Definition of fustian in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfʌstɪən/


[mass noun]
1Thick, hard-wearing twilled cloth with a short nap, usually dyed in dark colours: the coarse fustian of prison clothing [as modifier]: a fustian jacket
More example sentences
  • Some wore velvet jackets and fustian trousers.
  • In the early nineteenth century, as earlier, most British working-class women made their families' clothes, from cotton calicoes for dresses and shirts, and from fustian for trousers and jackets.
  • Apparel made of fustian, canvas, leather, and wool is always deemed appropriate for those of the ‘inferior sort’.
2Pompous or pretentious speech or writing: a smokescreen of fustian and fantasy
More example sentences
  • One of the champions of self-exposure is Henry James, who often stitches together a few scraps of dialog with acres of inner fustian.
  • If you do, you are miles away from my opinion, for I hold that Homer no more dreamed of all this allegorical fustian than Ovid in his Metamorphoses dreamed of the Gospel.
  • It reminds a reader that, unlike the surrounding fustian, this little piece of language is to be treated with reflective care.


Middle English: from Old French fustaigne, from medieval Latin fustaneum, from (pannus) fustaneus 'cloth from Fostat', a suburb of Cairo; sense 2 perhaps from the fact that fustian was sometimes used to cover pillows and cushions, implying that the language was ‘padded’; compare with bombast.

Words that rhyme with fustian


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fus|tian

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