See also: Dusty

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English dusty, dusti, from Old English dūstiġ, dystiġ, dȳstiġ (dusty), equivalent to dust +‎ -y. Cognate with Dutch donzig (cottony, downy, woolly), German dunstig (hazy, misty).

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

dusty (comparative dustier, superlative dustiest)

A dusty road in Kenya (1)
  1. Covered with dust.
    a dusty carpet
  2. Powdery and resembling dust.
  3. Grey or greyish.
    a dusty peach color
  4. (figurative) Old; outdated; stuffily traditional.
    • 2018, Mark A. Kunkel, Allegories for Psychotherapy, Teaching, and Supervision, page 208:
      The very smart practitioners of my acquaintance do not rest their right hand on old dusty knowledge, but bend and move along a ground of being in which they are perpetually on the lookout for what is trusty and true, new and old.
  5. (African-American Vernacular, slang) Ugly, disgusting (a general term of abuse).
  6. (British, slang, chiefly in negative constructions) Ugly, unwell, inadequate, bad.
    • 1868, Edmund Yates, The Rock Ahead: A Novel[1], page 21:
      ...the toilet-glass on the table...had probably reflected few such faces as that of the lady calling herself Mrs. Lloyd, who looked attentively into it when she found herself alone and decided that she was not so very dusty, considering
    • 1967, “Jewish Affairs”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), volume 22, page 30:
      One morning, I said to a patient: "How are you today, Mrs. White?" And she replied "Not so dusty - quite well brushed."
    • 2011, Media Lawson-Butler, Thistle in the Wind[2], page 205:
      "Never mind," she ventured, "but thanks for the compliment. You're not so dusty yourself!"

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

dusty (plural dusties)

  1. A medium-brown color.
    • 1973, Vogue - Volume 162, page 210:
      The orange shades ranged from brilliant to soft; pinks from delicate little-girl hues to strong dusties; yellows were soft buttermilks to ochre; reds ran from scarlets to bloods;
    • 2016, Judith Baker Montano, Judith Baker Montano's Essential Stitch Guide, page 156:
      I chose small floral prints for the garden area and broke them into lights, mediums, dark mediums, and darks, in other words, pastels, dusties, dark dusties, and jewel tones (refer to the Montano Color chart, page 35).
  2. An old bottle of spirits that has been kept for a long time.
    • 2018, Carlo DeVito, Big Whiskey, page 165:
      A lighter, less expensive version—The White Label—was taken off the market in 2016. But dusties can still be found.
  3. (informal) A miller (from the image of millers being covered in flour dust).
    • 1895, “Operatives Should Proceed to Organize”, in American Miller, volume 23, page 448:
      I do not like to see too much strife between dusties on the short and long system question, as it is liable to cause hard feelings.
    • 1898 February, “The Great Western Rotary Bolter”, in The Roller Mill, volume 16, page 437:
      It is designed to do scalping and grading in a way to satiffy the most fastidious of dusties.
    • 1904, The Northwestern Miller, page 491:
      I've been a dusty in sixteen mills [] I'd like to hear from other dusties on this subject of a long and a short system milling and how they clean up well. Yours for the fraternity, A Bro. Miller, -Heimer.
    • 1910 July, “Machinery Exhibits at F.O.M.A. Convention”, in The Operative Miller, volume 15, page 505:
      We believe these exhibitions have been the means of very largely increasing the attendance because the miller now knows if he goes to the convention, he will not only be able to get the experiences of his brother dusties but will see the latest improvements in milling machinery.
    • 1917, The American Miller and Processor, page 394:
      We give this hint as an inducement to the wives and as a warning to the dusties. On Wednesday afternoon of this memorable week all the visitors will go on the excursion to Lake Minnetonka where they will have one of the great pleasure ...
  4. (military, slang) A supply petty officer.
    • 1982, Ray Sturtivant, Fleet Air Arm at War, page 14:
      The mess was so overcrowded that hammock-slinging space became the perks of the badgemen the “jack-dusties” invariably slept in their store-rooms and offices.
    • 1992, J. W. MacKintosh, The Hunts and the Hunted, page 10:
      The 'Dusties' — supply Petty Officers were frantically pumping out the kit, gas masks, kit bags, blankets, army boots, toilet bags, socks, underclothes.
    • 2005, Dave Diss, Dizzy, page 167:
      From time to time I'd get up to the dusties' mess for this or that reason, and became known to the writers and dusties up there.
    • 2010, Graham Hurley, Deadlight:
      Take the Jack Dusties, the stores blokes, they were in our mess.
    • 2015, Alan Allport, Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945:
      As soon as I become an officer all the Dusties, Tugs, Knockers, Gingers and Macs will call me 'sir' and conceal their thoughts from me;
  5. A recording of music from another era, especially R&B; an oldie.
    • 1995 June 3, Janine McAdams, “On the Radio”, in Billboard, volume 107, number 22, page 34:
      In Los Angeles, listeners can tune in to KACE, the "dusties" station that plays music from the '50s, '60s and '70s;
    • 1999, Ed Hogan, Gospel Synergy Magazine - Volume 1, Issue 3, page 10:
      WGCI 1390 - AM was previously known for playing R & B oldies known as "dusties".
    • 2009 February 1, Herb Kent, David Smallwood, Mayor Richard M. Daley, The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent, Chicago Review Press, →ISBN, page 56:
      nice old scratchy records that had been played over and over again, I called them "dusty records," reasoning that it was the dust in the grooves from being around so long that made them crackle. Actually, to me, if a record's been played so often that it can become a dusty, that means it's good music. [] I've been following a dusties format ever since, []
    • 2012, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul:
      Leah turned on a radio station that played the dusties— rhythm and blues classics that I had enjoyed all my life.
    • 2019, Micaela Di Leonardo, Black Radio/Black Resistance, page 1:
      The Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS), for four hours Monday through Friday, played the music I identified with and wanted to hear—“the best of the hits and dusties.”
  6. An old person, especially one who is unwilling to change with the times.
    • 1973, In other words, he apparently wanted to shock people into action, action against his enemies, the "dusties" as he calls them., Agriculture-environmental and Consumer Protection Appropriations For 1974, page 786:
      United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Agriculture--Environmental and Consumer Protection Appropriations
    • 2013, Shirley Conran, The Revenge:
      Max and Fizz both felt resentful and indignant: how dare any stupid oldie obscure their happiness by dreary talk of pennies and pensions; how dare the dusties link love with security, matrimony with mortgages, pleasure with prams?
  7. A person of mixed race who has a swarthy complexion.
    • 1914, Alfred Paul Karl Eduard Schultz, Race Or Mongrel, page 157:
      There are scarcely any Indo-Europeans of pure blood in Peru, for with the exception of pure Indians in the interior, the population consists of mestizos, Zambos, mulattoes, terceroones, terceroones, quadroons, cholos, musties, fusties, and dusties; crosses between Spaniards and negroes, Spaniards and yellows; crosses between these people and the cholos, musties, and dusties; crosses between mongrels of one kind and mongrels of the other kinds.
    • 1995, Ricardo Cortez Cruz, Five Days of Bleeding: A Novel, page 68:
      Ashy niggas and dusties went everywhere, forgetting about looking dap.
  8. A migrant farmer from the dustbowl.
    • 2017, Chris Beckett, America City:
      And pretty much the same time, you started to hear about dusties down in states like California and Arizona: farmers who'd had to leave their farms because of drought, people in towns with no more water.
  9. A dustman.
    • 1984, Local Authority Management - Volume 10, Issue 2, page 36:
      One Council put that principle into practice some five years ago when it changed from a refuse collection system employing its own 'dusties' to one based upon tenders from private contractors.
    • 2003, Geoff Cochrane, Vanilla Wine, page 61:
      His neighbours persist in this behaviour: they dump their unfinished dinners (molten broccoli? the stewed remains of infidels?) in unofficial bags the dusties shun.
  10. (rare) A duststorm.
    • 1952, American Heritage:
      [] dust storms, does it? Well, nothing like what it used to have: One spring the dusties blew so thick We staked five claims above Clay Crick Fifty foot high in the fallow air. Blows lots worse on the prairie.
  11. (possibly only in the plural) A clump of dust; a dust bunny.
    • 1988, Nora Johnson, Uncharted Places, page 273:
      Sparse iron gray hair, stuck on his egg-shaped head like dusties from the vacuum bag, cold pewter eyes in little round metal-rimmed glasses, a sharp, hard nose, a mouth like a slot.
    • 2011, O. M. James, Uncomfortable Silence, page 94:
      His room was airy with a slight breeze gently blowing in from the top portion of the two-part window which was that had been left ajar for the purpose of refreshing and clearing the dusties.
    • 2012, Alison Maloney, Bright Young Things: Life in the Roaring Twenties, page 134:
      Are the 'dusties' settled in your house? Electrolux will clean them out.

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Old English dūstiġ; equivalent to dust +‎ -y.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈdustiː/, /ˈduːstiː/

Adjective edit


  1. dusty, dust-covered
  2. like dust, powdery

Related terms edit

Descendants edit

  • English: dusty
  • Scots: dusty, disty

References edit