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Various explanations of the origin are given:

  • That it is a contraction of the phrase "'Far be' it for me to criticize anyone, but..."
  • That it comes from the German word Farbe ("colour"). (Many fabrics dyed with modern dyes are "too colourful" to be authentic, by comparison with their historical originals.)
  • That it stems from the rating of a reenactor's portrayal as "'Far below'" the standard.
  • There exists a letter dated 1 April 1863 from an A.R. Crawford in the 76th Illinois Infantry, Co D, that uses the phrase, "fallacious accoutrements & reprehensible baggage," in description of six children posing in phony military gear during a sham reenactment that took place during the actual Civil War. Many point to this phrase as the origin of the word, citing "farb" as an acronym.


farb ‎(plural farbs)

  1. (US) A historical reenactor (especially a US civil war reenactor) whose efforts at a historically accurate portrayal are, in the opinion of the speaker, inadequate. (For example, wearing a modern wristwatch with period costume.) The opposite of farb is "hard-core" (or hardcore), someone who is, in the opinion of the speaker, an "authenticity fanatic".

Derived terms[edit]




farb f

  1. genitive plural of farba