a light application: a dusting of powder.
a beating; defeat: He gave his opponent a good dusting.

Nearby words

  1. dustcloth,
  2. duster,
  3. duster coat,
  4. dustheap,
  5. dustin,
  6. dusting powder,
  7. dusting-powder,
  8. dustman,
  9. dustoff,
  10. dustoor

Origin of dusting

First recorded in 1615–25; dust + -ing1




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.
  1. ashes, refuse, etc.
  2. junk1(def 1).
a low or humble condition.
anything worthless.
disturbance; turmoil.
the mortal body of a human being.
a single particle or grain.
Archaic. money; cash.

verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

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.

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

Examples from the Web for dusting

British Dictionary definitions for dusting



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
  1. the mortal body of man
  2. 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
  1. to fail completely or cease to exist
  2. 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
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 dusting
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dusting


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.