- disagreeable, often tedious tasks.
- any illegal or dishonest dealing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Idioms and Phrases with dirty work
An unpleasant, distasteful, or thankless task or job. For example, Jane complained that she had to do all the dirty work while her colleagues took long vacations. [First half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.