Definition of musty in English:

musty

adjective

  • 1Having a stale, mouldy, or damp smell.

    ‘a dark musty library’
    • ‘The inside of the cabin was rather gloomy and had a musty, old mouldy smell about it.’
    • ‘He smelled musty and damp, like the cardboard box he presumably lived in.’
    • ‘The place smelled musty and damp, even though it was at the end of a hot, dusty canyon.’
    • ‘Hurrying into the heart of the library, the musty smell of old ink and rotting paper curled around her nostrils.’
    • ‘The next moment, the musty smell of stale tobacco and ancient dust drifted through the darkness, and he half-opened his eyes.’
    • ‘It smelt dank and musty, like a cave which the sea entered regularly.’
    • ‘The old wooden stairs gave way to concrete, and a foul musty smell filled the air.’
    • ‘The musty smell of old books filled the air as I turned the ancient pages.’
    • ‘The musty smell of paper beyond its age filled his lungs.’
    • ‘The bungalow was damp with a musty smell but Rod didn't care.’
    • ‘I had never set foot in a courtroom before; it was cold and smelled like damp, musty wood.’
    • ‘Brown vinegar also works well in smelly cupboards, especially those that have a musty or mouldy odour.’
    • ‘The basement smelled musty, like rusted tools and damp cellar water.’
    • ‘The corridors were very dimly lit, and there was an ancient smell of musty decay.’
    • ‘He reached the bottom and choked on the dank musty smell that greeted him.’
    • ‘The ceilings had water stains and gave off a musty moldy smell.’
    • ‘The damp musty smell in the air suggested we were still in the base, though it seemed impossible for most of it was destroyed.’
    • ‘The first sign of corkiness is a musty smell reminiscent of wet cardboard.’
    • ‘The inside of the cabin was dark, dank, and smelled musty.’
    • ‘In my mind I see the shelves of books and smell the musty fragrance of paper.’
    mouldy, stale, fusty, damp, dank, mildewed, mildewy, decayed, smelly, stuffy, airless, unventilated
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    1. 1.1 Having a stale taste.
      ‘the beer tasted sour, thin, and musty’
      • ‘The air tasted musty and stale so I hooked the corner of the canvas cover up so the air could flow through.’
      • ‘He wiped the sleep from his eyes and swallowed, trying to clear the musty taste from his mouth.’
      • ‘Furthermore, discerning customers would notice the taste, which is known to be uniquely earthy, musty and almost syrupy.’
      • ‘The scent and taste of mace is often described as peppery or musty with an almost mentholated note.’
    2. 1.2 Lacking freshness or vitality; old-fashioned.
      ‘the musty formalities of the occasion’
      • ‘The argument did not gain stature from its antiquity; that only made it musty and tired.’
      unoriginal, uninspired, unimaginative, hackneyed, derivative, stale, flat, tired, banal, trite, clichéd, dry as dust, old-fashioned, antiquated, antediluvian, out of date, outdated, hoary, moth-eaten, worn out, threadbare, out of fashion, behind the times, obsolete
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 16th century: perhaps an alteration of moisty ‘moist’, influenced by must.

Pronunciation

musty

/ˈmʌsti/