One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1archaic mass noun A yellow dye obtained from either of two kinds of timber, especially that of old fustic.
- ‘A comparative series of dyeing experiments made with fustic and Osage orange wood and extracts showed the latter to be of equal value with fustic in regard to depth of colors produced, the amount of extract, the character of the dyeing, and fastness to light, weather, washing, etc.’
- ‘To one pound of yarn take 1 quarter pound of fustic and a like amount of alum and good lye.’
2A tropical American tree with heartwood that yields dyes and other products.
Maclura or 'Chlorophora' tinctoria, family MoraceaeSee also young fustic
- ‘A range of possible colors can be produced by Fustic-tree (also known as old fustic) including bright yellow, yellow, green, bright yellow-green, gold and tan.’
- ‘According to Bancroft, two different woods bear in England the name of fustic, one the product of the tree just mentioned, distinguished as old fustic, probably from the greater magnitude of the billeta in which it is imported; the other derived from the Rhus cotinus L., or Venice sumach, and called young fustic, or sometimes Hungarian fustic.’
- ‘In its native habitat of Central and South America the fustic is also a timber tree.’
- ‘This kind of fustic is known as old fustic, or Cuba fustic.’
- ‘Yellow dyes are chiefly given us by weld (sometimes called wild mignonette), quercitron bark (above mentioned), and old fustic, an American dye-wood.’
Late Middle English: via French from Spanish fustoc, from Arabic fustuq, from Greek pistakē ‘pistachio tree’.
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