[ doun-uhn-dur-tee ]

  1. unscrupulous; nasty: a down-and-dirty election campaign.

  2. earthy; funky.

Origin of down-and-dirty

First recorded in 1985–90

Words Nearby down-and-dirty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for down and dirty

down and dirty

adjective(down-and-dirty when prenominal) informal, mainly US
  1. ruthlessly competitive or underhand: if Bush gets down and dirty the Governor will give as good as he gets

  2. uninhibited; frank

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 down-and-dirty


Vicious, not governed by rules of decency, as in The candidates are getting down and dirty early in the campaign. [Slang; early 1980s]

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