\ 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 When the dust settled, 11 million acres had been, often violently and illegally, wrested from Indigenous nations and placed under the management of university endowment funds. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Academia Was Built on White Theft," 10 Sep. 2020 But some of the dust that has been deposited all over the city may still be carrying toxins. Rasha Aridi, Science | AAAS, "‘Absolutely horrendous.’ Scientists discuss Beirut’s blast and how they are coping with its aftermath," 4 Sep. 2020 The two-amp motor works to pick up the dust, grime and crumbs on your floors and surfaces, while the capture nozzle is particularly helpful for picking up larger debris. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Friday," 28 Aug. 2020 There are audible pops heard on the video and several dust clouds appeared near Westfield, indicating that officers fired pepper balls. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis police officers accused of excessive force during protest arrests identified," 7 Aug. 2020 The dust clouds will stop rolling across the Atlantic. Matt Simon, Wired, "Why Massive Saharan Dust Plumes Are Blowing Into the US," 25 June 2020 Other videos also showed dust clouds on area mountains after the quake. Fox News, "Earthquake in California triggers rock slide, sends boulders crashing down on camping area," 25 June 2020 This isn't the first time that dust clouds have made it to America. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Saharan dust clouds to spread through America, but Michigan will likely miss out," 24 June 2020 There are audible pops heard on the video and several dust clouds appeared near the woman, indicating that officers fired pepper balls. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "Protests, riots, a confederate monument: 8 things that happened in Indianapolis this week," 6 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If the butter breaks through, dust the area lightly with a little flour before brushing off all excess flour from the surface of the dough. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Kouigns amann may be the best pastry you will ever have," 11 Sep. 2020 Chad Morris had to pick himself off the mat and dust himself off in the last year. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Chad Morris wants Auburn to have ‘most explosive offense in the country’," 11 Sep. 2020 Reliever Joe Jimenez gave up a two-out solo blast to Sano, which had an exit velocity of 107.3 mph, but left-hander Gregory Soto entered to dust Eddie Rosario on an 88.5 mph slider after setting him up with two fastballs. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers squander Tarik Skubal's gem, fall on Twins' infield hit, 4-3," 6 Sep. 2020 Place them around the yard, and mice scavenge the dry fluffy stuff as nesting material, take a snooze, and dust themselves with the tick-killing chemical. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Best Clothing, Chemicals, and Sprays to Prevent Tick and Chigger Bites," 13 July 2020 Transfer the pieces out of the skillet to a large platter or bowl and dust them generously with confectioners’ sugar. Washington Post, "Make the roasted plums: Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.," 5 Aug. 2020 On that note, a slice of hot milk cake dusted with powdered sugar and finished off with some berries sure would hit the spot right about now. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Tim McGraw Calls Mama Amid Quarantine to Get Grandma's Hot Milk Cake Recipe," 10 June 2020 Drizzle the seasoned oil over the popcorn, dusting with grated cheese and salt. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Bingeing TV during coronavirus requires popcorn. Here are 5 ways to up your topping game," 16 Apr. 2020 In a weekend that felt like chaos coated with uncertainty and dusted with misinformation, somehow, Ariana Grande surfaced as the voice of reason. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "Ariana Grande Is a Much-Needed Voice of Reason on Covid-19," 16 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dust

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dust

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dust. Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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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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