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

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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 That linguistic shift had political dimensions, too, as Cosimo championed Italian within the larger and relatively fusty framework of Latin as a Pan-European language with an ancient pedigree. Washington Post, 24 June 2021 Hand-washing is an easy way to take your must-have silk blouses and delicates from fusty to fresh in the comfort of your own home—while avoiding additional costs and chemicals used at local dry-cleaners. Taylor Ayers, Marie Claire, 14 July 2021 These days, however, a fresh breeze is billowing through golf’s fusty clubhouse. New York Times, 1 July 2021 His seven exemplars can appear initially as fusty, even reactionary, choices. Michael Saler, WSJ, 24 June 2021 Nathan is fairly ridiculous in his fusty attachment to family lore, but even characters who disagree with him don’t really want to eviscerate the guy. oregonlive, 9 June 2021 Since founding Rowing Blazers in 2017, Jack Carlson has made his name giving the traditionally fusty trappings of the country club set a hefty dose of irreverence. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 20 May 2021 Living room furniture, meanwhile, replaces fusty sleeper couches and drab dining tables with more midcentury modern-skewing pieces in natural woods and neutral textiles. Eric Rosen, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 When Prince Philip hit the world stage after World War II as then-Princess Elizabeth’s dashing suitor, he was seen as a tall, blond, athletic Viking who would breathe life into the fusty institution of the British monarchy. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2021

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

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fusty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fusty. Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for fusty



English Language Learners Definition of fusty

: full of dust and unpleasant smells : not fresh : musty
: very old-fashioned


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