Definitionenregional note: in BRIT, also use dust down
1. phrasal verb If you say that someone dusts something off or dusts it down, you mean they are using an old idea or method, rather than trying something new. [V P n] ⇒ Critics were busy dusting down the same superlatives they had applied to their first three films. [V P n (not pron)] ⇒ Long-mothballed projects like widening the Suez Canal are being dusted off. [Also V n P] 2. phrasal verb If you say that someone has dusted himself or herself off or dusted himself or herself down, you mean that they have managed to recover from a severe problem which has affected their life. [V pron-refl P] ⇒ She dusted herself down and left to build her own career. [V pron-refl P] ⇒ When we are rejected, although we have been hurt we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again. 3. phrasal verb → dust If someone dusts down something or dusts dirt off something, they remove dirt or dust from it. [V P n (not pron)] ⇒ He stood and dusted down his suit and folded the letter away. [V n P] ⇒ Use loose powder to set your makeup, dusting the excess off with a brush.
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