\ˈdəst \

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

b : confusion, disturbance

6 archaic : a single particle (as of earth)

7 British : refuse ready for collection



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 \-ləs \ adjective
dustlike \-ˌlīk \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As thunderstorms die and collapse, downburst winds become outflow winds that push up clouds of dust in the desert. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Arizona monsoon 2018: July 11 dust storm in Phoenix was definitely epic, maybe historic," 12 July 2018 Check out how to get rid of as much dust in your home as possible, along with how to pollen-proof your place. Korin Miller, SELF, "What’s an Asthma Exacerbation? (Because It Sounds Really Scary.)," 11 July 2018 When Madison Bumgarner bit the dust in that motorcycle spill in April last year, the Giants bit it with him. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Bumgarner’s back, bringing new life to Giants," 27 June 2018 The set was gathering dust in a Washington, D.C., junk store when Coopersmith bought it for $10. Jerry Large, The Seattle Times, "Seattle collection of rare artifacts reveals America’s past and present, and how little we know," 18 June 2018 There were no signs put up, and the smoke alarms started going off from the dust in the air. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "‘Being Believed Is Everything’: What It’s Like Living With a Controversial Diagnosis," 6 June 2018 Blue flames have also been documented at the Dallol volcano in Ethiopia, where they are created by sulfur dust in the region's soil. National Geographic, "Why Blue Flames Are Now Burning at Kilauea," 24 May 2018 Fifty years later, the latest batch of American performance cars is taking that reputation to new heights and leaving the rest of the world's automakers in their dust. Brent Romans, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Camaro, Challenger, Mustang: Muscle cars that pack a performance punch," 27 Apr. 2018 There are a lot of people that have been involved in this, but his pixie dust is spread throughout this building. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "How LAFC rose from the ashes of Chivas USA and aims to be the team of Los Angeles," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If Ronaldo is to leave, Perez will want the deal done and dusted as soon as possible. SI.com, "Florentino Perez Set for Crisis Talks With Cristiano Ronaldo's Agent Over Potential Juventus Move," 5 July 2018 The fire that started Saturday about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of gray ash. NBC News, "Wildfires erupt across Western U.S., fueled by hot, dry weather," 3 July 2018 His skeleton was found with Clovis-style artifacts—more than 100 stone and bone objects, all dusted with red ochre. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "New study adds evidence to debate over the only known Clovis burial," 18 June 2018 And everyone within 10 yards got doused or dusted in Gold Medal All-Purpose flour. Claudia Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Swedish choreographer makes a film — and a mess on the streets of San Francisco," 7 May 2018 By this time most of our clothes had picked up dust from the dirt roads around camp but De’Shaun came dusted in the kind of dull ache that stained the air around you. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 Before each showing, real estate agent Michelle Arseneau and her team are extra careful when vacuuming, dusting and decorating an aging house in an Orland Park neighborhood. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Orland Park's 'first and oldest' home is on the market," 2 July 2018 Powdered sugar, for dusting Cook's notes: A nonstick frying pan will make this a lot easier. Preliminaries: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "German Pancakes from Jenn Wirtz of Der Braumeister (recipe)," 9 May 2018 The ground is too warm for accumulations on the valley floor, but higher elevations could see a dusting on Friday morning. OregonLive.com, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Mostly cloudy to start, afternoon showers likely; high of 47," 1 Mar. 2018

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

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dust

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

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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 \

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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Comments on dust

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