\ 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 Before the outbreak, the only masks familiar to most people in Shiyan were made of a gauze designed to fend off the dust from auto factory work. Lavender Au, The New York Review of Books, "Stuck in Central China on Coronavirus Lockdown," 4 Feb. 2020 Last year, researchers in Japan posited that planets could form in the cold disk of gas and dust that exists at some distance around a galactic center. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could a habitable planet orbit a black hole?," 4 Feb. 2020 Because dust clouded the atmosphere and blocked the sun, photosynthesis slowed and phytoplankton in oceans stopped producing oxygen. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The asteroid that wiped out most life on Earth was a hotbed for bacteria. They were the first organisms to bounce back," 4 Feb. 2020 Tesla is leaving Wall Street naysayers — and other U.S. automakers — in the proverbial dust. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Tesla's stock price speeds toward $1,000 a share," 4 Feb. 2020 The dust is just now settling from a two-year trade dispute following a first-stage deal signed in January, though outstanding issues remain in that realm too. Liza Lin, WSJ, "U.S. Sets Second Evacuation of Americans From China," 4 Feb. 2020 An 18-wheeler barrels down the road and another truck follows, spraying water for dust control. Erin Stone, azcentral, "Concerns grow that Trump's wall will damage rivers, wildlife habitat on Arizona border," 3 Feb. 2020 The snack-food ad features a man with bright orange Cheetos dust on his hands who uses it as an excuse not to move furniture and perform office tasks. Mae Anderson, SFChronicle.com, "‘Groundhog Day,’ Bill Murray sees shadow once again in Super Bowl ad," 2 Feb. 2020 Volatility was running at 12-month lows and even a dust up between the U.S. and Iran didn't rock markets. Alex Viega, Anchorage Daily News, "Global markets roiled by coronavirus fears; Dow drops 603," 31 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meanwhile, a purse dripping in crystal fringe or dusted in glitter will act as the perfect adornment to transform any old outfit into ultimate party attire. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Need the Perfect Bag for a Holiday Party? Here Are 20 Elegant Options," 12 Dec. 2019 Korean meatballs are marinated like bulgogi, grilled, braised, dusted in rice flour and finally fried to give them a crisp texture, set against a backdrop of lightly fermented kimchi. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Century Grand isn't just Arcadia's ambitious new cocktail bar. It's a great restaurant too," 30 Oct. 2019 On Flacco’s drop-backs, the only lineman booked was fill-in right tackle Elijah Wilkinson, who was dusted by defensive end Benson Mayowa in 2.32 seconds (inside move). Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Rating the Broncos: All phases a step behind Oakland in opening-night defeat," 10 Sep. 2019 Once Brexit is done and dusted, the Tories will face a challenge: how to govern the country more generally in the name of an electorate that sent them there to achieve Brexit. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 19 Dec. 2019 And on Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor is done and dusted. CBS News, "As department stores struggle, Nordstrom makes a play in New York City," 15 Dec. 2019 The next storm will begin Saturday morning, when light snow in the Sierra is expected to dust areas as low as 1,000 feet in elevation. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "‘Atmospheric river’ could wreak havoc on Thanksgiving holiday travel plans," 27 Nov. 2019 Steiner uses a special white powder to gently dust fingerprints, making them visible to the human eye. Wired, "How Crime Scene Analysts Collect and Preserve Fingerprints," 11 Nov. 2019 In the meantime, the agency is encouraging people across the state and in certain communities to participate in voluntary programs to cut back on their small contribution to dust pollution. Andrew Nicla, azcentral, "ADEQ is treating soil along I-10 in Pinal County to reduce dust storm risk," 13 July 2019

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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dusts. Accessed 17 Feb. 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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