a. A coarse sturdy cloth made of cotton and linen or flax.
b. Any of several thick twilled cotton fabrics, such as corduroy, having a short nap.
2. Pretentious speech or writing; pompous language.
1. Made of or as if of fustian: "[He] disliked the heavy, fustian ... and brocaded decor of Soviet officialdom" (Frederick Forsyth).
2. Pompous, bombastic, and ranting: "Yossarian was unmoved by the fustian charade of the burial ceremony" (Joseph Heller).
[Middle English fusten, fustian, from Old French fustaigne, from Medieval Latin fūstāneum, fūstiāneum (translation of Greek xulinos, made of cotton, from xulon, wood, cotton (cotton being so called because it comes from a woody shrub, unlike linen)) : Medieval Latin fūstis, wooden stick, tree trunk (from Latin, club; see FUSTY) + Latin -āneum, neuter of -āneus, adj. suffix. Noun, sense 2, and adjective, sense 2, probably from the fact that the nappy fustian of the 1500s was considered a cheap imitation of velvet, or perhaps from the use of fustian to cover cushions and pillows (that is, "padding") .]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.