[ duhst ]
/ dʌst /


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Nearby words

  1. dusky,
  2. dusky grouse,
  3. dusky seaside sparrow,
  4. dusky shark,
  5. dussek,
  6. dust ball,
  7. dust bowl,
  8. dust bowler,
  9. dust bunny,
  10. dust cart


Origin of dust

before 900; Middle English; Old English dūst; cognate with German Dunst vapor

Related formsdust·less, adjectivere·dust, verb (used with object)un·dust·ed, adjectivewell-dust·ed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for dust off


/ (dʌst) /



See also dust down, dust-up

Derived Formsdustless, adjective

Word Origin for dust

Old English dūst; related to Danish dyst flour dust, Middle Dutch dūst dust, meal dust, Old High German tunst storm

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

Word Origin and History for dust off
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dust off

dust off


Restore to use. For example, I've dusted off last year's menu for the party. This usage alludes to cleaning and thereby renewing some object. [Mid-1900s]


Pitch a baseball dangerously close to the batter's head, as in I'm sure he dusted him off on purpose. [Slang; 1920s]


Finish off, kill; also, easily defeat. For example, They vowed to dust off the old man, or We'll dust off this team in no time. [Slang; c. 1940]


Thrash, beat up, as in If he didn't hand over his wallet, they threatened to dust him off. [Slang; 1920s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with dust

  • dust off

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.