offensive or disgusting dirt or refuse; foul matter: the filth dumped into our rivers.
foul condition: to live in filth.
moral impurity, corruption, or obscenity.
vulgar or obscene language or thought.

Origin of filth

before 1000; Middle English; Old English fȳlth. See foul, -th1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for filth

Contemporary Examples of filth

Historical Examples of filth

  • Rags and tidiness, filth and cleanliness, lay almost touching.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The posters, maculated with filth, garnished like tapestry the sweep of the curbstone.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • They no more wanted to be touched by iron than by filth, or foul disease.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • When nobody else can find any filth left, he manages to discover some.

  • She had to wallow in filth instead of having flowers all about her.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for filth



foul or disgusting dirt; refuse
extreme physical or moral uncleanliness; pollution
vulgarity or obscenity, as in language
the filth derogatory, slang the police

Word Origin for filth

Old English fӯlth; related to Old Saxon, Old High German fūlitha; see foul, defile
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

Word Origin and History for filth

Old English fylð "uncleanness, impurity," from Proto-Germanic *fulitho (cf. Old Saxon fulitha "foulness, filth," Dutch vuilte, Old High German fulida), noun derivative of *fulo- "foul" (see foul (adj.)). A classic case of i-mutation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper