Definition of devil's dust in English:

devil's dust

Pronunciation /ˈdɛvlz ˌdʌst/


  • 1 derogatory Any of various powdered or dust-like substances whose use or effect is considered to be evil or harmful, such as a drug in powder form, gold dust, gunpowder, asbestos dust, etc. Occasionally with the.

  • 2 derogatory, historical, rare Pulverized or shredded cloth which is produced from old rags using a devil and which is subsequently reformed into shoddy.


Late 18th century; earliest use found in John Ireland (c1742–1808), biographer. From the genitive of devil + dust.