\ ˈdəst How to pronounce dust (audio) \

Definition of dust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fine particles of matter (as of earth)
2 : the particles into which something disintegrates
3a : something worthless
b : a state of humiliation
4a : the earth especially as a place of burial
b : the surface of the ground
5a : a cloud of dust
6 archaic : a single particle (as of earth)
7 British : refuse ready for collection


dusted; dusting; dusts

Definition of dust (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : to make dusty
2 : to make free of dust dust the living room
3a : to sprinkle with fine particles a cake dusted with sugar
b : to sprinkle in the form of dust
4 : to throw a fastball close to (a batter) : brush back often used with off
5 : to defeat badly (as in a race)

intransitive verb

1 of a bird : to work dust into the feathers
2 : to remove dust
3 : to give off dust

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dust


dustless \ ˈdəst-​ləs How to pronounce dustless (audio) \ adjective
dustlike \ ˈdəst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce dustlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of dust in a Sentence


The floor was covered with dust. You can see the dust particles floating through the air. There is not a speck of dust in that house. As the car sped down the dirt road, it left a cloud of dust behind. He wiped the chalk dust off his hands.


I dust at least once a week. Dust the pan with flour. The crops will be dusted with pesticide.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Boyajin herself published a research paper last year in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggesting space dust. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "This mysterious star could be consuming a stolen exomoon," 17 Sep. 2019 Now their synthesizers evoked something less stern than the machinery of the seventies—something more like waterfalls, fountains, shooting stars, sock hops, wizard dust. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "Ric Ocasek’s Eternal Cool," 16 Sep. 2019 Calderon was dust, and Ehlinger put the throw on the money. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "In WR Jake Smith, Texas has yet another offensive weapon," 15 Sep. 2019 After a 3-11 season in 1961, Filchock and Griffing were gone and the vertical-striped socks — burned in a 1962 promotional bonfire — were nothing but ashes and dust. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Denver Broncos home openers turn 60: Different time, same love affair," 15 Sep. 2019 The lead dust came from the cathedral’s incinerated roof and spire, which contained about 460 tons of the dangerous metal. BostonGlobe.com, "Alarming lead levels seen after fire at Notre Dame - The Boston Globe," 15 Sep. 2019 Just before serving, dust with a little matcha powder if desired, sprinkle a few black sesame seeds over each of the panna cotta, then top with a few raspberries. CBS News, "The Dish: Chef Amanda Haas shares her signature recipes," 14 Sep. 2019 Butter-soft pork rillettes sprinkled with cabbage dust? Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Dallas, Texas, Is the 2019 Restaurant City of the Year," 12 Sep. 2019 Others made a point of spotlighting the suffering of firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after being exposed to the smoke and dust at ground zero. Jennifer Peltz, Twin Cities, "18 years later, America vows to ‘never forget’ 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Parts of neighboring Utah and Wyoming saw their first snowfall on Tuesday morning, as a potent upper area of low pressure drew in enough cold air and moisture to dust the highest elevations. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s first snow of the season for highest peaks expected Wednesday night," 10 Sep. 2019 Dry-rub-dusted watermelon packs a sweet, salty, spicy punch on the side. BostonGlobe.com, "Visiting Asheville? It’s like Brooklyn. But cooler.," 13 Sep. 2019 Some dusted vibrant hues onto their eyelids, while others swiped it onto their lips. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "13 Makeup Looks From NYFW That Give Us Euphoria Feels," 13 Sep. 2019 The single-engine crop-dusting plane landed at about 2:40 p.m. in a cornfield off Tall Timber Road in the Berlin, Md., area after the pilot reported engine trouble, police said. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Plane burns after emergency landing in field near Ocean City," 8 Sep. 2019 After all these years, Espinoza’s English is fluent but dusted with an accent. AZCentral.com, "After El Paso, Latinos across America voice a new kind of fear," 16 Aug. 2019 After all these years, Espinoza’s English is fluent but dusted with an accent. USA TODAY, "'It's real. It's violent': After El Paso, Latinos across America live in fear," 16 Aug. 2019 Serving up trendy poke bowls, sushi burritos and the highly Instagrammable Hot Cheeto-Rito (tempura shrimp wrapped in sushi fixings and dusted with Hot Cheetos), this bright red trailer is fun on wheels. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "6 of our favorite Twin Cities food trucks offer a variety of moveable feasts," 18 July 2019 Thank you @markishkreli @yumi_mori for picking a girl up and dusting her off. Grace Gavilanes, PEOPLE.com, "'You're a F---ing Moron' and More of the Most Badass Celebrity Clapbacks," 21 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of dust


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


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dust


Middle English, from Old English dūst; akin to Old High German tunst storm, and probably to Latin fumus smoke — more at fume

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dust

Statistics for dust

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dust

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dust



English Language Learners Definition of dust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: fine dry powder that builds up inside buildings on surfaces that have not recently been cleaned
: fine powder made up of very small pieces of earth or sand
: fine powder made from a particular substance



English Language Learners Definition of dust (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) clean by brushing or wiping dirt and dust from the surface
: to cover (something) with a fine powder


\ ˈdəst How to pronounce dust (audio) \

Kids Definition of dust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fine dry powdery particles (as of earth) : a fine powder that often builds up on furniture
2 : a fine powder made from a particular substance or from something that has disintegrated gold dust
3 : the surface of the ground The horses pawed at the dust.


dusted; dusting

Kids Definition of dust (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make free of dust : brush or wipe away dust dust furniture
2 : to sprinkle with or as if with fine particles Dust the pan with flour.

Other Words from dust

duster \ ˈdə-​stər \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dust

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dust

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dust

Spanish Central: Translation of dust

Nglish: Translation of dust for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dust for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dust

Comments on dust

What made you want to look up dust? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!