\ 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

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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

Noun 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. Verb I dust at least once a week. Dust the pan with flour. The crops will be dusted with pesticide.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And those who burned or jumped and those who were the first responders, some now dying of cancer from the toxic dust of Ground Zero, fade from memory. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Something to cry about: The rise of the surveillance state after 9/11," 12 Sep. 2019 Store the mower indoors, if at all possible, and under a tarp to keep off the dust. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower Before You Stow It Away," 11 Sep. 2019 The Double Decker Taco, which is basically a crunchy taco inside a bean soft taco and a personal favorite, is also biting the dust. Joey Morona, cleveland.com, "Taco Bell is getting rid of the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco and these 8 other menu items," 30 Aug. 2019 The dust itself could be as old as 20 million years. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Supernova remnants found in Antarctic could be 20 million years old," 28 Aug. 2019 Many fans expressed gratitude that the moisture kept down the dust, and many -- those who who had come to lose their minds and those who had come to find them -- were happy to just get down in the rain. Katie Bain, Billboard, "In Its 22nd Year of 'Getting Weird in the Woods,' Shambhala Music Festival Demonstrates Why It's Still Worth the Effort," 12 Aug. 2019 The dust that absorbs starlight must heat up and radiate at longer infrared wavelengths, which Wang, Elbaz, and colleagues could look for. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Galaxy hunters spot hidden giants in the early universe," 7 Aug. 2019 Before the dust had settled, Jack Thompson, a Florida attorney who had made a name for himself based on public opposition to violent games, connected the shooting to video games, especially Counter-Strike. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue," 5 Aug. 2019 And after the dust had settled, Ballard issued extensions to slot cornerback Kenny Moore, punter Rigoberto Sanchez and long snapper Luke Rhodes, establishing a core for the Colts to keep building around. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts' offseason: 7 key steps for Indianapolis as team tries to go from good to great," 20 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the central bank’s meeting on September 12th, Mr Draghi must dust himself down one last time. The Economist, "Mario Draghi and the ECB confront a slowing euro zone," 5 Sep. 2019 And finally, a pop-up shop selling everything from FP Movement clothing to Moon Juice dusts rounds out the whole mind, body, and soul experience. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "Montauk's New Secret Detox Spot is by the Surf Lodge," 21 Aug. 2019 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for dust

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for dust

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

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More Definitions for dust


How to pronounce dust (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dust

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dust

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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