\ ˈmə-stē How to pronounce musty (audio) \
mustier; mustiest

Definition of musty

1a : impaired by damp or mildew : moldy old musty books musty hay
b : tasting of mold musty wine
c : smelling of damp and decay : fusty The cellar was musty.
2a : trite, stale musty prose
b(1) : antiquated musty customs
(2) : superannuated musty slang

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Other Words from musty

mustily \ ˈmə-​stə-​lē How to pronounce mustily (audio) \ adverb
mustiness \ ˈmə-​stē-​nəs How to pronounce mustiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for musty

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

Examples of musty in a Sentence

a dark and musty basement the musty prose of writers who use the same expressions over and over
Recent Examples on the Web The musty aroma didn’t supplant the fetor of failure and futility that hung in the air and along the corridors, like inert gases or the ghosts of the League of Nations. Alejandro Varela, Harper's magazine, "Carlitos in Charge," 16 Sep. 2019 But after his father’s death, Conner found papers saved from that time in a musty-smelling trunk in a basement. Lisa Schencker,, "During World War II, Chicago doctors and nurses set up hospitals overseas. Now Northwestern is telling their story.," 19 Aug. 2019 Please refrain from donating encyclopedias, textbooks and any books that have a musty smell or may have been tarnished from mildew., "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 11 Sep. 2019 The blooms may also give off a pungent or musty smell, and even when the algae has dissipated, toxins can still remain in the water. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Blue-Green Algae in Lakes Is Killing Dogs—Here’s What You Should Know," 19 Aug. 2019 Rather than appearing totally overwhelming and musty, the archive feels fresh and exploratory with each new iteration. Lori Waxman,, "Live art in Chicago today — Art Institute, MCA Chicago and Cultural Center raising their game," 16 June 2019 Stories about Willie’s fights with the L.A. Harbor Commission to keep his raceway open filled the musty pages. Daniel Miller,, "Man and myth: Uncovering the legend of Big Willie Robinson," 9 July 2019 Ephron’s dank and musty storage units offer perfect settings for the piecing together of the puzzle, one made of human pieces in various sinister shapes and sizes. Jamie Lee Curtis, Time, "Jamie Lee Curtis Reviews a Summer Thriller About the Dangers of Decluttering," 25 July 2019 Think dank, musty weed surrounded by essential oils of pithy grapefruit, burning pine and sage. Jay R. Brooks, The Mercury News, "Northern California beer news: Tony Hawk’s new brew and more," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'musty.' 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 musty

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for musty

must entry 4

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Statistics for musty

Last Updated

28 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for musty

The first known use of musty was in 1530

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More Definitions for musty


How to pronounce musty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of musty

: having a bad smell because of wetness, old age, or lack of fresh air


\ ˈmə-stē How to pronounce musty (audio) \
mustier; mustiest

Kids Definition of musty

: smelling of dampness, decay, or lack of fresh air a musty basement

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More from Merriam-Webster on musty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for musty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with musty

Spanish Central: Translation of musty

Nglish: Translation of musty for Spanish Speakers

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