adjective fus·ty \ ˈfə-stē \

Definition of fusty

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


play \ˈfə-stə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈfə-stē-nəs\ noun

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Examples of fusty in a Sentence

  1. The trunk was full of fusty clothing.

  2. couldn't stay too long in the fusty attic without sneezing

Recent Examples of fusty from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

FUSTY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of fusty for English Language Learners

  • : full of dust and unpleasant smells : not fresh

  • : very old-fashioned

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