late 14c. (implied mid-13c. in surname Furbisher), from Old French forbiss-, present participle stem of forbir "to polish, burnish; mend, repair" (12c., Modern French fourbir), from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *furbjan "cause to have a (good) appearance" (compare Old High German furban "to polish"), from PIE *prep- "to appear," which is perhaps identical with *kwrep- "body, appearance" (see corporeal). Related: Furbished; furbishing. The Old English cognate of the Germanic verbs, feormian (with unetymological -m-) meant "clean, rub bright, polish."
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