Etymology
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rust (n.)

"red oxide of iron, red coating which forms on the surface of iron exposed to the air," Old English rust "rust," in late Old English also figurative, "anything tending to spiritual corrosion, a moral canker," related to rudu "redness," from Proto-Germanic *rusta- (source also of Frisian rust, Old High German and German rost, Middle Dutch ro(e)st), from PIE *reudh-s-to- (source also of Lithuanian rustas "brownish," rūdėti "to rust;" Latin robigo, Old Church Slavonic ruzda "rust"), from suffixed form of root *reudh- "red, ruddy."

As a morbid condition of plants caused by fungal growth, from mid-14c. U.S. colloquial rust-bucket for "old car or boat" is by 1945. Rust Belt "decayed urban industrial areas of mid-central U.S." (1984) was popularized in, if not coined by, Walter Mondale's presidential campaign.

rust (v.)

early 13c., rusten, of metals, "become rusty, gather rust," from rust (n.). The transitive sense of "cause to rust" is from 1590s. The figurative sense in reference to anything deteriorating or spoiling from disuse or idleness is by early 14c. Related: Rusted; rusting.

updated on October 25, 2021

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Definitions of rust from WordNet
1
rust (n.)
a red or brown oxide coating on iron or steel caused by the action of oxygen and moisture;
rust (n.)
a plant disease that produces a reddish-brown discoloration of leaves and stems; caused by various rust fungi;
rust (n.)
the formation of reddish-brown ferric oxides on iron by low-temperature oxidation in the presence of water;
Synonyms: rusting
rust (n.)
any of various fungi causing rust disease in plants;
Synonyms: rust fungus
2
rust (v.)
become destroyed by water, air, or a corrosive such as an acid;
The pipes rusted
Synonyms: corrode
rust (v.)
cause to deteriorate due to the action of water, air, or an acid;
The steady dripping of water rusted the metal stopper in the sink
Synonyms: corrode / eat
rust (v.)
become coated with oxide;
3
rust (adj.)
of the brown color of rust;
Synonyms: rusty / rust-brown
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.