Synonyms & Antonyms of musty

1 having an unpleasant smell
  • musty old gym socks

Synonyms for musty

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Antonyms for musty

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Frequently Asked Questions About musty

How is the word musty distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of musty are fetid, fusty, malodorous, noisome, putrid, rank, and stinking. While all these words mean "bad-smelling," 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

When is it sensible to use malodorous instead of musty?

The synonyms malodorous and musty are sometimes interchangeable, but malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive.

malodorous fertilizers

When would noisome be a good substitute for musty?

While in some cases nearly identical to musty, noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive.

a stagnant, noisome sewer

In what contexts can putrid take the place of musty?

The words putrid and musty are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter.

the putrid smell of rotting fish

When can rank be used instead of musty?

Although the words rank and musty have much in common, rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell.

rank cigar smoke

How do stinking and fetid relate to one another, in the sense of musty?

Both stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting.

prisoners were held in stinking cells

the fetid odor of skunk cabbage

Learn More About musty

Time Traveler for musty

Time Traveler

The first known use of musty was in 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Musty.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on musty

Nglish: Translation of musty for Spanish Speakers


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