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[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obsolete; outdated; antiquated: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.


[muhs-tee] /ˈmʌs ti/
noun, plural musties.
(formerly) a kind of snuff having a musty flavor.
1700-10; noun use of musty1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for musty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Anthony Lot throwed back his head an' shot a laugh through his musty beard.

    Harbor Tales Down North Norman Duncan
  • The atmosphere of the place was cold and musty and suggestive of a charnel house.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • It is the very poorest kind of economy to feed shrunken, musty, or damaged grain of any kind.

  • I took these out, and discovered a little dress, musty and mildewed.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • You would have us go and live in that damp, musty, fusty place?

    Not Like Other Girls Rosa N. Carey
British Dictionary definitions for musty


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 musty

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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