1702, from German Furnier, from furnieren "to cover with a veneer, inlay," from French fournir "to furnish, accomplish," from Middle French fornir "to furnish," from a Germanic source (compare Old High German frumjan "to provide;" see furnish). From German to French to German to English. Figurative sense of "mere outward show of some good quality" is attested from 1868.
1728 (earlier fineer, 1708), from German furnieren (see veneer (n.)). Related: Veneered; veneering.