FARTHINGALE (from the O. Fr. verdagalle, or vertugalle, a corruption of the Spanish name of the article, verdagado, from verdago, a rod or stick), a case or hoop, originally of bent rods, but afterwards made of whalebone, upon which were hung the voluminous skirts of a woman's dress. The fashion was introduced into England from Spain in the 16th century. In its most exaggerated shape, at the beginning of the 17th century, the top of the farthingale formed a flat circular surface projecting at right angles to the bodice (see Costume).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)