(also called bombast
) is a term for a variety of heavy woven
, mostly cotton fabrics
, chiefly prepared for menswear. It is also used to refer to pompous, inflated or pretentious writing or speech, from at least the time of Shakespeare
History and use
It embraces plain twilled cloth
known as jean, and cut fabrics similar to velvet
, known as velveteen
, corduroy etc.
The original medieval fustian was a stout but respectable cloth with a cotton weft
and a linen warp
, possibly derived from El-Fustat
, the name of a suburb of Cairo
where cloth was manufactured. The term seems to have quickly become less precise, and was applied to a coarse cloth
made of wool
, and in the reign of Edward III of England
, the name was given to a woollen
fabric. By the early 20th century, fustians were usually of cotton dyed
In a petition to Parliament during the reign of Mary I "fustian of Naples" is mentioned. In the 13th and 14th centuries priests' robes and women's dresses were made of fustian, but though dresses are still made from some kinds, the chief use is for labourers' clothes.
Fustian was worn by workers during the 19th century. As such, radical elements of the British working class
chose to wear fustian jackets
as a symbol of their class allegiance. This was especially marked during the Chartist
era. The historian Paul Pickering has called the wearing of fustian "a statement of class without words.
- The Online Etymology Dictionary
- Pickering, Paul, A., "Class Without Words: Symbolic Communication in the Chartist Movement", Past and Present, cxii, August 1986, 144-162.