[ dur-tee ]
See synonyms for: dirtydirtieddirtiestdirtying on Thesaurus.com

adjective,dirt·i·er, dirt·i·est.
  1. soiled with dirt; foul; unclean: dirty laundry.

  2. spreading or imparting dirt; soiling: dirty smoke.

  1. vile; mean; sordid; contemptible: to play a dirty trick on someone.

  2. obscene; pornographic; indecent: a dirty joke.

  3. undesirable or unpleasant; thankless: He left the dirty work for me.

  4. very unfortunate or regrettable: That's a dirty shame!

  5. not fair or sportsmanlike; unscrupulous: a dirty fighter.

  6. hostile, insulting, contemptuous, or resentful: She gave me a dirty look.He made a dirty crack about the cooking.

  7. (of a nuclear weapon) producing a relatively large amount of radioactive fallout.

  8. (of the weather) stormy; squally: It looks dirty to windward.

  9. Informal. obtained through illegal or disreputable means: dirty money.

  10. appearing as if soiled; dark-colored; dingy; drab.

  11. Slang. using or in possession of narcotics.

  12. 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),dirt·ied, dirt·y·ing.
  1. to make or become dirty.

  1. Informal. in a mean, unscrupulous, or underhand way: to play dirty.

  2. Informal. in a lewd manner: to talk dirty.

Idioms about dirty

  1. do (someone) dirty, Slang. to treat unfairly or reprehensibly, as by cheating or slandering.

Origin of dirty

First recorded in 1520–30; dirt + -y1

synonym study For dirty

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.

Other words for dirty

Other words from dirty

  • dirt·i·ly, adverb
  • dirt·i·ness, noun

Words Nearby dirty

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dirty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dirty


/ (ˈdɜːtɪ) /

adjectivedirtier or dirtiest
  1. covered or marked with dirt; filthy

    • obscene; salacious: dirty books

    • sexually clandestine: a dirty weekend

  1. causing one to become grimy: a dirty job

  2. (of a colour) not clear and bright; impure

  3. unfair; dishonest; unscrupulous; unsporting

  4. mean; nasty: a dirty cheat

  5. scandalous; unkind: a dirty rumour

  6. revealing dislike or anger: a dirty look

  7. (of weather) rainy or squally; stormy

  8. (of an aircraft) having projections into the airstream, such as lowered flaps

  9. (of an explosive device) modified to cause radioactive contamination: Compare clean (def. 5)

  10. be dirty on Australian slang to be offended by or be hostile towards

  11. dirty dog a despicable person

  12. dirty linen informal intimate secrets, esp those that might give rise to gossip

  13. dirty pool slang, mainly US, Canadian and Australian dishonest behaviour

  14. dirty word

    • an obscene word

    • something that is regarded with disapproval: federalism is a dirty word

  15. dirty work unpleasant or illicit activity

  16. do the dirty on British informal to behave meanly or unkindly towards

verbdirties, dirtying or dirtied
  1. to make or become dirty; stain; soil

Derived forms of dirty

  • 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with dirty


In addition to the idioms beginning with dirty

  • dirty joke
  • dirty look, give a
  • dirty one's hands
  • dirty tricks
  • dirty work

also see:

  • down and dirty
  • wash one's dirty linen in public

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.