hus·​tings ˈhə-stiŋz How to pronounce hustings (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: a local court formerly held in various English municipalities and still held infrequently in London
: a local court in some cities in Virginia
: a raised platform used until 1872 for the nomination of candidates for the British Parliament and for election speeches
: an election platform : stump
: the proceedings or locale of an election campaign

Did you know?

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 To avoid the need for a lengthy election campaign that could have left the country without an effective government for weeks, party leaders decided that lawmakers would have greater say in the choice and without weeks of hustings around the country. Danica Kirka, ajc, 21 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hustings.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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


Dictionary Entries Near hustings

Cite this Entry

“Hustings.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural noun
hus·​tings ˈhəs-tiŋz How to pronounce hustings (audio)
: a place where political campaign speeches are made

Old English hūsting "local court or assembly," from early Norse hūsthing "an assembly of the king's council," literally, "house assembly," from hūs "house" and thing "assembly"

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