Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to dust

bite (v.)

Old English bitan "to pierce or cut with the teeth" (class I strong verb; past tense bat, past participle biten), from Proto-Germanic *beitanan (source also of Old Saxon bitan, Old Norse and Old Frisian bita "cut, pierce, penetrate," Middle Dutch biten, Dutch bijten, German beissen, Gothic beitan "to bite"), from PIE root *bheid- "to split," with derivatives in Germanic referring to biting.

To bite the bullet is said to be 1700s military slang, from old medical custom of having the patient bite a lead bullet during an operation to divert attention from pain and reduce screaming. Figurative use from 1891; the custom itself attested from 1840s. To bite (one's) tongue "refrain from speaking" is 1590s; to bite (one's) lip to repress signs of some emotion or reaction is from early 14c. To bite off more than one can chew (c. 1880) is U.S. slang, from plug tobacco.

To bite the dust "be thrown or struck down," hence "be vanquished, die, be slain, perish in battle" is from 1750, earlier bite the ground (1670s), lick the dust (late 14c.), which OED identifies as "a Hebraism," but Latin had the same image; compare Virgil's procubuit moriens et humum semel ore momordit.

Advertisement
dust bowl (n.)
also dustbowl, "drought-plagued region of the U.S. Midwest," 1936, from dust (n.) + bowl (n.1).
dustbin (n.)

also dust-bin, "covered receptacle for disposal of dust, ashes, rubbish, etc. from a house," by 1819, from dust (n.) + bin. Dustbin of history is by 1870.

dustman (n.)

1707, "one employed in the removal of dust, rubbish, and garbage," from dust (n.) + man (n.). As the genius of sleep in popular sayings and folklore, by 1821.

dustpan (n.)

also dust-pan, "utensil for collecting and removing dust brushed from the floor," by 1785, from dust (n.) + pan (n.).

dust-storm (n.)

"windstorm which raises clouds of dust into the air in a desert," by 1838, from dust (n.) + storm (n.).

dust-up (n.)

also dustup, "fight, quarrel, disturbance," 1897, from dust + up; perhaps from dust "confusion, disturbance" (1590s), also compare kick up a dust "cause an uproar" (1753). To dust (someone's) coat was ironical for "to beat (someone) soundly" (1680s).

dusty (adj.)

early 13c., "filled, covered, or sprinkled with dust," from Old English dustig; see dust (n.) + -y (2). As "of the hue of dust; cloudy" from 1670s. Related: Dustiness.

gold-dust (n.)
1703, from gold (n.) + dust (n.).
sawdust (n.)

"small particles produced by the work of a saw on wood," 1520s, from saw (n.1) + dust (n.).