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Architectural festoon from the Panthéon in Paris
Cupid seated on a festoon made of flowers, circa 1770-1790


From French feston.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /fɛsˈtuːn/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːn


festoon (plural festoons)

  1. An ornament such as a garland or chain which hangs loosely from two tacked spots.
  2. (architecture) A bas-relief, painting, or structural motif resembling such an ornament.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess[1]:
      The half-dozen pieces [] were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids. To display them the walls had been tinted a vivid blue which had now faded, but the carpet, which had evidently been stored and recently relaid, retained its original turquoise.
  3. A raised cable with light globes attached.
  4. (astronomy) A cloud on Jupiter that hangs out of its home belt or zone into an adjacent area forming a curved finger-like image or a complete loop back to its home belt or zone.
  5. (acarology) Any of a series of wrinkles on the backs of some ticks.
  6. (technology) A specific style of electric light bulb consisting of a cylindrical enclosure with two points of contact on either end providing power to the filament or diode.
  7. (manufacturing) Two sets of rollers used to create a buffer of material on web handling equipment.
  8. Any of various papilionid butterflies of the genus Zerynthia.
  9. (dentistry) Texturing applied to a denture to simulate human tissue.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


festoon (third-person singular simple present festoons, present participle festooning, simple past and past participle festooned)

  1. To decorate with ornaments, such as garlands or chains, which hang loosely from two tacked spots.
  2. To make festoons.
  3. To decorate or bedeck abundantly.
    • 2005, Judith Martin, Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Norton, page 804:
      A mysterious woman who shows up at a funeral more droopily festooned in black than the widow is making what is known as a fashion statement.
    • 2014 September 23, “Choosing a primary school: a teacher's guide for parents”, in The Guardian:
      Some teachers festoon every spare inch of wall with vocabulary choices or maths techniques to use, which look great at first, but to some children might appear quite daunting. You'll probably see unfamiliar acronyms such as Walt (We Are Learning To). Be sure to ask what they stand for and how they are used in practice.
    • 2014 December 23, Olivia Judson, “The hemiparasite season [print version: Under the hemiparasite, International New York Times, 24–25 December 2014, p. 7]”, in The New York Times[2]:
      Most mistletoes are "hemiparasites." This means they don't rely on their hosts for all their needs: Instead, they harvest the sun's energy to make some sugars for themselves. Nonetheless, if you're a tree, you don't want to be festooned with them. Two or three shouldn't be a problem, but dozens of mistletoes can lead to water stress, insect infestation or even death.
    • 2022 November 30, Paul Bigland, “Destination Oban: a Sunday in Scotland”, in RAIL, number 971, page 77:
      Many seats carry reservation labels, while the luggage racks are festooned with backpacks and suitcases.
  4. (dentistry, transitive) To apply texturing to (a denture) to simulate human tissue.


Further reading[edit]