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[buhs-kin] /ˈbʌs kɪn/
a thick-soled, laced boot or half boot.
Also called cothurnus. the high, thick-soled shoe worn by ancient Greek and Roman tragedians.
buskins, stockings decorated with gold thread worn by a bishop at a Pontifical Mass.
tragic drama; tragedy.
Compare sock1 (def 3).
the art of acting, especially tragic acting.
a woman's low-cut shoe with elastic gores at the sides of the instep, popular in the early 20th century.
Origin of buskin
1495-1505; probably alteration of Middle French bro(u)sequin, of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for buskin
Historical Examples
  • It must be admitted, he has well earned his nickname 'buskin.'

    Hellenica Xenophon
  • Who welcome with the crowing of a cock, This hero of the buskin and sock.

  • Here there were only two rooms, one for buskin, the maid-servant, and the other unfurnished.

    Susan Amy Walton
  • But buskin only muttered to herself, rubbed her elbow, and went quickly on.

    Susan Amy Walton
  • We virgins of Tyre are wont to carry a quiver and to wear a buskin of purple.

    Stories from Virgil Alfred J. Church
  • He sent The Yellow buskin and was awarded a second-class medal.

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • I know his philosophies, and just why he adores buskin and disagrees with Bernard Shaw.

    Rainy Week Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
  • Shiver my hulk, Mr. buskin, if you wore a lion's skin, I'd curry you for this.

    Wild Oats John O'Keeffe
  • Cf. Il Penseroso, 102: "the buskin'd stage;" that is, the tragic stage.

  • And when I questioned her, I found that they wore what might well be some kind of buskin.

    The Trembling of the Veil William Butler Yeats
British Dictionary definitions for buskin


(formerly) a sandal-like covering for the foot and leg, reaching the calf and usually laced
Also called cothurnus. a thick-soled laced half boot resembling this, worn esp by actors of ancient Greece
(mainly literary) the buskin, tragic drama
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Spanish borzeguí; related to Old French bouzequin, Italian borzacchino, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for buskin

"half boot," c.1500, origin unknown. The word exists in different forms in most of the continental languages, and the exact relationship of them all apparently has yet to be determined. The English word is perhaps immediately from Old French broissequin "buskin; a kind of cloth" (14c., Modern French brodequin by influence of broder "to embroider"), or from Middle Dutch brosekin "small leather boot," which is of uncertain origin. OED suggests a likely candidate in Spanish borcegui, earlier boszegui

Figurative senses in English relating to tragedy are from the word being used (since mid-16c.) to translate Greek kothurnus, the high, thick-soled boot worn in Athenian tragedy; contrasted with sock, the low shoe worn by comedians. Related: Buskined.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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