furphy n. (pl. furphies) 1 a false report or rumour. 2 an absurd story. • adj. (furphier, furphiest) absurdly false, unbelievable: that’s the furphiest bit of news I ever heard.
This Ozword comes from the name of [John] Furphy, a blacksmith and general engineer, who went to Shepparton from Kyneton in 1871 and set up a foundry. John Furphy designed a galvanised iron water-cart on wheels and his firm, J. Furphy & Sons, manufactured them. Each cart had the name FURPHY written large on the body. So successful were these carts that during World War 1 the Department of the Army bought many Furphy carts to supply water to camps in Australia and especially to camps in Palestine, and Egypt.
And how did John Furphy’s name wind up meaning what it does? Go read the essay! (Which, by the way, is from Ozwords, an online periodical I should obviously keep an eye on.)