Share this entry

musty Syllabification: mus·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈməstē/

Definition of musty in English:

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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
unoriginal, uninspired, unimaginative, hackneyed, stale, flat, tired, banal, trite, clichéd, old-fashioned, outdated
informal old hat

Origin

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

Derivatives

mustily

1
adverb
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.

mustiness

2
Pronunciation: /ˈməstēnəs/
noun
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.

Words that rhyme with musty

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

Definition of musty in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day luxe
Pronunciation: lʌks
adjective
expensive and of high quality; luxurious