\ 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 What to do with those old picnic or children’s bed blankets gathering dust in a closet? Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "How to Make a Blanket Cape, With Clare Waight Keller," 5 May 2020 Eva Longoria gave a video demonstration on masking gray roots, using the same L’Oréal color spray currently gathering dust in my bathroom. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Being in quarantine might finally make me embrace my gray hair. Here's why," 1 May 2020 The company also advertised plans to complete the second An-225, whose skeleton has been gathering dust for three decades in an assembly shop near Kyiv (but there is little hope that the An-225 will ever have a sibling). Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Why the An-225 Mriya Is Such a Badass Plane," 28 Apr. 2020 Bolsonaro has bounced from crisis to crisis during his administration, from his attacks on the media to his dismissal of last year's raging Amazon fires and dust-ups with foreign leaders. NBC News, "Brazil's justice minister resigns, accuses President Bolsonaro of meddling with police," 24 Apr. 2020 So the copies gathering dust in your dad’s closet could go for big money. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "The Entire History of World of Warcraft," 23 Apr. 2020 There had been concerns about dust-ups between opponents before officials were required to be on the field. Dallas News, "NCAA updates targeting punishment, replay review time limits in latest rule changes," 21 Apr. 2020 Found to be insufficiently accurate by a laboratory at Oxford University, half a million of the tests are now gathering dust in storage. BostonGlobe.com, "UK government extends virus lockdown by at least 3 weeks," 16 Apr. 2020 Locked in an oil price war, Saudi Arabia and Russia had opened their oil spigots at the same time the coronavirus pandemic caused motorists stay home and jet planes to gather dust in hangars, pushing down demand for oil. Randy Diamond, ExpressNews.com, "Texas to consider mandatory oil cuts," 14 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dusted Sanders in 2016 by 13 percentage points. cleveland, "Who is the Democratic front-runner in the Ohio primary?," 25 Feb. 2020 But good fresh bread is also fantastic for making summer sandwiches for lunch and dinner, for dipping into healthy soup recipes, or even dusted with a little garlic salt and butter as an accompaniment to healthy pasta recipes. Christopher Michel, Country Living, "How to Use Your Breadmaker to Get the Best Results," 6 Apr. 2020 This concoction is layered with almonds scented with orange blossom water and baked into a buttery phyllo shell, then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "Here's where to find our 14 favorite pies for Pi Day in metro Phoenix," 9 Mar. 2020 Whitlow's cocktail was caffeinated, with both cold brew coffee and black tea, and dusted with powdered sugar. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "A mint julep with what? Unusual ingredients shine at Festival Unveiled's julep competition," 6 Mar. 2020 The maroon cherries, glistening with juices and dusted with an extra helping of sugar, remind me of a large brooch made of rubies, something your fabulous great-aunt would wear to the annual holiday party. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Desserts that bring the party, but not the fuss," 21 Dec. 2019 Pecan Sandies This classic holiday cookie can be dressed up either with a half pecan garnish, or dusted with a generous amount of powdered sugar. oregonlive, "12 Christmas cookie recipes for last-minute holiday baking," 19 Dec. 2019 El Chingon offers two dessert options: Fried Ice Cream, vanilla ice cream with bueñelo crumbs and dulce de leche; and Churros dusted with cinnamon and sugar served with vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche. San Diego Union-Tribune, "26 places to celebrate National Dessert Day 2019 in San Diego," 7 Oct. 2019 Sweet red bean paste filled strawberry mochi packets alongside green tea ice cream dusted in macha and blooming from the center of a yellow sunflower bowl. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "These 10 restaurants that were supposed to open this spring. They'll get here, eventually.," 3 Apr. 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dust. Accessed 31 May. 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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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

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