- A boring, pedantic speaker or writer.
- Dull and boring.
“I’ve been accused of being a dryasdust, but I truly love getting lost in data and research.”
“Don’t be dryasdust — come watch the game with us.”
“The speaker after lunch was so dryasdust that I started to nod off.”
British English, late 19th century
Why this word?
While the definition of “dryasdust” is literally “dull and boring,” the story behind the word is not. Sir Walter Raleigh Scott was a 17th- and 18th-century writer, considered the inventor of the historical novel. “Ivanhoe,” a historical novel concerning the life and times of a Saxon knight, opens with a “dedicatory epistle to the Rev. Dr. Dryasdust.” This fictitious character served as the intensely dull, but extremely informative, book antiquarian who supplied Scott with the necessary details to write his book (and also featured in the introductions of some of Scott’s other works). The word “dryasdust” has persisted as both a noun and adjective for a boring, pedantic sort.
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