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Related to dusting: Crop dusting, dusting off

dust 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.
See also: dust, off

dust out

To remove the dust from a thing or space. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dust" and "out." Hey, dust out that vase and bring it up here so we can put the bouquet in it.
See also: dust, out

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.
See also: dust, off

dust something out

to brush the dust out of something. Dust this cabinet out and put the china back in. Please dust out this cabinet.
See also: dust, out

dust off

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]
See also: dust, off

dust off

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.
See also: dust, off
References in classic literature ?
Poor Miss Snevellicci took the three half-crowns, with many smiles and bends, and Mrs Curdle, adding several supplementary directions relative to keeping the places for them, and dusting the seat, and sending two clean bills as soon as they came out, rang the bell, as a signal for breaking up the conference.
And all too careful making of dinners and dusting of furniture takes a terrible amount of precious time, and--and with shame I confess that my sympathies are all with the pudding and the grammar.
Wilfred Bohun made a limp gesture as if waving away all desire to know; but Father Brown, dusting off his sleeve some ashes blown from the furnace, spoke in his indifferent way.
I will not describe to you the special apparatus, dusting powder, etc.
Fairlie, dreamily dusting the tips of his fingers with one of the tiny brushes for the coins, "I made some entries in my tablettes this morning.
Stevie, put into a green baize apron, was now sweeping and dusting upstairs, intent and conscientious, as though he were playing at it; and Mrs Verloc, warned in the kitchen by the clatter of the cracked bell, had merely come to the glazed door of the parlour, and putting the curtain aside a little, had peered into the dim shop.
These long letters began with the words, "My darling wife," and the steward, between the scrubbing of the floors and the dusting of chronometer-boxes, snatched at every opportunity to read them.
Mr Flintwinch had been already rearranging and dusting his own particular little office, as if to do honour to his accession to new dignity.
Bumble darted, with much agility, to the wine bottles, and began dusting them with great violence: while the matron sharply demanded who was there.
Sara Lee's Endust brand says it has come up with a modern solution to dusting quickly and effectively.
The Endust brand knows many people don't enjoy this annual ritual, so they created Endust Dust Cloths, which offer a more convenient approach to dusting just in time for spring.