hoary vs rusty what difference

what is difference between hoary and rusty



hoar +‎ -y.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /hɔː.ɹi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /hɔɹ.i/
  • Rhymes: -ɔːri
  • Homophone: whorey


hoary (comparative hoarier, superlative hoariest)

  1. White, whitish, or greyish-white.
  2. White or grey with age.
  3. (zoology) Of a pale silvery grey.
  4. (botany) Covered with short, dense, greyish white hairs; canescent.
  5. (obsolete) Remote in time past.
  6. (obsolete) Moldy; mossy; musty.
  7. Old or old-fashioned; trite.


  • (whitish, greyish-white): albescent, griseous, whity
  • (white or grey with age): grey-haired, grizzled, grizzly, silver-haired, silvery-haired, white-haired; see also Thesaurus:elderly
  • (old): aged, ancient, olden; see also Thesaurus:old
  • (botany: covered with greyish-white hairs): canescent
  • (remote in time past): bygone, foregone; see also Thesaurus:past

Derived terms

  • hoarily
  • hoariness

Related terms

  • hoar



  • Yahor



  • IPA(key): /ˈɹʌsti/
  • Rhymes: -ʌsti

Etymology 1

From Middle English rusty, from Old English rūstiġ (rusty), from Proto-Germanic *rustagaz (rusty), equivalent to rust +‎ -y. Cognate with Saterland Frisian rusterch (rusty), West Frisian rustich, roastich (rusty), Dutch roestig (rusty), German Low German rusterig, rüsterig (rusty), German rostig (rusty), Swedish rostig (rusty).


rusty (comparative rustier, superlative rustiest)

  1. Marked or corroded by rust. [from 9th c.]
  2. Of the rust color, reddish or reddish-brown. [from 14th c.]
    • 1855, Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, XIV:
      Alive? he might be dead for aught I know, / With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain, / And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
    • Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with [] on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust from which gnarled and rusty stalks thrust themselves up like withered elfin limbs.
  3. Lacking recent experience, out of practice, especially with respect to a skill or activity. [from 16th c.]
  4. (now chiefly historical) Of clothing, especially dark clothing: worn, shabby. [from 17th c.]
    • 1911, Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson:
      He wore a black jacket, rusty and amorphous.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows:
      The clerk stared at him and the rusty black bonnet a moment, and then laughed.
  5. Affected with the fungal plant disease called rust.
Derived terms
  • ride rusty
  • rusty nail
  • Rusty (nickname)
  • turn rusty

Etymology 2

Ellipsis of rusty one more often used for this, or from the general epithet rusty given to various particular firearm names—earlier both was applied in Cockney rhyming slang for other machines, including swords in their day, but the present coinage has not more than a loose connection to this and is from the preference for used or antique firearms due to their being easier or cheaper to obtain.


rusty (uncountable)

  1. (MLE, slang) A gun or in particular an old or worn one.

Etymology 3

Variant form of resty; compare also reasty.


rusty (comparative more rusty, superlative most rusty)

  1. Discolored and rancid; reasty. [from 16th c.]


  • Tyrus, yurts

Middle English

Alternative forms

  • rosty, rousty, rowsty, ruste, rusti, ruysty
  • rustiȝ (early)


From Old English rustiġ, rūstiġ; equivalent to rust +‎ -y.


  • IPA(key): /ˈrustiː/, /ˈruːstiː/



  1. rusty, rusted
  2. degenerate, uncouth
  3. (rare) rust-coloured
  4. (rare) unpolished, jarring


  • English: rusty
  • Scots: roosty, rousty
  • Yola: roostha


  • “rū̆stī, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.

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