All etymologists agree that the word fanfare was borrowed from French a little bit before the turn of the seventeenth century, but then things get fuzzy, with two plausible explanations. Some claim that the word is imitative in origin, and that the story stops there, but others claim that the term traces to Arabic farfar, which meant "chatterer". This would have been borrowed by way of the Spanish or Italians and also explains the origin behind French fanfaron, meaning "boaster". Before that, the term is also echoic, so there's onomatopoeia involved either way. Usage of the word fanfare over time peaked in 2003 and, per Google Trends, search interest has been decreasing over the last fifteen years. Of course, there is no connection to either the terms fan or fare.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University, where I founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. I also have disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.