dusty miller

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A dusty miller (Jacobaea maritima) plant. Longwood, Pennsylvania, U.S.


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dusty miller (plural dusty millers)

  1. (idiomatic) A formulaic phrase for a miller, related to the dust generated in the milling process.
    • 1829, Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs, page 539:
      Hey, the dusty miller, / And his dusty coat! / He will win a shilling, / Ere he spend a groat. / Dusty was the coat, / Dusty was the colour; / Dusty was the kiss, / That I gat frae the miller.
    • 2005: Baitinger, A, CAB abstract of "Miller - a job with promotion and opportunities for the future!", Mühle + Mischfutter, (Vol. 142) (No. 8) 233-272
      The stereotypical image of the "dusty miller", as depicted in popular legend and some traditional literature, is a barrier, and milling is seen by younger people as low-status. There is an urgent need to change this perception through measures such as changing the designation to something like "grain and feed processing technician" and improving training provision and prospects."
  2. Any of several species of plants with leaves of a dusty appearance: Centaurea cineraria, Jacobaea maritima, Artemisia stelleriana, and Lychnis coronaria.


  • For more on the "dusty miller" occupational stereotype, see the following document fragment:[1] from Gerald Porter (1992) The English Occupational Song PhD dissertation, University of Umeå