One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Thick, durable twilled cloth with a short nap, usually dyed in dark colors.
boasting, bragging, empty talk, idle talk, bombastView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Apparel made of fustian, canvas, leather, and wool is always deemed appropriate for those of the ‘inferior sort’.’
- ‘These fabrics became affordable when duty on fustian was lifted in 1785.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It's dangerous to assume that we have to wrap Shakespeare up in fustian costumes.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Most outer garments made of fustian were included among the garb of these people.’
- ‘But over time the demand for fustian died away and the trade ceased, as did the skill of grass-cutting.’
- ‘Some wore velvet jackets and fustian trousers.’
- ‘The woven stripe fabric is a cotton-linen mixture, possibly a fabric known as fustian.’
- ‘Also appearing in period dress and timeless fustian are Roy Scheider, Patrick Bergin, David Alan Grier, and Steven Bauer.’
2Pompous or pretentious speech or writing.‘a smoke screen of fustian and fantasy’
affected, ostentatious, chichi, showy, flashy, tinselly, conspicuous, flaunty, tasteless, kitschyView synonyms
- ‘There's no time for such sorry fustian in the world of the canny academic careerist.’
- ‘It reminds a reader that, unlike the surrounding fustian, this little piece of language is to be treated with reflective care.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Without doubt the ranting fustian of men vying for a woman makes the threat seem laughable.’
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.
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