rustier; rustiest
: affected by or as if by rust
especially : stiff with or as if with rust
: inept and slow through lack of practice or old age
: of the color rust
: dulled in color or appearance by age and use
rusty old boots
rustily adverb
rustiness noun


2 of 2

adjective (2)

rus·​ty ˈrə-stē How to pronounce rusty (audio)
rustier; rustiest
chiefly dialectal

Examples of rusty in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
His voice was rusty at first, but gradually gained strength. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Nov. 2023 Many playgrounds of the past were dangerous, with ladders climbing upward of 20 feet to rusty slides with no rails. Athena Aktipis, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2023 In 2018, more than 3,000 patients were at risk of exposure to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV after rusty equipment was used in a New Jersey surgery center. Katie Mogg, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 The latter leads Alice to impale her hand on a rusty nail from a fence. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 For watering in style: HB Design Company Indoor Watering Can SEE IT This isn’t your grandma’s rusty watering can (though that’s pretty cool, too). Helen Bradshaw, Popular Science, 9 Nov. 2023 Flipping through the volumes page by page (without gloves, which cause more damage than bare fingers, Dr. Rasmussen says), the folio detectives ran across food and wine stains, rusty silhouettes of scissors used as bookmarks, and margins scribbled with personal notes and math problems. Roy Rivenburg, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2023 In Punta Arenas, Chile, a dozen rusty Chinese squid ships were anchored a mile from port. Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 At day’s end, a rusty stripe spread across the western horizon, low in elevation, pale in color. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rusty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective (2)

alteration of restive

First Known Use

Adjective (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (2)

1694, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rusty was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near rusty

Cite this Entry

“Rusty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


rustier; rustiest
: affected by or as if by rust
: less skilled and slow through lack of practice or old age
: of the color rust

More from Merriam-Webster on rusty

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