 'parti-coloured son.'

    Parzival (vol. 1 of 2) Wolfram von Eschenback
  • "Babies oughtn't to be took to the vair," said the young woman in the white frock.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena
  • Potent is like vair, but the skins are differently shaped, like thick T's.

  • Besides the metals and the colours a few furs are used in heraldry; the two most usual of these are Ermine and vair.

  • His son reverted to the plain shield of vair, or, and gules.

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
  • The former is equivalent to vair ancient, the latter to vair en point.

    A Complete Guide to Heraldry Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
  • Whether the slipper were of verre or of vair is a matter of no moment.

    Popular Tales Charles Perrault
  • Unless the colour of the fur is named, vair is always argent and azure.

  • As Littr says in the article on vair in his Dictionary, a soulier de verre is absurd.

    Ulster Folklore Elizabeth Andrews
British Dictionary definitions for vair

vair

/vɛə/
noun
1.
a fur, probably Russian squirrel, used to trim robes in the Middle Ages
2.
one of the two principal furs used on heraldic shields, conventionally represented by white and blue skins in alternate lines Compare ermine (sense 3)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: of more than one colour, from Latin varius variegated, various
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 vair
n.

"squirrel fur," c.1300, from Old French vair, from Latin varium, masculine accusative singular of varius "parti-colored" (see vary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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7
8
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