fus·​ty | \ˈfə-stē \
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

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Other Words from fusty

fustily \ˈfə-​stə-​lē \ adverb
fustiness \ˈfə-​stē-​nəs \ 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

Design historian Maureen Footer chronicles how the Enlightenment, Belle Époque, and Empire periods inspired both spaces, effecting a scheme that, with the incorporation of modern elements, felt iconic and inspired rather than tired and fusty. Marley Marius, Vogue, "8 of the Most Swoon-Worthy Interior Design Books Arriving This Fall," 22 Aug. 2018 Kudos to the establishment for discarding that fusty notion about reds being acceptable only with certain foods, whites with others. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Pairings Bistro in Bel Air delivers imaginative food and wine," 21 May 2018 When the Super 8 motel chain underwent a major face lift a couple of years ago, its corporate leaders had some fun with the brand’s old, fusty image. James Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Goodbye fusty old landscapes: These hotels are more like museums where you can sleep," 2 May 2018 The smell of fusty paper, damp cover binding, obliterated the stink of fast food and electricity. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Luna author Ian McDonald’s heartbreaking new time-travel romance," 31 Mar. 2018 Harrison always feels like an interloper in Bachelor Nation, a fusty remnant of days when the show was more presentational. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelor Should Send Chris Harrison Home," 7 Mar. 2018 The French designer, renowned for his signature body-sculpting dresses, turned what could have been fusty sofa upholstery fabrics into sophisticated full-length capes and jackets. Sylvia Hui, The Seattle Times, "London fashion: 70s vibe at Mouret, glamour from Temperley," 18 Feb. 2018 Unicode is 26 years old, a relatively fusty old organization as far as Silicon Valley goes, and as time has passed, the group’s membership has diversified. Cleo Levin, Slate Magazine, "Save the Stiletto Emoji," 24 Oct. 2017 At 30, Kurz took control of the People’s Party, the fusty center-right party that had long lagged in the polls. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "Win or lose in Austrian vote, the far right triumphs as rivals back policies once deemed fringe," 13 Oct. 2017

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.

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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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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of fusty

: full of dust and unpleasant smells : not fresh

: very old-fashioned

More from Merriam-Webster on fusty

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a nest or breeding place

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