Definition of buskin in English:



  • 1A calf-high or knee-high boot of cloth or leather.

    • ‘Buskins of scarlet or purple were worn by the Roman generals who triumphed.’
    • ‘Now she was vested for the anointing; buskins, sandals and girdle put on, and over all a tabard of white sarsnet, the vestment called the colobium sindonis.’
    • ‘She wears a corslet and buskins of scale-mail, which latter her robe discloses.’
    • ‘Headdresses were extravagantly plumed helmets or crowns fusing baroque and classical styles, and the masquers were shod in tightly fitting short boots, or buskins.’
    • ‘Buskins are presumed by Strutt to have resembled "the shoes of the carpenter's wife in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales," which the poet says 'were laced high upon her legs'.’
    1. 1.1 A thick-soled laced boot worn by an ancient Athenian tragic actor to gain height.
      • ‘Consequently I may have used evidence for the Greek buskin which belonged to the Roman cotzhurnus.’
      • ‘Superficially, the play follows The Tempest's plot-line and uses Philoctetes’ setting, but this isn't just Shakespeare in Greek buskins.’
      • ‘The women's gowns were ol white silk or sott-wool, trimmed with Greek borders, with clasps, buskins, and all complete.’
      • ‘The buskin was used by actors when playing tragedy, its high raised sole making the player more conspicuous’
      gumboot, wellington, wader, walking boot, riding boot, field boot, jackboot, thigh boot, half-boot, ankle boot, pixie boot, chelsea boot, balmoral, desert boot, moon boot, snow boot
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    2. 1.2the buskin The style or spirit of tragic drama.
      • ‘In France, tragedy was elevated on her loftiest buskin.’
      • ‘The two books under review do get rid of the buskin and aureole.’
      • ‘Does the buskin fit O’Neill?’


Early 16th century (designating a calf-length boot): probably from Old French bouzequin, variant of brousequin, from Middle Dutch broseken, of unknown ultimate origin.