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From Middle English, equivalent to crust +‎ -y.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɹʌsti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌsti


crusty (comparative crustier, superlative crustiest)

  1. Having a crust, especially a thick one.
    • 1899, Kate Chopin, The Awakening
      No one was there. But there was a cloth spread upon the table that stood against the wall, and a cover was laid for one, with a crusty brown loaf and a bottle of wine beside the plate
  2. (informal, figuratively, of a person or behavior) Short-tempered and gruff but, sometimes, with a harmless or benign inner nature.
    Synonyms: gruff, peevish, surly, harsh
    • 1895, Marie Corelli, The Sorrows of Satan, OCLC 1085228267, page 12:
      However kindly a friend may otherwise be, he soon turns crusty if asked to lend money.
    • 1922, Henry William Fischer, Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field
      Then somebody told a story about the Swedish Majesty's last sojourn in Norway. There, at a railway station, Oscar ran against a crusty old farmer who thought himself a lot better than a mere king and kept his hat on.
    • 2009, Earl Brechlin, Adventure Guide to Maine, 2009, p. 65
      Visitors to Maine often expect to find such colorful characters at every turn. In fact, Governor Angus King once said that if he could just strategically position a suitable crusty yet benign "Mainah" on the porch of every general store or end of every lobster wharf, giving people asking for directions the standard reply of "You can't get theyah from heyah," tourism revenue would triple.
  3. (informal) Of very low quality. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
    Synonym: inferior

Derived terms[edit]



crusty (plural crusties)

  1. (chiefly Britain, informal) A tramp or homeless young person with poor cleanliness.
  2. (slang) Dried eye mucus.
    Synonyms: (UK dialectal) gound, sleep, (informal) sleepy dust
    • 1999, Vinnie Hansen, Murder, Honey, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 155:
      Against the backdrop of muted stripes of color, Julieanne picked at her eyes’ crusties, and then combed her hair with the hand.
    • 2003, Mary O'Connell, "Saint Anne", in Living with Saints, Grove Press, →ISBN, page 209:
      Jesus, how could I bear the sight of him—sleep crusties lodged in the corners of his rheumy eyes, a puff of chest hair cresting like meringue over the top of his V-neck sweater, khakis jacked up to his breastbone—when I was used to looking at the singularly lovely Isabella?
    • 2005, Jeffrey Dinsmore, I, an Actress: The Autobiography of Karen Jamey, Contemporary Press, →ISBN, page 51:
      I wiped the crusties from my eyes, threw on a sundress, and wandered out into the living room.
  3. (chiefly UK and Ireland, informal) A member of an urban subculture with roots in punk and grebo, characterized by antiestablishment attitudes and an unkempt appearance.
    • 1998, Simon Reynolds, Energy Flash, Soft Skull Press (2012) (→ISBN), page 135:
      The Spirals are part of the crossover between the rave scene and the ‘crusty’ subculture—crusties being squat-dwelling anarcho-hippy-punk types named after their matted dreadlocks and post-apocalyptic garb.
    • 2019 October 10, “The Guardian view on the Extinction Rebellion protests: of course they’re an inconvenience”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The predictable complaints began as soon as Extinction Rebellion launched its fortnight of protest in London, part of an international campaign of civil disobedience in as many as 60 cities worldwide. Politicians have moaned that the police are being too passive, and Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, labelled the protesters – who include a former Metropolitan police detective – “uncooperative crusties”.

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