[Ads-l] Heard: _musty_ “smelling of decay or rot”

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 27 20:04:49 UTC 2017

The rotting corpse of a dead baby smells merely “moldy”?

"The Difference between Moldy and Musty Smells:
Moldy and musty smells are similar in nature and both are caused by the
presence of mold or mildew.The primary difference between moldy and musty
odors is in the strength of the smell: musty odors are usually not as
strong as moldy odors.”


Before this moment, I had no idea what _musty_ meant in sE, only what it
meant in BE. I’d assumed that it meant “dry, dusty” because of literary
references to “musty” attics and, as chance would have it, I’ve been in
only one attic in my life and it smelled dry and dusty.


On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 10:06 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Junkman's usage sounds normal to me, for whom "musty" = "(of a smell)
> moldy."
> JL
> On Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 9:06 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The owner of a junkyard in Bethel, NY, is telling the police about
> finding
> > the remains of a dead newborn in the trunk of a junked car:
> >
> > "After I popped the trunk, I saw a plastic bag in it. I opened up the bag
> > and there was another plastic bag in that. I opened that up and saw a
> third
> > bag. I started to open up the third bag and a _musty_ odor came out. I
> > opened it up a little more and saw what looked like a leather doll. I
> told
> > my wife, ‘Call 911.’”
> >
> > In BE, _musty_ means “smelling of _must_” or  “funky” and _must_ means
> > “B.O.” or “funk.”
> >
> > FWIW, I once read somewhere - Wentworth & Flexner? - somewhen - 1962? -
> > that _must_ < _musk_.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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