A gloved hand wiping dust from a table.
- The definition of dust is fine bits of dirt or other matter that hangs in the air and settles on surfaces.
An example of dust is the dirt that gathers on top of books sitting on a shelf.
- Dust is defined as to sprinkle powdery substances onto something, or to remove powdery substances from something.
- An example of dust is applying a light amount of powder to the face.
- An example of dust is using a cloth to remove fine dirt from the top of frames hung on a wall.
- powdery earth or other matter in bits fine enough to be easily suspended in air
- a cloud of such matter
- confusion; turmoil
- earth, esp. as the place of burial
- mortal remains disintegrated or thought of as disintegrating to earth or dust
- a humble or abject condition
- anything worthless
- Brit. ashes, rubbish, etc.
- gold dust
- Archaic a particle
Origin of dustMiddle English from OE, akin to MLowG: for Indo-European base see dun
- to sprinkle with dust or a fine powdery substance: to dust crops with an insecticide
- to sprinkle (powder, etc.) on something
- to rid of dust, as by brushing, shaking, or wiping: often with off
- Archaic to make dusty
- to remove dust, esp. from furniture, floors, etc.
- to bathe in dust: said of a bird
bite the dust
- to die, esp. in battle
- to stop existing or functioning; fail, break, etc.
leave in the dust
Origin of dustin ref. to the cloud of dust raised as by runners in a race
lick the dust
make the dust fly
- to act energetically
- to move swiftly
shake the dust off one's feet
throw dust in someone's eyes
- Fine, dry particles of matter.
- A cloud of fine, dry particles.
- Particles of matter regarded as the result of disintegration: fabric that had fallen to dust over the centuries.
- a. Earth, especially when regarded as the substance of the grave: “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” ( Book of Common Prayer )b. The surface of the ground.
- A debased or despised condition.
- Something of no worth.
- Chiefly British Rubbish readied for disposal.
- Confusion; agitation; commotion: won't go back in until the dust settles.
verbdust·ed, dust·ing, dusts
- To remove dust from by wiping, brushing, or beating: dust the furniture.
- To sprinkle with a powdery substance: dusted the cookies with sugar; dust crops with fertilizer.
- To apply or strew in fine particles: dusted talcum powder on my feet.
- Baseball To deliver a pitch so close to (the batter) as to make the batter back away.
- To clean by removing dust.
- To cover itself with dry soil or other particulate matter. Used of a bird.
Origin of dustMiddle English from Old English dūst
(countable and uncountable, plural dusts)
- (uncountable) Fine, dry particles of matter found in the air and covering the surface of objects, typically consisting of soil lifted up by the wind, pollen, hair, etc.
- (countable) The act of cleaning by dusting.
- The earth, as the resting place of the dead.
- The earthy remains of bodies once alive; the remains of the human body.
- (figuratively) Something worthless.
- (figuratively) A low or mean condition.
- (slang, dated) cash; money (in reference to gold dust).
- (mathematics) A totally disconnected set of points with a fractal structure.
(third-person singular simple present dusts, present participle dusting, simple past and past participle dusted)
- To remove dust from.
- The cleaning lady needs a stool to dust the cupboard.
- (intransitive) To remove dust; to clean by removing dust.
- Dusting always makes me cough.
- (intransitive) Of a bird, to cover itself in sand or dry, dusty earth.
- To spray or cover something with fine powder or liquid.
- The mother dusted her baby's bum with talcum powder.
- (chiefly US slang) To leave; to rush off.
- To reduce to a fine powder; to levigate.
From Middle English dust, doust, from Old English dust, dūst (“dust, dried earth reduced to powder; other dry material reduced to powder”), from the fusion of Proto-Germanic *dustą (“dust”) and Proto-Germanic *dunstą (“mist, dust, evaporation”), both from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewes-, *dʰews-, *dʰwAn-, *dʰūw- (“to smoke, raise dust”). Cognate with Scots dust, dist (“dust”), Dutch duist (“pollen, dust”) and dons (“down, fuzz”), German Dust (“dust”) and Dunst (“haze”), Swedish dust (“dust”), Icelandic dust (“dust”), Latin fūmus (“smoke, steam”). Also related to Swedish dun (“down, fluff”), Icelandic dúnn (“down, fluff”). See down.