Fa'rthingale. n.s. [This word has much exercised the etymology of Skinner, who at last seems to determine that it is derived from vertu garde: if he had considered what vert signifies in Dutch, he might have found out the true sense.] A hoop; circles of whalebone used to spread the petticoat to a wide circumference.
With silken coats, and caps, and golden rings
With ruffs, and cuffs, and farthingales, and things. Shakesp.
What compass will you wear your farthingale? Shakesp.
Arthur wore in hall
Round table, like a farthingal. Hudibras, p. i. cant. 1.
Some will have it that it portends the downfal of the French king; and observe, that the farthingale appeared in England a little before the ruin of the Spanish monarchy. Addison.
She seems a medley of all ages,
With a huge farthingale to swell her fustian stuff,
A new commode, a topknot, and a ruff. Swift.