E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Fronde (1 syl.).
A political squabble during the ministry of Cardinal Mazarin, in the minority of Louis XIV. (16481653). The malcontents were called Frondeurs, from a witty illustration of a councillor, who said that they were like schoolboys who sling stones about the streets. When no eye is upon them they are bold as bullies; but the moment a policeman approaches, away they scamper to the ditches for concealment (Montglat). The French for a sling is fronde, and for slingers, frondeurs.
It was already true that the French government was a despotism and as speeches and lampoons were launched by persons who tried to hide after they had shot their dart, some one compared them to children with a sling (fronde), who let fly a stone and run away.C. M. Yonge: History of France, chap. viii. p. 136.