Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dust v.1

[image of knocking the dust from someone’s coat or jacket]

1. [early 17C; 19C+] to thrash, to beat up, to hit hard.

2. [1960s+] (US) to defeat.

3. [1970s+] to kill, to murder.

4. [1980s+] (US campus) to humiliate, to insult.

In phrases

dust (off) (v.)

1. [1930s+] to finish off.

2. [1930s+] (US) to beat up.

3. [1930s+] to kill.

4. (US Und.) to trick, to deceive.

5. [1940s+] (US, also give someone the dust off) to reject, to snub.

dust someone’s jacket (v.) (also dust someone’s back, …cassock, …coat, …doublet, …drabs, …linen; take the dust out of someone’s jacket)

[late 17C–1910s] to thrash, to beat someone up.

dust the road with (v.)

[late 19C–1900s] to beat up thoroughly, to defeat comprehensively.