Farouche Hair Day

Farouche: Sullen, shy and repellant in manner

1765    H. Walpole Lett. to H. Mann (1857) IV. 412   The King has great sweetness in his countenance instead of that farouche look which they give.

1814    Byron Let. 12 Mar. (1975) IV. 80   It is too farouche; but my satires are not very playful.

1855    E. C. Gaskell North & South II. xxiv. 324   She has been very farouche with me for a long time.

1880    ‘Ouida’ Moths I. 298   She is a little farouche.

 I’m indebted to author Joanna Bourne for this treat, which she uses in “The Spymaster’s Lady” (Berkeley Sensation, 2008). Our heroine, Annique, is in the hands of the British spymaster, Robert Grey, traveling across northern France with half the French secret police after them. The French want Grey on general principles, but Annique they believe to have betrayed the Republic.

She must escape, she must keep body and soul together, and she must physically and professionally hurt Grey, whom she holds in increasing regard, to do both. And top off all that, she wakes up to find that her hair is being farouche, which OED considers an English word of French origin.

Even in Napoleonic France, a girl could have a bad hair day, but in the hands of a gifted author, the word used to describe her bad hair day is precisely, exactly, exquisitely right for that story.

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3 comments on “Farouche Hair Day

  1. One of my instant keeper books, before they even escaped. Also loved that there were a couple words like this one that I had to look up. New ‘old’ words are delicious treats.

  2. I think Jo Bourne is best romance author out there, bar none. She’s working on Pax’s story now and she has a novella coming next year in an anthology which I have yet to track down… but I WILL.

  3. I have put this on my list of to reads because of your recommendations. I love this word corner. I just discovered it today, as a lover of words I am thrilled to learn the meaning of Farouche.