a stout fabric of cotton and flax.
a fabric of stout twilled cotton or of cotton and low-quality wool, with a short nap or pile.
inflated or turgid language in writing or speaking: Fustian can't disguise the author's meager plot.


made of fustian: a fustian coat; fustian bed linen.
pompous or bombastic, as language: fustian melodrama.
worthless; cheap: fustian knaves and dupes.

Origin of fustian

1150–1200; Middle English < Old French fustaigne < Medieval Latin fūstāneum, perhaps a derivative of Latin fūstis stick, cudgel (Late Latin: trunk; cf. fusty), if a translation of Latin xylinus, Greek (Septuagint) xýlina lína cotton, literally, linen from wood; Fostat, a suburb of Cairo, has also been proposed as the source of fūstāneum

Synonyms for fustian

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fustian

Contemporary Examples of fustian

Historical Examples of fustian

  • "Fustian jacket or not, he had a good head on his shoulders," remarked one.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • Think of that, you in fustian jackets who grumble after meat.

    White Lies

    Charles Reade

  • But there also seems to be association with Naples; cf. fustian-anapes for Naples fustian.

  • It was dark in the shop, and the smell of fustian absorbed the air.

    Moor Fires

    E. H. (Emily Hilda) Young

  • For I heartily despised all that fustian trumpery of the age.

    Richard Carvel, Complete

    Winston Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for fustian



  1. a hard-wearing fabric of cotton mixed with flax or wool with a slight nap
  2. (as modifier)a fustian jacket
pompous or pretentious talk or writing


cheap; worthless
pompous; bombastic

Word Origin for fustian

C12: from Old French fustaigne, from Medieval Latin fustāneum, from Latin fustis cudgel
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

Word Origin and History for fustian

"thick cotton cloth," c.1200, from Old French fustaigne, from Medieval Latin fustaneum, probably from Latin fustis "staff, stick of wood," probably a loan-translation of Greek xylina lina "linens of wood" (i.e. "cotton"), but the Medieval Latin word also is sometimes said to be from Fostat, town near Cairo where this cloth was manufactured. [Klein finds this derivation untenable.] Figurative sense of "pompous, inflated language" recorded by 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper