ETYM Old Eng. furre, Old Fren. forre, fuerre, sheath, case, of German origin.
1. A garment made of fur.
2. Dense coat of fine silky hairs on an mammals e.g. cat or seal or weasel.
3. The dressed hairy coat of a mammal; SYN. pelt.
The hair of certain animals. Fur is an excellent insulating material and so has been used as clothing, although this is vociferously criticized by many groups on humane grounds. The methods of breeding or trapping animals are often cruel. Mink, chinchilla, and sable are among the most valuable, the wild furs being finer than the farmed. Fur such as mink is made up of a soft, thick, insulating layer called underfur and a top layer of longer, lustrous guard hairs.
Furs have been worn since prehistoric times and have long been associated with status and luxury (ermine traditionally worn by royalty, for example), except by certain ethnic groups like the Inuit. The fur trade had its origin in North America, exploited by the Hudson's Bay Company from the late 17th century. The chief centers of the fur trade are New York, London, St Petersburg, and Kastoria in Greece. It is illegal to import furs or skins of endangered species listed by CITES, for example the leopard. Many synthetic fibers are widely used as substitutes.