\ 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Industrial sources, chief among them the refineries and other components of the vast petrochemical industry in Khuzestan Province, as well as massive dust storms, are the main contributors to air pollution. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, "Winners of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards," 21 Apr. 2021 Mars is known for its dust storms, and while the planet is pretty clear at the moment, wind across the surface is extremely common and in some cases very intense. Mike Wehner, BGR, "Here’s when you’ll finally be able to see the Mars helicopter fly," 10 Apr. 2021 When their lives are upended by the drought and relentless dust storms of the 1930s, Elsa and her children make the perilous drive to California to seek better fortunes. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Author Kristin Hannah, whose 'Firefly Lane' was made into a Netflix series, is bringing her new best-seller to the San Antonio Book Festival," 6 Apr. 2021 Spring dust storms are also influenced by desertification. Jacob Muñoz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Largest Dust Storm in More Than a Decade Blanketed China This Week," 19 Mar. 2021 Images of Mars from the past decade have shown amazing craters, dust storms and colorful mineral deposits. Washington Post, "Stunning images of Mars keep coming 15 years after HiRISE camera first orbited the Red Planet," 16 Mar. 2021 Industrial sources, chief among them the refineries and other components of the vast petrochemical industry in Khuzestan Province, as well as massive dust storms are the main contributors to air pollution. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, "25 Amazing Photo Finalists Of Sony World Photography Professional Competition 2021," 4 Mar. 2021 Currently, Mars seems like an inhospitable place for humans -- and its global dust storms haven't been too kind to previous rovers, either. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Perseverance will search for ancient life on Mars. These places are next," 3 Mar. 2021 Scientists believe caves on Mars may give shelter from deadly UV radiation and extreme weather conditions such as dust storms, calling for further research, according to NASA. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, "Exploring Mars is going to the dogs, Robodogs that is," 11 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Wild Feathers dust it up at 9 p.m. from 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Gary Graff, cleveland, "BTS’ Bang Bang Con, Thriller Fight Club (with Justin Bieber, Black Keys & more) top this week’s streaming concerts," 14 Apr. 2021 Need to dig deep, dust yourself off, rebuild, then come back and try again. Cody Goodwin, USA TODAY, "Olympic trials shocker: Jordan Burroughs fails to make US Olympic team for Tokyo, falling to Kyle Dake," 4 Apr. 2021 First, though, dust your shades, sheers and curtains by patting them with your hands. Washington Post, "Dusting is the ultimate Sisyphean task. Here’s how to do it right.," 24 Mar. 2021 Nose bridge wire:our cotton mouth Face Protections have adjustable nose bridge wire so that can dust proof going through and your glasses won’t fog up. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Only Prime members can unlock these 10 hidden Amazon deals," 17 Mar. 2021 These take the basic forms of rooms and houses, but twist them into cartoonish unreality and dust them with glitter. Washington Post, "In the galleries: Contemplations on the memory of personal spaces," 13 Nov. 2020 Hepa played so well that Smart might have to dust him off more often. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Depleted No. 4 Texas hammers Kansas State," 16 Jan. 2021 To finish the cookies, dust the tops with sifted confectioners’ sugar. Washington Post, "This twist on the classic Linzer cookie adds gentle sweetness and texture with corn flour," 2 Dec. 2020 If the dough starts to stick to your fingers, generously flour them or lightly dust the surface of the dough with the flour. Washington Post, "A one-bowl sheet-pan cookie so easy a child taught me how to make it," 3 Dec. 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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dust. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on dust

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