from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Fine, dry particles of matter.
  • n. A cloud of fine, dry particles.
  • n. Particles of matter regarded as the result of disintegration: fabric that had fallen to dust over the centuries.
  • n. Earth, especially when regarded as the substance of the grave: "ashes to ashes, dust to dust” ( Book of Common Prayer).
  • n. The surface of the ground.
  • n. A debased or despised condition.
  • n. Something of no worth.
  • n. Chiefly British Rubbish readied for disposal.
  • n. Confusion; agitation; commotion: won't go back in until the dust settles.
  • transitive v. To remove dust from by wiping, brushing, or beating: dust the furniture.
  • transitive v. To sprinkle with a powdery substance: dusted the cookies with sugar; dust crops with fertilizer.
  • transitive v. To apply or strew in fine particles: dusted talcum powder on my feet.
  • transitive v. Baseball To deliver a pitch so close to (the batter) as to make the batter back away.
  • intransitive v. To clean by removing dust.
  • intransitive v. To cover itself with such particulate matter. Used of a bird.
  • dust off To restore to use: dusted off last year's winter coat.
  • idiom in the dust Far behind, as in a race or competition: a marketing strategy that left our competitors in the dust.
  • idiom make the dust fly To go about a task with great energy and speed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Fine, dry particles of matter found in the air and covering the surface of objects, typically consisting of soil lifted up by the wind, pollen, hair, etc.
  • n. The act of cleaning by dusting.
  • n. A totally disconnected set of points with a fractal structure.
  • v. To remove dust from.
  • v. To remove dust; to clean by removing dust.
  • v. Of a bird, to cover itself in sand or dry, dusty earth.
  • v. To spray or cover something with fine powder or liquid.
  • v. To leave; to rush off.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Fine, dry particles of earth or other matter, so comminuted that they may be raised and wafted by the wind; that which is crumbled to minute portions; fine powder
  • n. A single particle of earth or other matter.
  • n. The earth, as the resting place of the dead.
  • n. The earthy remains of bodies once alive; the remains of the human body.
  • n. Figuratively, a worthless thing.
  • n. Figuratively, a low or mean condition.
  • n. Gold dust.
  • transitive v. To free from dust; to brush, wipe, or sweep away dust from.
  • transitive v. To sprinkle with dust.
  • transitive v. To reduce to a fine powder; to levigate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To free from dust; brush, wipe, or sweep away dust from: as, to dust a table, floor, or room.
  • To sprinkle with dust, or with something in the form of dust: as, to dust a cake with fine sugar; to dust a surface with white or yellow.
  • To throw; hurl.
  • To strike; beat.
  • To run; leave hastily; scuttle; get out: as, to get up and dust; come, dust out of here.
  • n. Earth or other matter in fine dry particles, so attenuated that they can be raised and carried by the wind; finely comminuted or powdered matter: as, clouds of dust obscure the sky.
  • n. A collection or cloud of powdered matter in the air; an assemblage or mass of fine particles carried by the wind: as, the trampling of the animals raised a great dust; to take the dust of a carriage going in advance.
  • n. Hence Confusion, obscurity, or entanglement of contrary opinions or desires; embroilment; discord: as, to raise a dust about an affront; to kick up a dust. See phrases below.
  • n. A small quantity of any powdered substance sprinkled over something: used chiefly in cookery: as, give it a dust of ground spice.
  • n. Crude matter regarded as consisting of separate particles; elementary substance.
  • n. Hence A dead body, or one of the atoms that compose it; remains.
  • n. A low condition, as if prone on the ground.
  • n. Rubbish; ashes and other refuse.
  • n. Gold-dust; hence, money; cash. See phrases below.
  • n. Same as dust-brand.
  • n. To make confusion or disturbance; get up a dispute; create discord or angry discussion.
  • n. In botany, pollen.
  • n. Flour.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cover with a light dusting of a substance
  • n. the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up
  • n. free microscopic particles of solid material
  • v. remove the dust from
  • v. distribute loosely
  • n. fine powdery material such as dry earth or pollen that can be blown about in the air
  • v. rub the dust over a surface so as to blur the outlines of a shape


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English dūst.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dust, doust, from Old English dust, dūst ("dust, dried earth reduced to powder; other dry material reduced to powder"), from the fusion of Proto-Germanic *dustan (“dust”) and Proto-Germanic *dunstan (“mist, dust, evaporation”), both from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewes-, *dʰews-, *dʰwAn-, *dʰūw- (“to smoke, raise dust”). Cognate with Scots dust, dist ("dust"), Dutch duist ("pollen, dust") and dons ("down, fuzz"), German Dust ("dust") and Dunst ("haze"), Swedish dust ("dust"), Icelandic dust ("dust"), Latin fūmus ("smoke, steam"). Also related to Swedish dun ("down, fluff"), Icelandic dúnn ("down, fluff"). See down.



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  • Thus stirred my 90s heart

    May 15, 2018

  • Yes! And/or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

    May 14, 2018

  • Cue Gil Scott Heron's "Angel Dust"

    May 14, 2018

  • Etymonline has this useful rider about what it's doing in funeral rites:

    Old English dust, from Proto-Germanic *dunstaz (source also of Old High German tunst "storm, breath," German Dunst "mist, vapor," Danish dyst "milldust," Dutch duist), from PIE *dheu- (1) "dust, smoke, vapor" (source also of Sanskrit dhu- "shake," Latin fumus "smoke"). Meaning "that to which living matter decays" was in Old English, hence, figuratively, "mortal life."

    May 13, 2018

  • Another example of the aleph losing its sound and moving to the beginning of the Hebrew word produced the homonym @aVaQ aleph-vet-kuf which now means both "dust" and "quarrel, argument, controversy". The original sound for the quarrel-word was ViQoo'aKHt, now spelled vav-kaf-oo-het. Compare the English idiom "dust-up", where the "up" may be a transliteration of @aF = anger; nose.

    June 17, 2009

  • Norwegian for idiot :)

    March 23, 2009

  • Pro,

    Ashes to ashes

    Dust to dust

    If bull doesn't blind you

    lower-case must


    March 27, 2008

  • bilby, when you added this word to my list, did you mean just dust or Dust?

    March 27, 2008

  • November 5, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: add dust vs. remove dust.

    January 31, 2007