phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The meaning and origin of the expression: A dust up

A dust-up

Other phrases about:

What's the meaning of the phrase 'A dust up'?

A f'dust-up' is a ifght.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A dust up'?

Clearly this term alludes to the dust raised in a scuffle or fight. It isn't an especially old phrase and first appears around the end of the 19th century. The earliest printed reference I can find is in the London Daily News, March 1897:

They turned at the Lasher, and after a dust-up for about a minute in Iffley Reach did a nice piece of paddling back to the raft.

The expression 'dust-up' had previously been used in horse racing circles. A dust-up was a literal term referring to the dust cloud caused by the sweeping of stables. An early use of this meaning is found in The Birmingham Daily Post, September 1867: :

...he had cleared out the stable in a "dust up".

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List