Definition of fustian in US English:



  • 1Thick, durable twilled cloth with a short nap, usually dyed in dark colors.

    • ‘But over time the demand for fustian died away and the trade ceased, as did the skill of grass-cutting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Also appearing in period dress and timeless fustian are Roy Scheider, Patrick Bergin, David Alan Grier, and Steven Bauer.’
    • ‘And he showed them the object he had tucked into the belt that kept his robes of rough brown fustian from flapping in the breeze.’
    • ‘Trousers were still made of corduroy; or of moleskin (a cotton pile fabric with a weave based on that for satin); and jackets were still made of fustian.’
    • ‘The woven stripe fabric is a cotton-linen mixture, possibly a fabric known as fustian.’
    • ‘Some wore velvet jackets and fustian trousers.’
    • ‘Apparel made of fustian, canvas, leather, and wool is always deemed appropriate for those of the ‘inferior sort’.’
    • ‘It's dangerous to assume that we have to wrap Shakespeare up in fustian costumes.’
    • ‘These fabrics became affordable when duty on fustian was lifted in 1785.’
    • ‘Most outer garments made of fustian were included among the garb of these people.’
    • ‘As for the rest of the people, for the fustian weavers and the farmers in their small crofts, the argument about who ran the country - the King alone by God's appointment, or King in Parliament, was less important than earning a crust.’
    boasting, bragging, empty talk, idle talk, bombast
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  • 2Pompous or pretentious speech or writing.

    ‘a smoke screen of fustian and fantasy’
    • ‘There's no time for such sorry fustian in the world of the canny academic careerist.’
    • ‘Without doubt the ranting fustian of men vying for a woman makes the threat seem laughable.’
    • ‘One of the champions of self-exposure is Henry James, who often stitches together a few scraps of dialog with acres of inner fustian.’
    • ‘It reminds a reader that, unlike the surrounding fustian, this little piece of language is to be treated with reflective care.’
    • ‘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.’
    affected, ostentatious, chichi, showy, flashy, tinselly, conspicuous, flaunty, tasteless, kitschy
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Middle English: from Old French fustaigne, from medieval Latin fustaneum, from ( pannus) fustaneus ‘cloth from Fostat’, a suburb of Cairo; fustian (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.