Last modified on 6 June 2014, at 04:21



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From Middle French fourniture (a supply, or the act of furnishing), from fournir (to furnish).



furniture (usually uncountable, plural furnitures)

  1. (now usually uncountable) Large movable item(s), usually in a room, which enhance(s) the room's characteristics, functionally or decoratively.
    The woman does not even have one stick of furniture moved in yet.
    How much furniture did they leave behind?
    A chair is furniture. Sofas are also furniture.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter 1, Nobody:
      Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with (by way of local colour) on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust […].
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, Death on the Centre Court:
      She mixed furniture with the same fatal profligacy as she mixed drinks, and this outrageous contact between things which were intended by Nature to be kept poles apart gave her an inexpressible thrill.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, The China Governess[1]:
      The huge square box, parquet-floored and high-ceilinged, had been arranged to display a suite of bedroom furniture designed and made in the halcyon days of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, […].
  2. The harness, trappings etc. of a horse, hawk, or other animal.
    • 1603, John Florio, trans. Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.42:
      We commend a horse because he is strong and nimble, [] and not for his furniture: a greyhound for his swiftnesse, not for his collar: a hawke for her wing, not for her cranes or bells.
    • 1934, George Cameron Stone, A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor, ISBN 0486407268.
      Amongst the rich this part of a hawk's furniture is ornamented with embroidery, handsome silver aigrettes, tassels and other decorations.
    • 2002, Ronald Pawly, Wellington's Dutch Allies 1815, page 19, ISBN 1841763934.
      Horse furniture included a white sheepskin with red ‘wolf's teeth’; blue shabraque with yellow edging and royal cypher; blue valise with yellow edging.
  3. Fittings, such as handles, of a door, coffin, or other wooden item.
    • 1994, Philip Haythornthwaite, British Cavalryman 1792-1815, page 30, ISBN 1855323648.
      [] a new universal pistol, one to be carried by each man, with a 9-inch barrel of musket-bore and an iron ramrod carried in the holster; the furniture was reduced to just a brass trigger guard (no butt-plate), and some were fitted with Nock's lock.

Usage notesEdit

  • Before the end of the nineteenth century, the plural furnitures existed in Standard English in both the U.S. and the U.K.; during the twentieth century, however, it ceased to be used by native speakers.
  • A single item of furniture, such as a chair or a table, is often called a piece of furniture.



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