The word Faustian is perfect for describing a circumstance in which a person compromises her beliefs or morals in order to achieve some kind of success.

Faustian is inspired by the literary character Faust, who was based on an actual German Renaissance-era astrologer, magician, and alchemist. In the mythology around the character of Faust, he is described as having sold his soul to the devil for "unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures." Both Christopher Marlowe and Goethe used Faustian characters in their plays, and to this day people talk about making a "Faustian bargain," sacrificing personal integrity for something desirable.

Definitions of Faustian
  1. adjective
    pertaining to or resembling or befitting Faust or Faustus especially in insatiably striving for worldly knowledge and power even at the price of spiritual values
    “a Faustian pact with the Devil”
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week