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Middle English fustian, from Old French fustaine, from Medieval Latin fustaneum, probably from Latin fustis (club; (medieval use) tree trunk).


fustian (usually uncountable, plural fustians)

  1. A kind of coarse twilled cotton or cotton and linen stuff.
  2. A class of cloth including corduroy and velveteen.
  3. Pompous, inflated or pretentious writing or speech.
    • Addison
      Claudius [] has run his description into the most wretched fustian.



  • 1882, Fustian, of which I have found only one entry before 1401, occurs frequently in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It appears to have been a ribbed cloth. — James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 4, p. 568.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used in the sense of "pompous" since at least the time of Shakespeare. For this shift of meaning, compare bombast.

See also[edit]