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What is the simile used when comparing to dust? And what does that comparison imply?

Something similar to "as slick as a fox"

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, Matt Эллен, Robusto, oerkelens, aedia λ Apr 15 at 19:09

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"like dust", but I'm not going to post that as an answer because I don't think you've asked the question you wanted to ask. Can you clarify what you are looking for here? –  toryan Apr 14 at 5:19
    
Are you looking for synonyms or idioms ? –  Josh61 Apr 14 at 5:41
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It is very hard to answer this question when you do not say what the comparison with dust is meant to highlight. With foxes, for example, you have ‘slick/sly as a fox’, but also ‘keen as a fox’, ‘red as a fox’, or ‘quick as a fox’. Each simile highlights a different aspect of what a fox stereotypically represents, and the same is true of dust. Do you want thick dust, dust in the air, dust settled on objects, dust as a figure of the vanished, etc.? –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 14 at 9:15
    
I'm not sure, but I think the question is asking for the most common/idiomatic metaphors with dust, like how foxes are sly and rabbits are quick. Clarification would help. –  Bradd Szonye Apr 14 at 18:15

6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The most common dust similes I've heard are as dry as dust (used to indicate literal dryness, as in a desert, or figurative dryness, as in boredom) and like dust in the wind (used to indicate ephemeralness).

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I think scattered like dust is sometimes used, meaning to disperse in all directions.

Possibly in a sentence like ...

when the villagers saw the size of the army they would have to fight, they scattered like dust.

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1  
I've heard the similar like dust in the wind, but it doesn't quite have that meaning. –  Bradd Szonye Apr 14 at 8:56
    
'like dust in the wind' meaning insignificance? 'drop in the ocean' type thing ? –  Frank Apr 14 at 9:01
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It usually refers to mortality or ephemeralness – there's often an implication of "dust to dust." See the Kansas song for a well known extended example. –  Bradd Szonye Apr 14 at 9:03
    
@BraddSzonye +1 for reminding me why I get my hair cut short these days. –  Frank Apr 14 at 9:12

Try 'as thick as dust', 'as choking as a dust-cloud', 'as hazy as a cloud of dust', or variations on those themes.

Really, though, I can't think of any idiomatic English-language similes that involve dust.

For that matter, 'slick as a fox' is not idiomatic either. Perhaps you were thinking of 'sly as a fox', which is a familiar idiom.

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There are terms that starts with "dust":

"dust bunny", "dust storm", "dust devil" etc.

If you compare someone or something to these things with using "like", you imply the features of these terms. The meaning is usually more implicit in this case because you can leave the reader to decide what meaning is implied.

For example:

  • She is like a dust bunny. (She is dowdy, dirty etc.)

  • He danced like a dust devil. (Quick whirling movements)

  • His words smashed me like a dust storm. (His words were harsh, made my eyes teary.)

And so on...

You can also use "as dusty as [something]" for more explicit or metaphoric meanings and you can get creative also:

For example:

as dusty as a dirt road in the outback

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By analogy with "as slick as a fox," consider the neologistic "as dusty as a rattlesnake."

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Dust one's jacket: give a beating. To raise a dust: disturbance, fight or noise. Down with the dust: put down money/give it.

-The slang dictionary; . Hotten, John Camden

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Those are not similies. –  tobyink Apr 14 at 9:21

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