adjective, mus·ti·er, mus·ti·est.

having an odor or flavor suggestive of mold, as old buildings, long-closed rooms, or stale food.
obsolete; outdated; antiquated: musty laws.
dull; apathetic.

Nearby words

  1. muster day,
  2. muster in,
  3. muster roll,
  4. musth,
  5. mustn't,
  6. mut,
  7. mut dash,
  8. mut.,
  9. mutability,
  10. mutable

Origin of musty

1520–30; perhaps variant of moisty (Middle English; see moist, -y1) with loss of i before s as in master

Related formsmus·ti·ly, adverbmus·ti·ness, noun



noun, plural mus·ties.

(formerly) a kind of snuff having a musty flavor.

Origin of musty

First recorded in 1700–10; noun use of musty1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for musty

British Dictionary definitions for musty


adjective -tier or -tiest

smelling or tasting old, stale, or mouldy
old-fashioned, dull, or hackneyedmusty ideas
Derived Formsmustily, adverbmustiness, noun

Word Origin for musty

C16: perhaps a variant of obsolete moisty, influenced by must ³

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 musty



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper