\ 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 dust (audio) \ adjective
dustlike \ ˈdəst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce dust (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun People handed out wet rags to the passengers who climbed the steps to the surface of the city covered in white dust. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, 11 Sep. 2021 First responders were everywhere, covered in dust, still determined to help. Shannon Luibrand, CBS News, 10 Sep. 2021 That of course included the images of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, the buildings coming down and the aftermath as many people were covered in dust. Peter Suciu, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Lower Manhattan was still quiet, everything coated in a fine layer of dust. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Black, twisted, distorted metal randomly rises from the ground covered deep in layers of dust. Eileen Murphy Donnersberger, chicagotribune.com, 10 Sep. 2021 After Nick fired warning shots, a cloud of dust obscured the truck as wheels froze and gears ground. George Stanley, jsonline.com, 30 Aug. 2021 Our elephant parade lumbered along a backcountry road, kicking up swirls of dust and stopping often for a nibble of roadside bushes. Ann Hymes, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Aug. 2021 On Friday, his Toyota Corolla sat unused in his driveway, covered in dust, and a package with Fah’s name on it sat on his small porch. oregonlive, 12 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Blue Devils, who made last year’s Division I regional semifinals, must dust themselves off to face another Southwestern Conference opponent and travel to face an experienced Olmsted Falls. Matt Goul, cleveland, 23 Aug. 2021 Using a fine mesh strainer, gently dust the top of each serving with cocoa powder. BostonGlobe.com, 6 July 2021 Williams had to pick herself up, dust herself off and try harder next time. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2020 Microfiber towels are appropriate for most cleaning tasks, but don’t use a dirty one to dust an LCD screen — scratches can ensue. Washington Post, 25 May 2021 Generously flour your work surface and dust your rolling pin and the dough with the flour. Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2021 By Friday morning, that same air was cold enough to produce some wet snow enough to dust the grass in central Wisconsin. NBC News, 28 May 2021 Put a spoonful of powdered sugar in a fine mesh strainer and lightly dust the pancakes. BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2021 Make sure to clean and dust the surface before placing it down, as that will give you the optimal performance. Chris Hachey, BGR, 29 Apr. 2021

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

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best cordless vacuums of 2021.

Learn More About dust

Time Traveler for dust

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near dust



dust bag

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dust

Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dust. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on dust

Nglish: Translation of dust for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dust for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dust


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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