- earth or other matter in fine, dry particles.
- a cloud of finely powdered earth or other matter in the air.
- any finely powdered substance, as sawdust.
- the ground; the earth's surface.
- the substance to which something, as the dead human body, is ultimately reduced by disintegration or decay; earthly remains.
- ashes, refuse, etc.
- junk1(def 1).
- a low or humble condition.
- anything worthless.
- disturbance; turmoil.
- gold dust.
- the mortal body of a human being.
- a single particle or grain.
- Archaic. money; cash.
- to wipe the dust from: to dust a table.
- to sprinkle with a powder or dust: to dust rosebushes with an insecticide.
- to strew or sprinkle (a powder, dust, or other fine particles): to dust insecticide on a rosebush.
- to soil with dust; make dusty.
- to wipe dust from furniture, woodwork, etc.
- to become dusty.
- to apply dust or powder to a plant, one's body, etc.: to dust with an insecticide in late spring.
- bite the dust,
- to be killed, especially in battle; die.
- to suffer defeat; be unsuccessful; fail: Another manufacturer has bitten the dust.
- dust off,
- Baseball.(of a pitcher) to throw the ball purposely at or dangerously close to (the batter).
- to take out or prepare for use again, as after a period of inactivity or storage: I'm going to dust off my accounting skills and try to get a job in the finance department.
- to beat up badly: The gang of hoodlums dusted off a cop.
- leave one in the dust, to overtake and surpass a competitor or one who is less ambitious, qualified, etc.: Don't be so meek, they'll leave you in the dust.
- lick the dust,
- to be killed; die.
- to humble oneself abjectly; grovel: He will resign rather than lick the dust.
- make the dust fly, to execute with vigor or speed: We turned them loose on the work, and they made the dust fly.
- shake the dust from one's feet, to depart in anger or disdain; leave decisively or in haste, especially from an unpleasant situation: As the country moved toward totalitarianism, many of the intelligentsia shook the dust from their feet.
- throw dust in someone's eyes, to mislead; deceive: He threw dust in our eyes by pretending to be a jeweler and then disappeared with the diamonds.
Origin of dust
- dry fine powdery material, such as particles of dirt, earth or pollen
- a cloud of such fine particles
- the powdery particles to which something is thought to be reduced by death, decay, or disintegration
- the mortal body of man
- the corpse of a dead person
- the earth; ground
- informal a disturbance; fuss (esp in the phrases kick up a dust, raise a dust)
- something of little or no worth
- informal (in mining parlance) silicosis or any similar respiratory disease
- short for gold dust
- ashes or household refuse
- bite the dust
- to fail completely or cease to exist
- to fall down dead
- dust and ashes something that is very disappointing
- leave someone or something in the dust to outdo someone or something comprehensively or with easeleaving their competitors in the dust
- shake the dust off one's feet to depart angrily or contemptuously
- throw dust in the eyes of to confuse or mislead
- (tr) to sprinkle or cover (something) with (dust or some other powdery substance)to dust a cake with sugar; to dust sugar onto a cake
- to remove dust by wiping, sweeping, or brushing
- archaic to make or become dirty with dust
Word Origin and History for bite the dust
Old English dust, from Proto-Germanic *dunstaz (cf. Old High German tunst "storm, breath," German Dunst "mist, vapor," Danish dyst "milldust," Dutch duist), from PIE *dheu- (1) "dust, smoke, vapor" (cf. Sanskrit dhu- "shake," Latin fumus "smoke"). Meaning "that to which living matter decays" was in Old English, hence, figuratively, "mortal life."
bite the dust
Literally, to fall face down in the dirt; to suffer a defeat: “Once again, the champion wins, and another contender bites the dust.”
Idioms and Phrases with bite the dust
bite the dust
Suffer defeat or death, as in The 1990 election saw both of our senators bite the dust. Although this expression was popularized by American Western films of the 1930s, in which either cowboys or Indians were thrown from their horses to the dusty ground, it originated much earlier. Tobias Smollett had it in Gil Blas (1750): “We made two of them bite the dust.”
In addition to the idiom beginning with dust
- dust off
- bite the dust
- dry as dust
- in the dust
- make the dust fly
- shake the dust from one's feet
- throw dust in someone's eyes
- watch my dust
- when the dust has settled