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90s Slang You Should Know


[muhs-tee] /ˈmʌs ti/
adjective, mustier, mustiest.
having an odor or flavor suggestive of mold, as old buildings, long-closed rooms, or stale food.
obsolete; outdated; antiquated:
musty laws.
dull; apathetic.
Origin of musty1
1520-30; perhaps variant of moisty (Middle English; see moist, -y1) with loss of i before s as in master
Related forms
mustily, adverb
mustiness, noun
1. dank, moldy, stale. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mustiness
Historical Examples
  • The bottles should be all sound, clean, and dry, and perfectly free from the least mustiness or other odour.

  • Sections of the flooring and woodwork also reeked with mustiness.

  • As it is, the mustiness and mouldiness of the tenants of the House of the Seven Gables crumble away rather too easily.

    Hawthorne Henry James, Junr.
  • The heat had been turned higher after the noon recess, the courtroom growing sickly with a mustiness of flesh, disinfectant, dust.

  • All mold and mustiness should be kept out by thorough ventilation and frequent coats of whitewash to the walls.

    Science in the Kitchen. Mrs. E. E. Kellogg
  • Give it hempseed every day and be very certain the seed is sound and free from mustiness.

  • This will allow fresh air to get in and prevent the mustiness of the contents, familiar to hotel and boarding-house sufferers.

    The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887) Mrs. F.L. Gillette
  • Everywhere the nose was assailed by a drowsy smell of mustiness and rotting, moth-eaten furniture.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • A piece of gum camphor, or a few drops of oil of lavender put on the shelves will help to keep away insects, mould and mustiness.

  • There is a mustiness about the place, which although it is unpleasant in itself, is yet agreeable in its circumstance.

    Chimney-Pot Papers Charles S. Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for mustiness


adjective -tier, -tiest
smelling or tasting old, stale, or mouldy
old-fashioned, dull, or hackneyed: musty ideas
Derived Forms
mustily, adverb
mustiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps a variant of obsolete moisty, influenced by must³
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mustiness



1520s, perhaps a variant of moisty "moist, damp" (see moist). Related: Mustiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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