fus·​ti·​gate ˈfə-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce fustigate (audio)
fustigated; fustigating

transitive verb

: cudgel
: to criticize severely
fustigation noun

Did you know?

A modern fustigation won’t leave a bump on your head, but severe criticism can be a blow to your self-esteem. When fustigate first left its mark on the English language in the mid-17th century, it did so with the meaning “to cudgel or beat with a short heavy club”—a sense that reflects the word’s Latin source, the noun fustis, meaning “club” or “staff.” (Beat, “to strike repeatedly,” is also a distant relative of fustis.) The “criticize” sense of fustigate may be more common these days, but the violent use is occasionally a hit with sportswriters who employ it metaphorically to suggest how badly a team has been drubbed by their opponent.

Word History


Late Latin fustigatus, past participle of fustigare, from Latin fustis + -igare (as in fumigare to fumigate)

First Known Use

circa 1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fustigate was circa 1661


Dictionary Entries Near fustigate

Cite this Entry

“Fustigate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fustigate. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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