\ 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


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

When combined with his prodigious storehouse of knowledge and his unerring buzzer timing, Holzhauer’s gambler’s cool allowed him to rack up massive totals within minutes, leaving his opponents in the dust. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why James Holzhauer’s long ‘Jeopardy!’ winning streak lost me," 6 June 2019 At the forge, blacksmiths heat and hammer iron for nails, while complex geometric calculations are done with a thirteen-knot rope and a stick in the dust. Kim Willsher, latimes.com, "A medieval castle in France could be Notre Dame's salvation," 6 June 2019 Matthew Stafford, Mitchell Trubisky and Josh Allen each took part in the chugging trend this offseason and left Rodgers in the dust. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Aaron Rodgers Calls Out Opposing QBs After Beer Chugging Jabs," 5 June 2019 Even some of James' YouTube friends have left the MUA in the dust. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Shawn Mendes, Kylie Jenner, and TONS of Other Celebrities Respond to the James Charles/Tati Westbrook Feud," 15 May 2019 As their buying power grows, brands that pollute, waste precious resources and fail to nurture and value their laborers are going to be left in the dust. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Rachael Wang On Fair Trade’s First-Ever Lookbook, Activism and Sustainability," 29 Apr. 2019 Just as government-employee pension and health obligations are crowding out spending for basic services in cities and states, federal entitlements are leaving items such as basic research and space exploration in the dust. WSJ, "The U.S. Must Outperform China in Science," 26 Apr. 2019 When the wind is against you, the grass is tall, and the leaves are damp, a blower like this will leave cordless in the dust. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "We Test the Very Best Leaf Blowers You Can Buy," 5 Nov. 2018 Unfortunately, the price of concentrated solar hasn't budged much, and photovoltaics have left it in the dust. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Baby Doe had played among the pines and oaks of New England; she was dusted with traces of privet hedges and cedar-of-Lebanon, which are not native but are often planted in the suburbs. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Forensic pollen scientists are helping the US track opioids," 6 June 2019 That’s dusting the moth balls off Andrew Bogut and trusting him in key minutes to preserve the lead late in the third and early in the fourth quarter and being rewarded with three key layups. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Is coach Steve Kerr one of NBA's greatest? He will be if Warriors win this title," 4 June 2019 The Kona won't dust a Model 3, but its 201-hp motor enables a sprightly 7.6-second 0-60 time. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Five EVs We're Fired Up for in 2019," 10 Jan. 2019 After applying a glow-inducing cream or powder along the tops of your cheekbones, add a dusting to the tops of your shoulders and collarbone. Sarah Ferguson, Marie Claire, "3 Spots You're Forgetting About When Getting Ready," 11 Dec. 2018 The lesson of this project: small workpieces are best sanded into the kitchen sink, which leaves a saw-dusting on nearby counters but not a whole lot on the floor. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Joy and Agony of Woodworking in a Tiny Apartment," 10 Mar. 2017 Stop the spread of mold Items that have been sitting near the mold colony often are dusted with spores and growth. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Remove Mold From Wood Furniture and Particle Board," 9 Apr. 2019 Shawn says as a makeup artist dusts his eyelids with bright white glitter. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Shawn Mendes Gets a Glittery Makeover Backstage With Taylor Swift," 4 Aug. 2018 Rogers, a six-time NCAA champion for the Ducks, ran away with the women's 400, dusting a field that included two-time world indoor champion Francine Niyonsaba. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Devon Allen and Raevyn Rogers put on a show at the Oregon Twilight track meet," 4 May 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

15 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dust

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on dust

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behavior toward others

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