Dust vs Dirt - What's the difference?

dust | dirt |


As nouns the difference between dust and dirt

is that dust is (uncountable) fine, dry particles of matter found in the air and covering the surface of objects, typically consisting of soil lifted up by the wind, pollen, hair, etc while dirt is soil or earth.

As verbs the difference between dust and dirt

is that dust is to remove dust from while dirt is (rare) to make foul or filthy; soil; befoul; dirty.

dust

English

Noun

  • (uncountable) Fine, dry particles of matter found in the air and covering the surface of objects, typically consisting of soil lifted up by the wind, pollen, hair, etc.
  • (countable) The act of cleaning by dusting.
  • * 2010 , Joan Busfield, Michael Paddon, Thinking About Children: Sociology and Fertility in Post-War England (page 150)
  • once they start school, I mean you can do a room out one day, the next day it only needs a dust , doesn't it?
  • (obsolete) A single particle of earth or other material.
  • * Shakespeare
  • to touch a dust of England's ground
  • The earth, as the resting place of the dead.
  • * Bible, Job vii. 21
  • I shall sleep in the dust .
  • The earthy remains of bodies once alive; the remains of the human body.
  • * Tennyson
  • And you may carve a shrine about my dust .
  • (figurative) Something worthless.
  • * Shakespeare
  • And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust .
  • (figurative) A low or mean condition.
  • * Bible, 1 Sam. ii. 8
  • [God] raiseth up the poor out of the dust .
  • (slang, dated) cash; money (in reference to gold dust).
  • (mathematics) A totally disconnected set of points with a fractal structure.
  • Derived terms

    (top3) * angel dust * bite the dust * catch dust * dust ball * dustbin, dust bin * dust devil * dustbowl, dust bowl * dust bunny (mid3) * dust filter * dustman * dust mask * dustpan * duststorm * dust trap * dust-up (mid3) * dusty * fairy dust * goofer dust * pixie dust * smart dust, smartdust * stardust * turn to dust (bottom)

    Verb

    (en-verb)
  • To remove dust from.
  • * , chapter=12
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=There were many wooden chairs for the bulk of his visitors, and two wicker armchairs with red cloth cushions for superior people. From the packing-cases had emerged some Indian clubs, […], and all these articles […] made a scattered and untidy decoration that Mrs. Clough assiduously dusted and greatly cherished.}}
  • To remove dust; to clean by removing dust.
  • Of a bird, to cover itself in sand or dry, dusty earth.
  • To spray or cover something with fine powder or liquid.
  • To leave; to rush off.
  • * 1939 , (Raymond Chandler), (The Big Sleep) , Penguin 2011, p. 75:
  • He added in a casual tone: ‘The girl can dust . I'd like to talk to you a little, soldier.’
  • To reduce to a fine powder; to levigate.
  • (Sprat)

    Derived terms

    * dust off * duster

    See also

    * vacuum cleaner

    dirt

    English

    Alternative forms

    * (obsolete)

    Noun

    (en-noun)
  • soil or earth
  • A stain or spot (on clothes etc); any foreign substance that worsens appearance
  • Previously unknown facts, or the invented "facts", about a person; gossip
  • The reporter uncovered the dirt on the businessman by going undercover.
  • Meanness; sordidness.
  • * Melmoth
  • honours thrown away upon dirt and infamy
  • In placer mining, earth, gravel, etc., before washing.
  • Derived terms

    * dirt bike * dirt nap (rel-mid3) * dirty (rel-mid3) * do someone dirt (rel-bottom)

    Verb

    (en-verb)
  • (rare) To make foul or filthy; soil; befoul; dirty