hus·​tings | \ ˈhə-stiŋz How to pronounce hustings (audio) \

Definition of hustings

1a : a local court formerly held in various English municipalities and still held infrequently in London
b : a local court in some cities in Virginia
2a : a raised platform used until 1872 for the nomination of candidates for the British Parliament and for election speeches
b : an election platform : stump
c : the proceedings or locale of an election campaign

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Hustings are where babies are kissed, flesh is pressed, and media events are staged. The term traces to an Old Norse word meaning "house assembly," and 1000 years ago hustings were judicial assemblies where Anglo-Saxon kings and their followers held council and resolved civil disputes. Over time, "hustings" came to refer not only to the assembly but also to the platform where the leaders of such gatherings sat, and in due course the term was applied to the entire campaigning process as well. Nowadays, "on the hustings" is synonymous with "on the stump," and it can refer to any place along the campaign trail where a candidate makes a pitch for public office.

Examples of hustings in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Foreign affairs issues rarely intrude into a Canadian election campaign, but the first few days on the hustings were dominated by biting questions about Canada's response to the United States' abrupt pullout from Afghanistan. Michael Bociurkiw, CNN, 22 Sep. 2021 But more must be done, especially out on the hustings. Karl Rove, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2021 But huddled in their cars, or recuperating at a warming center, many took to their phones, and to the virtual hustings, to shout about how government had seemingly abandoned them. Asher Price, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2021 Forced off the hustings by the threat of contagion, the mayoral candidates have been severely constrained in their ability to glad-hand parishioners at Brooklyn churches or kibitz with nursing home residents. New York Times, 28 Dec. 2020 The view of the world from the Oval office looks dramatically different from the campaign hustings. Nayan Chanda, Quartz India, 21 Dec. 2020 On his largely virtual hustings, the former vice president has repeated COVID anti-vaxxing rhetoric. Jack Fowler, National Review, 30 Oct. 2020 Without Donald Trump on the hustings, the coming weeks of campaigning in America will have less ... Arkansas Online, 3 Oct. 2020 While Trump flies Air Force One around the country for raucous airplane hangar rallies and mega-fundraisers, Pence hits the hustings in two-lane road communities. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, 10 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hustings.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hustings

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hustings

Middle English, from Old English hūsting, from Old Norse hūsthing, from hūs house + thing assembly

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The first known use of hustings was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hustings.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hustings. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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