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[dur-tee] /ˈdɜr ti/
adjective, dirtier, dirtiest.
soiled with dirt; foul; unclean:
dirty laundry.
spreading or imparting dirt; soiling:
dirty smoke.
vile; mean; sordid; contemptible:
to play a dirty trick on someone.
obscene; pornographic; lewd:
a dirty joke.
undesirable or unpleasant; thankless:
He left the dirty work for me.
very unfortunate or regrettable:
That's a dirty shame!
not fair or sportsmanlike; unscrupulous:
a dirty fighter.
hostile, insulting, contemptuous, or resentful:
She gave me a dirty look. He made a dirty crack about the cooking.
(of a nuclear weapon) producing a relatively large amount of radioactive fallout.
(of the weather) stormy; squally:
It looks dirty to windward.
Informal. obtained through illegal or disreputable means:
dirty money.
appearing as if soiled; dark-colored; dingy; murky.
Slang. using or in possession of narcotics.
Foreign Exchange. (of currency floats) manipulated, as by a central bank influencing or changing exchange rates (opposed to clean).
verb (used with or without object), dirtied, dirtying.
to make or become dirty.
Informal. in a mean, unscrupulous, or underhand way:
to play dirty.
Informal. in a lewd manner:
to talk dirty.
do (someone) dirty, Slang. to treat unfairly or reprehensibly, as by cheating or slandering.
Origin of dirty
First recorded in 1520-30; dirt + -y1
Related forms
dirtily, adverb
dirtiness, noun
1. grimy, defiled. 3. base, vulgar, low, shabby, groveling. 4. nasty, lascivious, lecherous. 10. rainy, foul, sloppy, disagreeable, nasty. 12. dull, dark, sullied, clouded. 15. soil, befoul, sully.
Synonym Study
1. Dirty, filthy, foul, squalid refer to that which is not clean. Dirty is applied to that which is filled or covered with dirt so that it is unclean or defiled: dirty clothes. Filthy is an emphatic word suggesting something that is excessively soiled or dirty: filthy streets. Both dirty and filthy can refer to obscenity: a dirty mind, a filthy novel. Foul implies an uncleanness that is grossly offensive to the senses: a foul odor. Squalid, applied usually to dwellings or surroundings, implies dirtiness that results from the slovenly indifference often associated with poverty: a squalid tenement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dirtier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The oddest part of these experiences is that the dirtier the inn the better the fare.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • "I do not think I have ever seen a dirtier ruffian," said he.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • He always moves on to some place where it's hotter and dirtier.

  • She was sure dressed for dirtier work than she would ever have to do in that lab.

    Card Trick Walter Bupp AKA Randall Garrett
  • As a whole, I don't think it is any dirtier than most of the cities of Europe.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • The better the light I try to put the thing in, the dirtier it looks.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • He that fa's in a gutter, the langer he lies the dirtier he is.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • A dirtier family and filthier tent one could not wish to see.

    Away in the Wilderness R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for dirtier


adjective dirtier, dirtiest
covered or marked with dirt; filthy
  1. obscene; salacious: dirty books
  2. sexually clandestine: a dirty weekend
causing one to become grimy: a dirty job
(of a colour) not clear and bright; impure
unfair; dishonest; unscrupulous; unsporting
mean; nasty: a dirty cheat
scandalous; unkind: a dirty rumour
revealing dislike or anger: a dirty look
(of weather) rainy or squally; stormy
(of an aircraft) having projections into the airstream, such as lowered flaps
(of an explosive device) modified to cause radioactive contamination Compare clean (sense 5)
(Austral, slang) be dirty on, to be offended by or be hostile towards
dirty dog, a despicable person
(informal) dirty linen, intimate secrets, esp those that might give rise to gossip
(slang, mainly US & Canadian, Austral) dirty pool, dishonest behaviour
dirty word
  1. an obscene word
  2. something that is regarded with disapproval: federalism is a dirty word
dirty work, unpleasant or illicit activity
(Brit, informal) do the dirty on, to behave meanly or unkindly towards
verb dirties, dirtying, dirtied
to make or become dirty; stain; soil
Derived Forms
dirtily, adverb
dirtiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dirtier



c.1500, from dirt + -y (2). Earlier dritty (late 14c.). Meaning "smutty, morally unclean" is from 1590s. Of colors, from 1690s. Dirty linen "personal or familial secrets" is first recorded 1860s. Dirty work in the figurative sense is from 1764; dirty trick is from 1670s. The dirty look someone gives you is from 1928; dirty old man "superannuated lecher" is from 1932. Related: dirtiness.



1590s, from dirty (adj.). Related: Dirtied; dirtying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dirtier



  1. Corrupt; dishonest; shady •Often used of corrupt police officers: If I was dirty, I would take what that Cadillac cost/ Maybe he's not dirty on Nijinsky, but he's dirty on something (1670+)
  2. Lewd; obscene; blue, raunchy: This dictionary dotes on dirty words/ Eschew dirty thoughts (1599+)
  3. Sexually insinuating in sound and intonation; cathouse, barrelhouse: dirty blues (1920s+ Jazz musicians)
  4. Personally malicious or snide; nasty: a dirty crack (1920s+)
  5. Addicted to narcotics (1960s+ Narcotics)
  6. Having narcotics in one's possession: Cops did a bodyshake and he was real dirty (1960s+ Narcotics)
  7. Well supplied with money; filthy rich: Paddy was dirty with fifteen thousand or so (1919+)
  8. Leaving much radioactive contamination or waste: dirty bombs (1950s+)


  1. : They fight dirty/ play dirty
  2. : He talks dirty

Related Terms

do the dirty on someone, down and dirty, quick-and-dirty

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with dirtier
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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