I. dust 1 S3 W3 /dʌst/ BrE AmE noun
[ Language: Old English ]
1 . [uncountable] dry powder consisting of extremely small bits of dirt that is in buildings on furniture, floors etc if they are not kept clean:
All the furniture was covered in dust.
a thick layer of dust
There’s not a speck of dust in the kitchen.
gather/collect dust (=become covered with dust)
Her old trophies were collecting dust on the shelves.
Dust particles floated in the sunlight.
A sudden breeze sent motes of dust (=small bits of dust) dancing in the air.
2 . [uncountable] dry powder consisting of extremely small bits of earth or sand:
The wind was blowing dust and leaves up from the ground.
A car sped past in a cloud of dust.
3 . [uncountable] powder consisting of extremely small bits of a particular substance
coal/brick/chalk etc dust
4 . a dust British English the act of dusting something:
I need to give the sitting room a dust.
5 . let the dust settle/wait for the dust to settle to allow or wait for a confused situation to become clear
⇨ bite the dust at ↑ bite 1 (8), ⇨ ↑ dusty , ⇨ leave somebody in the dust at ↑ leave 1 (15), ⇨ not see somebody for dust at ↑ see 1 (36)
• • •
▪ be covered in dust
Everything was filthy and covered in dust.
▪ gather/collect dust (=become covered with dust)
Piles of old books lay on the floor gathering dust.
▪ a layer of dust
I brushed away the thin layer of dust which covered the picture.
▪ a speck of dust (=a tiny piece of dust)
By the time I'd finished cleaning, there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere.
▪ a particle of dust/a dust particle (=a small piece of dust)
The air is full of dust particles.
▪ motes of dust/dust motes literary (=small pieces of dust)
Glittering motes of dust hung in the sunlight.
• • •
▪ soil the top layer of the earth that plants grow in:
Roses do best in well-drained, slightly acid soil.
▪ earth the brown substance that the ground is made up of:
Thousands of tons of earth were moved to build the dam.
▪ dirt American English loose dry earth:
a pile of loose dirt in the wheelbarrow
▪ dust a dry powder made up of extremely small bits of earth or sand:
A cloud of dust billowed out behind the tractor.
▪ mud wet soil that has become soft and sticky:
The dog came back covered in mud.
II. dust 2 BrE AmE verb
1 . [intransitive and transitive] to clean the dust from a surface by moving something such as a soft cloth across it:
Rachel dusted the books and the bookshelves.
I was dusting in the bedroom when the phone rang.
2 . [transitive] ( also dust down, dust off ) to remove something such as dust or dirt from your clothes by brushing them with your hands:
He got to his feet and dusted his knees.
dust yourself (down/off)
Corbett dusted himself down and walked off.
3 . [transitive] to put a fine powder over something
dust something with something
Dust the biscuits with icing sugar.
dust something ↔ off phrasal verb
1 . to remove something such as dust or dirt from your clothes by brushing them with your hands:
They were dusting off leaves and twigs.
dust yourself off
He got to his feet and dusted himself off.
2 . to get something ready in order to use it again, after not using it for a long time:
The government is dusting off schemes for supporting creative industries.