adjective1 : saturated with dust and stale odors : musty 2 : rigidly old-fashioned or reactionary
We opened the windows to air out the fusty room.
“Unlike so many fusty historical monuments, her statue appears alive, with the writer’s cloak blowing in the wind, a huge raven flying in his path and a trail of pages … spilling from his briefcase.” — James Sullivan, Boston Globe, September 30, 2014
Did you know?
Fusty probably derives from the Middle English word foist, meaning “wine cask,” which in turn traces to the Medieval Latin word fustis, meaning “tree trunk” or “wood.” So how did fusty end up meaning “old-fashioned”? Originally, it described wine that had gotten stale from sitting in the cask for too long; fusty literally meant that the wine had the “taste of the cask.” Eventually any stale food, especially damp or moldy food, was called “fusty.” Those damp and moldy connotations were later applied to musty places, and later still to anything that had lost its freshness and interest—that is, to anything old-fashioned.