dust

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

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 *dustą (dust) and Proto-Germanic *dunstą (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.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

dust (countable and uncountable, plural dusts)

  1. (uncountable) 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.
  2. (countable) The act of cleaning by dusting.
    • 2010, Joan Busfield, Michael Paddon, Thinking About Children: Sociology and Fertility in Post-War England (page 150)
      [] once they start school, I mean you can do a room out one day, the next day it only needs a dust, doesn't it?
  3. (obsolete) A single particle of earth or other material.
    • Shakespeare
      to touch a dust of England's ground
  4. The earth, as the resting place of the dead.
    • Bible, Job vii. 21
      I shall sleep in the dust.
  5. The earthy remains of bodies once alive; the remains of the human body.
    • Tennyson
      And you may carve a shrine about my dust.
  6. (figuratively) Something worthless.
    • Shakespeare
      And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust.
  7. (figuratively) A low or mean condition.
    • Bible, 1 Sam. ii. 8
      [God] raiseth up the poor out of the dust.
  8. (slang, dated) cash; money (in reference to gold dust).
  9. (mathematics) A totally disconnected set of points with a fractal structure.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

dust (third-person singular simple present dusts, present participle dusting, simple past and past participle dusted)

  1. (transitive) To remove dust from.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 12, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      There were many wooden chairs for the bulk of his visitors, and two wicker armchairs with red cloth cushions for superior people. From the packing-cases had emerged some Indian clubs, […], and all these articles […] made a scattered and untidy decoration that Mrs. Clough assiduously dusted and greatly cherished.
    The cleaning lady needs a stool to dust the cupboard.
  2. (intransitive) To remove dust; to clean by removing dust.
    Dusting always makes me cough.
  3. (intransitive) Of a bird, to cover itself in sand or dry, dusty earth.
  4. (transitive) To spray or cover something with fine powder or liquid.
    The mother dusted her baby's bum with talcum powder.
  5. (chiefly US slang) To leave; to rush off.
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p. 75:
      He added in a casual tone: ‘The girl can dust. I'd like to talk to you a little, soldier.’
  6. To reduce to a fine powder; to levigate.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sprat to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Norwegian[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Back-formation of dustet, from Old Norse dust (dust particle)

Noun[edit]

dust m

  1. (pejorative) dork, moron, tool
Inflection[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Synonyms[edit]
References[edit]
  • “dust” in The Bokmål Dictionary / The Nynorsk Dictionary.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Norse dust.

Noun[edit]

dust

  1. dust (fine, dry particles)
Inflection[edit]
References[edit]
  • “dust” in The Bokmål Dictionary / The Nynorsk Dictionary.

Old English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *dunstiz (dust, vapor), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰew- (vapor, smoke). Akin to Hindi धुआं (dhu'āṁ, smoke), Middle Dutch dost, donst, duust (Dutch dons, duist), Old High German tunst, dunst (German Dunst), Low German dust, Icelandic dust, Norwegian dust, Danish dyst.

Noun[edit]

dūst n

  1. dust; powder; mill dust

Declension[edit]

Descendants[edit]


Old Norse[edit]

Noun[edit]

dust n

  1. dust particle

Scottish Gaelic[edit]

Noun[edit]

dust m (genitive dust, no plural)

  1. dust

Usage notes[edit]

  • Also used figuratively for corpse.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]