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earth or other matter in fine, dry particles.
a cloud of finely powdered earth or other matter in the air.
any finely powdered substance, as sawdust.
the ground; the earth’s surface.
the substance to which something, as the dead human body, is ultimately reduced by disintegration or decay; earthly remains.

ashes, refuse, etc.
junk1 (def 1).

a low or humble condition.
anything worthless.
disturbance; turmoil.
gold dust.
the mortal body of a human being.
a single particle or grain.
Archaic. money; cash.
to wipe the dust from:
to dust a table.
to sprinkle with a powder or dust:
to dust rosebushes with an insecticide.
to strew or sprinkle (a powder, dust, or other fine particles):
to dust insecticide on a rosebush.
to soil with dust; make dusty.
to wipe dust from furniture, woodwork, etc.
to become dusty.
to apply dust or powder to a plant, one’s body, etc.:
to dust with an insecticide in late spring.
bite the dust,

to be killed, especially in battle; die.
to suffer defeat; be unsuccessful; fail:
Another manufacturer has bitten the dust.

dust off,

Baseball. (of a pitcher) to throw the ball purposely at or dangerously close to (the batter).
to take out or prepare for use again, as after a period of inactivity or storage:
I’m going to dust off my accounting skills and try to get a job in the finance department.
to beat up badly:
The gang of hoodlums dusted off a cop.

leave one in the dust, to overtake and surpass a competitor or one who is less ambitious, qualified, etc.:
Don’t be so meek, they’ll leave you in the dust.
lick the dust,

to be killed; die.
to humble oneself abjectly; grovel:
He will resign rather than lick the dust.

make the dust fly, to execute with vigor or speed:
We turned them loose on the work, and they made the dust fly.
shake the dust from one’s feet, to depart in anger or disdain; leave decisively or in haste, especially from an unpleasant situation:
As the country moved toward totalitarianism, many of the intelligentsia shook the dust from their feet.
throw dust in someone’s eyes, to mislead; deceive:
He threw dust in our eyes by pretending to be a jeweler and then disappeared with the diamonds.
Contemporary Examples

The Texas Drought Seen Firsthand from the Eyes of Ranchers Malcolm Jones August 8, 2012
Midwest Drought Forces South Dakota Farmers and Ranchers to Abandon Crops and Thin Herds Barbie Latza Nadeau August 4, 2012
The Daily Beast Recommends The Daily Beast August 10, 2009
Lanvin Spring/ Summer 2014: All That Glitters Liza Foreman September 25, 2013
Virtual Syria in Davos Christopher Dickey January 23, 2014

Historical Examples

Scientific American Supplement, No. 433, April 19, 1884 Various
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
The adventures of Kimble Bent James Cowan
Harriet, The Moses of Her People Sarah H. Bradford
Michael and His Lost Angel Henry Arthur Jones

dry fine powdery material, such as particles of dirt, earth or pollen
a cloud of such fine particles
the powdery particles to which something is thought to be reduced by death, decay, or disintegration

the mortal body of man
the corpse of a dead person

the earth; ground
(informal) a disturbance; fuss (esp in the phrases kick up a dust, raise a dust)
something of little or no worth
(informal) (in mining parlance) silicosis or any similar respiratory disease
short for gold dust
ashes or household refuse
bite the dust

to fail completely or cease to exist
to fall down dead

dust and ashes, something that is very disappointing
leave someone or something in the dust, to outdo someone or something comprehensively or with ease: leaving their competitors in the dust
shake the dust off one’s feet, to depart angrily or contemptuously
throw dust in the eyes of, to confuse or mislead
(transitive) to sprinkle or cover (something) with (dust or some other powdery substance): to dust a cake with sugar, to dust sugar onto a cake
to remove dust by wiping, sweeping, or brushing
(archaic) to make or become dirty with dust

To leave quickly; flee; fly: Dillinger used a Ford when dusting from a job (1850+)
To hit; swat: dusted one of the lieutenants with an old shoe for trying to talk them back to work (1612+)
(also, earlier, dust off) To kill: Watch me dust this bitch/ Don’t suppose you just want to dust Esteva and go home (1970s+)
To spray insecticide from a low-flying aircraft (1930s+)

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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