Definition of musty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈməstē/

adjective (mustier, mustiest)

1Having a stale, moldy, or damp smell: a dark musty library filled with old books
More example sentences
  • He smelled musty and damp, like the cardboard box he presumably lived in.
  • The bungalow was damp with a musty smell but Rod didn't care.
  • I had never set foot in a courtroom before; it was cold and smelled like damp, musty wood.
moldy, stale, fusty, damp, dank, mildewy, smelly, stuffy, airless, unventilated
informal funky
1.1Having a stale taste: the beer tasted sour, thin, and musty
More example sentences
  • The air tasted musty and stale so I hooked the corner of the canvas cover up so the air could flow through.
  • He wiped the sleep from his eyes and swallowed, trying to clear the musty taste from his mouth.
  • Furthermore, discerning customers would notice the taste, which is known to be uniquely earthy, musty and almost syrupy.
1.2Lacking originality or vitality: when I read it again, the play seemed musty
More example sentences
  • The argument did not gain stature from its antiquity; that only made it musty and tired.
unoriginal, uninspired, unimaginative, hackneyed, stale, flat, tired, banal, trite, clichéd, old-fashioned, outdated
informal old hat



Pronunciation: /-təlē/
Example sentences
  • The smell of Bibles hung mustily in the air.
  • Having settled up with the owner of the boatyard, we found ‘Edward’ sitting mustily in the middle of an unmown oval of grass.
  • The lascivious, long legged tramp is getting her own ‘Pin-Up’ line of dolls, inspired by the fifty year old cheesecake calendars still mustily crumbling upon the wall of our grandfathers’ garages.


Pronunciation: /ˈməstēnəs/
Example sentences
  • The displays in these memorials give an impression of mustiness and hostility to innovation.
  • They will not only impart a nice fragrance but will also help to eliminate mustiness and staleness.
  • At low levels, it creates a faint mustiness that leaves less-than-confident drinkers believing they just don't appreciate the nuances of wine.


Early 16th century: perhaps an alteration of moisty 'moist', influenced by must2.

Words that rhyme with musty

bustee, busty, crusty, dusty, fusty, gusty, lusty, rusty, trusty

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mus·ty

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