[ krop-duhs-ting ]
/ ˈkrɒpˌdʌs tɪŋ /
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the spraying of powdered fungicides or insecticides on crops, usually from an airplane.
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Words nearby crop-dusting

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What else does crop-dusting mean?

In slang, crop-dusting is the act of moving while passing gas, usually silently, thereby “dusting” other people or an area with the gas.

Where does crop-dusting come from?

Yes, the term crop-dusting did originate in agriculture in the 1920s, and it refers to the use of small aircrafts to spray large areas of land with powdered pesticides. The practice has been occasionally banned due to various concerns about public health, the environment, and even terrorism.

The agricultural crop-dusting is featured in an iconic scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic film North by Northwest, in which Cary Grant runs from a crop-duster plane sent to kill him.

The slang term crop-dusting likens the act of dusting crops with pesticides to “spraying” an area with one’s flatulence. The term has been recorded since at least 2000.

The term notably, um, spread to Hollywood in the 2009 romantic-comedy I Love You, Man. During a popular scene in this movie, the movie’s two leads, Peter (Paul Rudd) and Sydney (Jason Segel) observe a man as he surreptitiously crop-dusts a living room at an open house. And during a 2012 appearance on the late-night talk show Conan, comedian Kevin Nealon gave an account of how he notoriously crop-dusted Jack Nicholson.

How is crop-dusting used in real life?

The slang crop-dusting is mostly used for humor—or out of complaint. The verb form is to crop-dust (someone or something). Someone guilty of crop-dusting is a crop-duster.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use crop-dusting in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crop-dusting


the spreading of fungicide, etc on crops in the form of dust, often from an aircraft
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