Dust is the fine, powdery substance that settles on surfaces over time or is blown around outdoors. A junk shop might be full of beautiful old furniture and books, all covered with dust.

There's the dust you clean with a feather duster, and then there's the verb "to dust." You can dust your bookshelves, cleaning the dust from them, but you can also dust the surface of a cake with powdered sugar, covering it lightly. Informally, when something "gathers dust," it goes unused, and when "the dust settles," a situation calms down.

Definitions of dust
  1. noun
    fine powdery material such as dry earth or pollen that can be blown about in the air
    “the furniture was covered with dust
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    chalk dust
    dust resulting from writing with a piece of chalk
    fallout, radioactive dust
    the radioactive particles that settle to the ground after a nuclear explosion
    type of:
    particulate, particulate matter
    a small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter that remains individually dispersed in gas or liquid emissions (usually considered to be an atmospheric pollutant)
  2. noun
    free microscopic particles of solid material
    “astronomers say that the empty space between planets actually contains measurable amounts of dust
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    interplanetary dust
    microscopic particles in the interplanetary medium
    type of:
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
  3. noun
    the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up
    synonyms: debris, detritus, junk, rubble
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    dust consisting of a mixture of small coal fragments and coal dust and dirt that sifts out when coal is passed over a sieve
    type of:
    garbage, refuse, rubbish, scrap, trash
    worthless material that is to be disposed of
  4. verb
    cover with a light dusting of a substance
    dust the bread with flour”
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    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  5. verb
    rub the dust over a surface so as to blur the outlines of a shape
    “The artist dusted the charcoal drawing down to a faint image”
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    type of:
    blur, smear, smudge, smutch
    make a smudge on; soil by smudging
  6. verb
    distribute loosely
    synonyms: disperse, dot, scatter, sprinkle
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    scatter in a mass or jet of droplets
    be discharged in sprays of liquid
    plash, spatter, splash, splatter, splosh, swash
    dash a liquid upon or against
    splash, splosh, sprinkle
    cause (a liquid) to spatter about, especially with force
    dot or sprinkle with sparkling or glittering objects
    aerosolise, aerosolize
    disperse as an aerosol
    spray or sprinkle with
    atomise, atomize
    spray very finely
    spray finely or cover with mist
    spray or irrigate (a body part) with a syringe
    make a puddle by splashing water
    slosh, slosh around, slush, slush around
    spill or splash copiously or clumsily
    sprinkle as if with salt
    drizzle, moisten
    moisten with fine drops
    type of:
    pour forth or release
  7. verb
    remove the dust from
    dust the cabinets”
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    type of:
    clean, make clean
    make clean by removing dirt, filth, or unwanted substances from
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