dust off(redirected from dust themselves off)
1. To remove dust and dirt from someone or something by patting or wiping. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "off." After sliding into third base, I got up and dusted myself off. Here, take this rag and dust off the TV stand before grandma gets here.
2. To ready something (often by retrieving it from storage) so that it can be used again. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "off." Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it's time to dust off the Christmas decorations!
3. slang In baseball, to throw a pitch at or very close to the body of the batter. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "off." Don't be afraid to dust off the batter a bit if he's crowding the plate.
4. To ready oneself for something that one used to do, often after something unpleasant has happened. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "dust" and "off." I know you struggled last season, but it's time to dust yourself off and start fresh this season.
5. To punch or beat someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "off." I ran to get a teacher when I heard the school bully threaten to dust off another kid in our class.
6. To kill or defeat someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "off." No one expected the highest-seeded team to be dusted off so early in the playoffs.
dust someone off
Sl. to punch or beat someone. We dusted them off one by one. We had to dust off all those big guys. dust someone or something off to wipe or brush the dust off someone or something. Dust this vase off and put it on the shelf. Please dust off this vase.
1. Restore to use. For example, I've dusted off last year's menu for the party. This usage alludes to cleaning and thereby renewing some object. [Mid-1900s]
2. Pitch a baseball dangerously close to the batter's head, as in I'm sure he dusted him off on purpose. [Slang; 1920s]
3. Finish off, kill; also, easily defeat. For example, They vowed to dust off the old man, or We'll dust off this team in no time. [Slang; c. 1940]
4. Thrash, beat up, as in If he didn't hand over his wallet, they threatened to dust him off. [Slang; 1920s]
1. To remove dust from something or someone by brushing or wiping: I dusted off the old trunk in the attic. We picked up the antiques and dusted them off.
2. To restore something to use: The mechanic dusted off that old engine and sold it. I dusted off last year's winter coat and put it on.