fus·​ty | \ ˈfə-stē How to pronounce fusty (audio) \
fustier; fustiest

Definition of fusty

1 British : impaired by age or dampness : moldy
2 : saturated with dust and stale odors : musty
3 : rigidly old-fashioned or reactionary

Other Words from fusty

fustily \ ˈfə-​stə-​lē How to pronounce fusty (audio) \ adverb
fustiness \ ˈfə-​stē-​nəs How to pronounce fusty (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fusty

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling. malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive. malodorous fertilizers stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting. prisoners were held in stinking cells the fetid odor of skunk cabbage noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive. a stagnant, noisome sewer putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter. the putrid smell of rotting fish rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell. rank cigar smoke fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age. a fusty attic the musty odor of a damp cellar

Did you know?

Fusty probably derives from the Middle English word foist, meaning "wine cask," which in turn traces to the Medieval Latin word fustis, meaning "tree trunk" or "wood." So how did fusty end up meaning "old-fashioned"? Originally, it described wine that had gotten stale from sitting in the cask for too long; fusty literally meant that the wine had the "taste of the cask." Eventually any stale food, especially damp or moldy food, was called "fusty." Those damp and moldy connotations were later applied to musty places, and later still to anything that had lost its freshness and interest—that is, to anything old-fashioned.

Examples of fusty in a Sentence

The trunk was full of fusty clothing. couldn't stay too long in the fusty attic without sneezing
Recent Examples on the Web Even Lord’s, the venerable cricket ground in London, has been forced at times to relax its fusty dress code, most recently in mid-July when patrons were not required to wear jackets in the unprecedented heat. New York Times, 4 Aug. 2022 Of course, the news out of Facebook and Meta and recent days has been all about the fusty, 18-year-old legacy app. Andy Meek, BGR, 31 July 2022 Gone are the clapboard shutters and fusty colonial style of the common areas, which have been upgraded to embody a lighter, 1960s vibe of patterned fabrics and polished Carrara marble. Paul Winner, Travel + Leisure, 17 Apr. 2022 For Rihanna, now in her third trimester of pregnancy, fusty notions of maternity wear were an easy target. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, 12 Apr. 2022 The museum’s Fifth Avenue mansion has long been a challenging space in which to show contemporary design and to project a future forward sensibility (the museum aimed to counter its fusty image with a renovation in 2014). New York Times, 8 Feb. 2022 The deliciously macabre displays of taxidermy are a highlight, but the museum also manages to avoid feeling too fusty by bringing in contemporary artists to produce works in conversation with its collections, from Sterling Ruby to Jeff Koons. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 25 Feb. 2022 Because a bit more quirkiness might not be all bad for this staid, tradition-laden, and wonderfully fusty old game. John Guaspari, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021 Connecticut is grappling with a fusty, outdated state government and an economy hampered by a protectionist impulse, Gov. Ned Lamont told an elite business group this week. Stephen Singer, courant.com, 23 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fusty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fusty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fusty

probably alteration of Middle English foisted, foist musty, from foist wine cask, from Anglo-French fust, fuist wood, tree trunk, cask, from Medieval Latin fustis

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The first known use of fusty was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

19 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fusty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fusty. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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