Definition of dust in English:

dust

noun

  • 1Fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air.

    ‘the car sent up clouds of dust’
    ‘they rolled and fought in the dust’
    • ‘The most popular theory is that a cloud of dust smothered the earth in a thick haze that would have blocked out the sun.’
    • ‘He also suddenly noticed that the ground fog was down to thin wisps revealing the bare dirt that erupted in tiny clouds of dust with each footfall.’
    • ‘Old tapes carry a lot of dust or other particles that can clog up your VCR.’
    • ‘Soiled with dust and ground-in dirt, taped and re-taped, the pages were beginning to fall apart.’
    • ‘It takes five to seven days for the atmospheric currents to carry dust, smoke or industrial pollutants from Asia to the US.’
    • ‘Instead he brushed a bit of dust off his dirty sleeve, as if this tiny bit of dust really mattered, compared to all the soot and blood staining his clothing.’
    • ‘Within an instant, a swirling cloud of dust from the sandy ground was kicked up.’
    • ‘However, it means no waxing or polishing is necessary; surface dust and dirt can be removed by light hosing from time to time.’
    • ‘Clouds of dust billowed from the surface, but it was comfortable enough.’
    • ‘Particulates and dust in Earth's atmosphere along the line of sight tend to absorb blue light more effectively than red light.’
    • ‘It may also by carried by dust and long grass contaminated by infected animals so if one beast develops the condition, the others should be moved out of that pasture.’
    • ‘My boots raised small clouds of dust from the ground as I followed the rutted and rocky little goat-trail up the hillside.’
    • ‘The door rattled a bit and small particles of dust floated to the ground.’
    • ‘Fine particles of dust will get everywhere - even if you section off the room, but you may be able to minimize the impact on the rest of the house.’
    • ‘Are we going to see small clouds of dust when fighting on dusty grounds?’
    • ‘A breeze ruffled her cloak and brought up little clouds of dust from the ground.’
    • ‘We forded the home river, and with bouncing wheels and an all-enveloping cloud of red dust, ground our way up the opposite bank.’
    • ‘Once his large body hit the ground a cloud of dust and dirt filled the room.’
    • ‘They have appointed a German company to carry out tests on dust in surrounding homes and flats and asked residents to keep a diary of when they spot pollution coming from the chimney.’
    • ‘There's thick dust on every surface, your kitchen's caked in layers of fat, and the bathroom just doesn't bear thinking about.’
    fine powder, fine particles
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with modifier]Any material in the form of tiny particles.
      ‘coal dust’
      • ‘The Millennium Stadium on match days is absolutely brimming with redundant miners, with coal dust in their hair and their pick-axes left at the turnstiles.’
      • ‘Coal dust sifts through her hair, invading eyes, nose, and mouth.’
      • ‘Pneumoconiosis is caused by inhaling coal dust.’
      • ‘At least 36 miners were killed and 30 injured yesterday in an underground methane and coal dust explosion in eastern Ukraine.’
      • ‘Comets are thought to be remnants from the earliest days of the solar system, containing pristine space dust and other material from this crucial period.’
      • ‘Smothered in coal dust, we looked like the Black and White Minstrels, and the removal of our lab goggles just made us look even more ridiculous.’
      • ‘St Mary Le Strand is small and filthy on the outside from centuries of pea-soupers, coal dust and modern day pollution.’
      • ‘And even after they'd cleaned up you could still see the coal dust under their skin.’
      • ‘He was working with a stone-dusting crew, a safety procedure to minimise the risks of a potentially fatal coal dust explosion underground.’
      • ‘Water sprayed on the huge exposed seam settles dust and keeps the air clean, and prevents a fire hazard with explosive coal dust.’
      • ‘The bags were found to contain coal dust and ended up sitting in the cellar for many years until the bill was settled.’
      • ‘If inhaled, cadmium dust causes dryness of the throat, choking, headache, and pneumonia-like symptoms.’
      • ‘‘Now that there's no longer coal dust lying atop of everything, you can see how beautiful this country really is,’ says Red.’
      • ‘These are badly in need of renovation - years of coal dust have darkened them.’
      • ‘Among the characters is the driver who bequeathed to his family the stubborn speck of coal dust in his eye.’
      • ‘Pressure last night mounted on the Government to end the shame of some former mineworkers crippled by coal dust being denied proper compensation.’
      • ‘He printed on shopping bags and plexiglas and placed unconventional material like diamond dust on his prints.’
      • ‘When the strike began, his father was a few days from early retirement, a victim of coal dust and the lung disease emphysema.’
      • ‘Sections 28 through 43 consolidate the rules regarding asbestos, silica and coal dust.’
      • ‘Black sputum is a sign of inhalation of particles, usually from cigarettes, but classically from coal dust in miners.’
    2. 1.2[in singular]A fine powder.
      ‘he ground it into a fine dust’
      • ‘Grind the saffron to a fine dust in a pestle and mortar.’
      • ‘Its fibers become moldy very easily, and the mold breaks the fiber into a fine dust.’
      • ‘Day and night, I hear his jaws crunching through the wood, grinding it to a fine dust.’
      • ‘The suit was speckled with a dust almost entirely consisting of dandruff.’
      • ‘In assessing whether or not a particular dust found under certain conditions is likely to prove harmful to those exposed, a number of factors needs to be considered.’
      • ‘Every window in the ship shattered into a fine dust, and all the humans felt like they were vibrating severely.’
      • ‘The planet's shrouded surface has cooled, and this allowed the winds to die down and the fine dust to begin settling.’
      • ‘The bones crumble to a fine dust that whips past us, leaving only the forgotten fires still raging in the kitchen.’
      • ‘A fine dust had settled over the grass, the remains of our home, and now with each step he took a footprint was left behind and I shivered hard.’
      • ‘Most of the album is considerably less warped, but a chilly, haunted ambience settles over the whole recording like a fine dust.’
      • ‘Silver iodide is used to make rain, by sprinkling it as a fine dust onto rainclouds, which leads to condensation.’
      • ‘The aquatint ground is usually formed by covering the plate with a fine dust of powdered resin, which is then fused to the plate by heat.’
      • ‘The samples were cut repeatedly with scissors and then ground to a fine dust with an agate mortar and pestle.’
      • ‘As if for good measure, a fine dust of freckles was sprinkled over her little nose.’
      • ‘He noticed that one of his arms was outstretched and covered in a fine dust.’
      • ‘Applied as a dust to soil, the bacteria coat the leaves of emerging seedlings and fight the fungus.’
      • ‘The tissue was ground to a fine dust, the DNA extracted.’
      • ‘All that would result would be a fine dust and that'd blow away in the first wind, taking all the goodness of the soil away with it.’
      • ‘His desk fared slightly worse: a large chunk of it was now settling gently into the thick oriental carpet in the form of a fine dust.’
      • ‘When the pick hit a chunk of rock it would send at a sonic blast that would reduce it to a fine dust.’
    3. 1.3[in singular]A cloud of dust.
      • ‘Troy couldn't see a thing, the dust clouded his vision, and his head had hit into the rock as he had landed.’
      • ‘From time to time, the flash of her camera lights up the dust in whirling clouds.’
      • ‘Infrared wavelengths, which are a little longer than visible light, merely wiggle through the dust in the cloud.’
    4. 1.4literary A dead person's remains.
      ‘scatter my dust and ashes’
      • ‘Why should we be doomed to grow old, gray, yellow and saggy before we turn to ashes and dust?’
      • ‘When the boy awakened from his coma fully he would discover that all he knew were dead and dust.’
      • ‘He was tense and coiled, and if looks could kill, she would already have been a pile of ash and dust.’
      • ‘Before him and everyone else, the army dissolved into dust and ash.’
      • ‘Their bodies are dust, their voices gone; now only documents exist to indicate their unpleasant fates.’
    5. 1.5literary The mortal human body.
      ‘the soul, that dwells within your dust’
      • ‘Abraham answered, ‘Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.’’
      • ‘Luther said of himself, ‘I am dust and ashes and full of sin.’’
      • ‘We are mortals, made of dust and need your spirit to moisten our brows.’
      • ‘Finally, the best advice of the week comes from an American comedian who asks you to remember both that you are dust and ashes and that the world was created just for you.’
      • ‘Creatures are dust and ashes that rightly should tremble before the Judgement Throne of a just, benevolent and fearful deity who metes out punishment and reward.’
      • ‘He suggests not, and translates the text, ‘Therefore I retract and change my mind, being but dust and ashes.’’
      • ‘But Genesis is a narrative, and its historical and spiritual truths are authenticated in the actions and characters of men and women of flesh and blood, dust and ashes.’
  • 2[in singular] An act of dusting.

    ‘a quick dust, to get rid of the cobwebs’
    • ‘Never the less he gave it a quick dust, fitted the terminator device and left.’
    • ‘If it does, a quick dust with a damp cloth will round up rogue particles or pollen.’
    clean, sweep, wipe, mop
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Remove the dust from the surface of (something) by wiping or brushing it.

    ‘I broke the vase I had been dusting’
    ‘pick yourself up and dust yourself off’
    [no object] ‘she washed and dusted and tidied’
    • ‘The equipment will all be cleaned and dusted the night before.’
    • ‘Watching the old Chinese at work, removing the piles, piece by piece and dusting them, I spotted what looked like a life-size torso lying under a twisted heap.’
    • ‘The film loader is not very clean and should I try cleaning and dusting it or simply buy a new one?’
    • ‘You were to dust my bookshelves and wash the windows and clean the carpets twice a week.’
    • ‘The boy finished his half, dusted his hands clean, bit his lip, and raised a hand in farewell.’
    • ‘His desk was dusted clean, revealing reflections on the varnished wooden surface.’
    • ‘I dusted the sand and dirt off of my blue jean skirt.’
    • ‘Spotting a broom at the other end of the room she dusted the shelves and washed the walls.’
    • ‘We cleaned out the dog house (which our cat also uses), dusted the inside, and cleaned and dusted the dog's bed.’
    • ‘The boots were dusted clean by many of the players that returned to the squad.’
    • ‘I cleaned two pairs of boots, swept and dusted the room and the hall and got the breakfast up.’
    • ‘Removing dead leaves and flowers as well as wiping or dusting the leaves of your plants will keep them happy and healthy and keep your indoor garden looking gorgeous.’
    • ‘Recently a homeowner in Finland was engaged in a ritual spring cleaning, which included emptying the bookshelves and dusting each volume.’
    • ‘And the hospital is kept thoroughly clean and dusted every day - and that included the tops of cupboards and places that you do not normally see.’
    • ‘He also told her about cleaning his room and dusting the pictures and other small things like that.’
    • ‘I opened the box and dusted the fine haired brush before applying the dark fingerprinting dust with gentle strokes onto the glass to make the prints visible.’
    • ‘She got up slowly, dusting the specks of dirt off her pants, and walked towards the door.’
    • ‘To mark the change there is a huge clean out, the temple is dusted and washed from top to bottom.’
    • ‘For the whole of her first day in her grandmother's old house, Emma swept cobwebs from the ceilings and dusted furniture and washed walls and floors.’
    • ‘Anyway, I dusted my hands clean of that place, and what a load feels like it's been lifted.’
    wipe, clean, buff, brush, sweep, mop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Bring something out for use again after a long period of neglect.
      ‘a number of aircraft will be dusted off and returned to flight’
      • ‘But, after about 15 years, I found myself dusting it off to perform in different plays.’
      • ‘In a region where history is never consigned to the dustbin, ancient hostilities are dusted down almost daily.’
      • ‘Old wars are re-fought, old loves are rekindled and old friendships are dusted off temporarily before being hastily returned to the box marked ‘gone and pretty much forgotten’.’
      • ‘The idea remained dormant for more than 25 years until Miller dusted it off and tried it on.’
      • ‘Not only did it suggest the Minstermen have re-established a base camp from which to rise but they are dusted down and ready to re-conquer earlier summits.’
      • ‘Trench coats, slouch hats and Tommy guns were dusted off and called into service again, at least until new cues could be established.’
      • ‘Yesterday, an old friend told me she was asking lots of people what their favorite books were, so I metaphorically dusted it off, tweaked it, and sent this.’
      • ‘But today of all days he had to bring it out and dust it off.’
      • ‘There, like elsewhere across Beirut, generators have been dusted off and overhead wires have once again become a common sight.’
      • ‘But there is also a downside to fame, the one in which family skeletons are dusted down in public.’
      • ‘No doubt this suggestion will be dusted off again as the argument hots up.’
      • ‘And by ‘somewhat’ I note it's been 29 weeks and 5 days since we last dusted it off and bestowed it on a worthy individual.’
      • ‘Most of us, I believe, have other things to do with our time and leave our part in the democratic process to the next time the ballot boxes are dusted down.’
      • ‘Under New Labour, Tory policies have been dusted down and briskly put into effect without any real opposition.’
      • ‘Yes that's right, its time to dust the cobwebs off the old wooden racket, tighten the strings on the shiny racket that has only seen a tennis ball in two weeks total out of this last four years.’
      • ‘Since the 1950s, this excuse has been dusted off whenever yet another revolutionary hero was exposed as a tyrant.’
      • ‘Nor is she an astute social observer, except in the sense that she has an unerring eye for what clichés are au courant, and what clichés can be dusted off and made new again.’
      • ‘Along with the new releases some staples have been dusted off for another viewing.’
      • ‘It pains me (and I speak from first-hand knowledge) to see these heroes of mine totally neglected, except when they are dusted off like ornaments on our shelves to put on ‘show’ whenever relatives are about to visit.’
      • ‘Yet again, the old Battle of Britain headlines will be dusted down.’
    2. 1.2Baseball
      Deliver a pitch very near a batter so they must fall to the dirt to avoid being hit by it.
  • 2Cover lightly with a powdered substance.

    ‘roll out on a surface dusted with flour’
    • ‘North of the little village of shops, rows of houses could be seen at the foot of a chain of majestic mountains that were dusted lightly with snow.’
    • ‘It was his mom, wearing a navy apron that was dusted in flour.’
    • ‘The fields look as if they have been dusted with flour for baking.’
    • ‘Mix the flour with salt and pepper, and lightly dust the John Dory fillets, shaking off the excess flour.’
    • ‘Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a 35 cm square.’
    • ‘I went into the front sitting room, and dusted everything with a thick coat of white wheat flour!’
    • ‘Turn out the mixture on to a surface lightly dusted with flour and shape into a round of about 2.5cm thick.’
    • ‘Lightly dust your countertop with flour and transfer the dough onto it.’
    • ‘A little flour can be dusted to prevent stickiness while making the roti.’
    • ‘Serve at room temperature, dusted lightly with powdered sugar.’
    • ‘Or maybe I should just dust myself with a bit of self raising flour before I go out to give the home baking look?’
    • ‘It earns its name (meunier is French for miller) because the underside of its downy leaves can look as though they have been dusted with flour.’
    • ‘Transfer to a sheet pan lightly dusted with cornmeal.’
    • ‘When he enters her new digs, he tracks paw prints in the layer of flour that dusts everything in sight.’
    • ‘Lightly dust bronzing powder on your forehead, cheeks and browbone, anywhere the sun would hit.’
    • ‘Her hand reached for her brush to dust a tiny bit more color onto her cheeks when she felt a pair of hands grab her from behind.’
    • ‘He removed his jacket in the laundry room, dusting the floor with snowflakes.’
    • ‘Transfer the dough to a flat work surface lightly dusted with confectioners' sugar.’
    • ‘There was sand covering the tires and snow dusted lightly across the top.’
    • ‘Here is a tapestry of shape and subtle colour, with dried stems, flowers, leaves and seedheads lightly dusted with frost.’
    sprinkle, scatter, powder, dredge, sift, spray, cover, spread, strew
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Sprinkle (a powdered substance) onto something.
      ‘orange powder was dusted over the upper body’
      • ‘Or, roast some root vegetables, dusted with spices and tossed in olive oil, for 30-40 minutes.’
      • ‘The croutons are toasted and dusted with sugar and spices.’
      • ‘We'll dust ourselves with clay and fossilized feces, fashion a tool driven by a concept, something to blow their little minds.’
      • ‘But this lot was made with gingerbread, which was dusted with powdered sugar and pepper.’
      • ‘The chocolate biscuit cake dusted with coconut was great as a kiddie bribe and also went smoothly with my afternoon coffee.’
      • ‘That said, I'm a bit of a picnic pedant; I have to have little twists of salt and pepper to dust on to my crisp salad or a ripe tomato or two.’
      • ‘Water was available at all times, and the bats were fed daily with mealworms dusted with multivitamin powder.’
      • ‘I imagine them in an eight by six metre space glowing ripe and juicy, dusted with a sprinkling of rain.’
      • ‘She quickly rubbed baby oil all over him and then she dusted him with talcum powder.’
      • ‘This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together.’
      • ‘If dusted with cocoa powder, as they often are, these are thought to look like freshly dug real truffles.’
      • ‘Leave the tart to cool and dust with cocoa powder.’
      • ‘Silica Gel is the same drying agent used in packing or flower drying and can be ground to a powder to dust onto insects.’
      • ‘It was spacious, it had a nice boardwalk linking the seating areas, lightly dusted with sand for effect.’
      • ‘As I tucked into my fries, each lightly dusted with salt, I could feel my entire system sighing with relief.’
      • ‘He leans forward to tie a lace, his foot resting on the wheel arch, the skin on his sculptural face so clear and refined, it's as if it has been dusted with gold.’
      • ‘Perhaps your cat would like her basket rearranged with a new throw and a little wee pillow all lightly dusted with catnip.’
      • ‘Whichever noodles you choose, don't forget to dust some diced garlic powder onto them to add more fragrance.’
      • ‘Sweetbread dusted in a spiced powder and roast whole was just so, but it was impaired by a dice of scallops.’
      • ‘Next to the salad you'll find rings of raw onion lightly dusted with the zesty, purple-red sumac, which brightens up the taste of the meat in a subtle, but noticeable way.’
  • 3US informal Beat up or kill someone.

    ‘the officers dusted him up a little bit’

Phrases

  • dust and ashes

    • Used to convey a feeling of great disappointment or disillusion about something.

      ‘the party would be dust and ashes if he couldn't come’
      • ‘I'm glad, it seems so wrong to think of them lying side by side, even though I know there's nothing left of them but dust and ashes.’
      • ‘A book may safely age, and so it matters not a jot if one waits another year to read it; try it now, 'tis dust and ashes, wait a year, it is a feast, with table settings and all.’
      • ‘Time and time again he let it run away with him and leave him with dust and ashes.’
      • ‘If he were able to remember - really remember - that voice, he would hunger only to hear it once more, and its perfection would turn all other voices, all other music, to dust and ashes in his mouth.’
  • the dust settles

    • Things quiet down.

      ‘she hoped that the dust would settle quickly and the episode be forgotten’
      • ‘I can only hope that when all is said and done, when the dust settles and time casts light back on our time in office that the people will see that we tried to give something back as well.’
      • ‘When the dust settles and the mud dries, we are going to see all over America, a nation that will lose patience with the needs of a foreign refugee population.’
      • ‘You know, every time something happens and then the dust settles and they begin to raise their head over the parapet, they're then shot down again with yet more revelations.’
      • ‘He will lead the Irish team home triumphantly today but, when the celebrations end, the cheering dies down and the dust settles, there are questions to be answered.’
      • ‘But once the dust settles and shoppers in record numbers continue to be attracted to the town the inevitable spin off will make virtually everyone a beneficiary.’
      • ‘But when the dust settles after the opening exchanges and we approach the business end of tournaments, we still expect to see the familiar faces of football's elite.’
      • ‘When the dust settles on the discussion of the merits and the disadvantages of boarding school life, one fact emerges: no matter how you tell it, it's still high school.’
      • ‘The Coastal Development Committee had asked its members to boycott last elections in protest against the leaders never giving an ear to their woes once the dust settles down after each election.’
      • ‘Settled into the cosy confines of his expensive rehabilitation centre, he has not only found one of the few places where he can be sealed off from the media until the dust settles but has created a cast-iron alibi.’
      • ‘And I suspect that when all the dust settles, we'll come up with a new version of the bill in January that the White House has put its imprimatur on from the beginning.’
  • eat someone's dust

    • informal Fall far behind someone in a competitive situation.

      • ‘‘Get ready to eat my dust Wallace,’ she warned, hopping out of the car on their arrival.’
      • ‘I ran ahead of both of them and left them eating my dust.’
      • ‘If she hadn't she would have carried on running and left me eating her dust but she didn't.’
      • ‘And his five fellow competitors were soon left eating his dust as he took first place in the Senior Class National Championships.’
      • ‘If they still don't budge, let 'em eat your dust!’
      • ‘We have had close competition on the two opening rounds, losing out to him on the first and letting him eat our dust on round two.’
      • ‘Make sure your brother eats your dust on the go-cart track!’
      • ‘These losers might treat you and your friends like dirt now, but they'll end up eating your dust.’
      • ‘The game does offer wheel-to-wheel, fender banging fun, especially when there are real people in the room to bark at when you've just left them eating your dust.’
      • ‘‘Hey,’ Vincent laughed, ‘Looks like you're eating my dust.’’
  • gather (or collect) dust

    • Remain unused.

      ‘some professors let their computers gather dust’
      • ‘With that title, it sounds like the sort of hardcore skin-flick which gathers dust and sweaty fingerprints on a shelf in Amsterdam.’
      • ‘Many families also have unused sports equipment sitting in their garage gathering dust, which we can turn into cash.’
      • ‘Often times, they even have a seemingly obsolete computer that is unused and is gathering dust somewhere.’
      • ‘The sink, mopping bucket, and various cleaning supplies lay unused in the corner of the room, collecting dust and cobwebs.’
      • ‘The result is another shirt, pair of pants or shoes that remain in the closet, collecting dust for years to come.’
      • ‘A survey last year revealed many parents put the value of unused and unwanted toys gathering dust in their cupboards at up to £500.’
      • ‘Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting dust in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.’
      • ‘It could have remained that way, disused and neglected, gathering dust and cobwebs.’
      • ‘His report gathers dust as the benefits system becomes ever more complicated.’
      • ‘She was extremely interested in ancient Egypt and the mysteries that she knew still remained hidden in undiscovered passages, collecting dust.’
  • leave someone/something in the dust

    • Surpass someone or something easily.

      ‘today's modems leave their predecessors in the dust’
      • ‘‘Other nations will eat our lunch, leave us in the dust, make the past success a blip on the screen - use whatever metaphor you like for a profound defeat - if we don't act now, fast and with focus,’ he said.’
      • ‘All cellphones must adapt to harness this technology or they will be left in the dust.’
      • ‘Indulge me for a moment: it's not every day, or even every weekend, that all of one's progeny leaves the competition in the dust - well, in its wake, literally.’
      • ‘The current news onslaught of grisly fluff is a symptom of media priorities that have left democratic possibilities in the dust.’
      • ‘If you don't constantly renew and improve your business offerings, Las Vegas will leave you in the dust.’
      • ‘So what humans need to do is to grow and to continue merging with technology, or else we will be left in the dust.’
      • ‘We're not targeting journalists - we're just leaving them in the dust.’
      • ‘After choosing your desired capacity you should take a close look at performance, since there are some sticks out there that easily leave their competition in the dust.’
      • ‘I think that somehow in the spiral that is the path that we are following, outsourcing all these jobs, the real people who live in my community and in your community and all the other communities are left in the dust.’
      • ‘So although I'm sad for her today, she is going leave us in the dust.’

Origin

Old English dūst, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch duist chaff.

Pronunciation:

dust

/dəst/