Definition of dirty in English:

dirty

adjectivedirtier, dirtiest

  • 1Covered or marked with an unclean substance.

    ‘a tray of dirty cups and saucers’
    ‘her boots were dirty’
    • ‘I just had a bath to relax and because I was filthy dirty… covered in paint and wallpaper paste, and feet black with newsprint off the newspapers I'd put on the floor.’
    • ‘The toilet bowls were unclean and the floor was wet and dirty, and covered in rubbish.’
    • ‘It was wrinkled almost beyond repair and, because he hadn't taken off his shoes, covered in dirty footprints.’
    • ‘Most of the cells were dirty and the walls covered with graffiti.’
    • ‘I got my clothes very dirty and wet because it started raining at the job site.’
    • ‘Mr. Brown asked as he noticed that her clothes were already very dirty.’
    • ‘Hot water is only necessary for really dirty laundry or to sterilize clothing from bacteria and viruses.’
    • ‘I walked into the washroom to take a shower, I felt so dirty.’
    • ‘Throw more dirty laundry, shop towels, or other towels on the water.’
    • ‘"We handle extremely dirty linens, " Flores said.’
    • ‘I usually drive a different vehicle every day, so they normally don't get too dirty.’
    • ‘Don't let paper get too dirty before cleaning it.’
    • ‘You do not want baby to suffer from skin allergies from dirty bed linen.’
    • ‘Do you run the dishwasher with less than a full load of dirty dishes?’
    • ‘Meanwhile the bus station toilets are dirty and the baby changing facilities broken.’
    • ‘Her dress was dirty, ripped and covered in blood.’
    • ‘They laugh at our strange accent, and condemn our town for being dirty.’
    • ‘Hands are dirty and things to be kept away from your face.’
    • ‘Steph looked up, hands dirty with dry mud and knees grass stained.’
    • ‘In his experience, nature tended to make one dirty, smelly and tired.’
    soiled, grimy, grubby, filthy, mucky, stained, unwashed, greasy, smeared, smeary, spotted, smudged, cloudy, muddy, dusty, sooty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Causing a person or place to become unclean.
      ‘farming is a hard, dirty job’
      • ‘‘My father was a steel worker all his life, in a filthy, dirty, dangerous job,’ he says.’
      • ‘If you had a dirty job and your hands were filthy and the call came to roll eggs, there was little opportunity to wash your hands.’
      • ‘The feeling of compassion was actually based on the idea we were leading much happier and superior lives than they were able to and that we looked down upon the dirty and hard jobs they performed.’
      • ‘It may make the international competition tougher but if Britain can win the fight for skilled jobs and leave the dirty manufacturing jobs to others, it will be a far nicer and cleaner place to live.’
      • ‘A hellish day - it pours down with rain non-stop, turning the paddocks into mud and making our jobs difficult and dirty, it can be difficult for the animals too.’
      • ‘She complained about having done dirty jobs like shredding, and I bid her good day and thought of my friends who might be happy to have some of these slides.’
      • ‘You've got to love to fly to do a job that dangerous and dirty.’
      • ‘A large Haitian community, meanwhile, does the dirty jobs that Bahamians prefer to avoid.’
      • ‘It is to be hoped that some way can be found to reassure the stall handlers that their jobs are safe and that they are given the appropriate rewards for a dirty and dangerous job.’
      • ‘Fewer dirty utensils in the sink mean smoother hands for the housewives who are forced to do this dirty job.’
      • ‘They were dirty jobs, and the money wasn't good, but I thought it was great, and the key thing was having a good time.’
      • ‘When you start out, you have to do the dirty jobs, even if it's washing the bikes or keeping watch.’
      • ‘The changes were not all bad, Brian concedes - mining was a dangerous and dirty job.’
      • ‘Fridays were taken up with jobbing printing and the dirty job of recycling the lead used to make up the type.’
    2. 1.2(of a nuclear weapon) producing considerable radioactive fallout.
      • ‘He says that the prime minister tried to persuade him the whole world was under threat from the country's supposed long-range weapons carrying dirty warheads.’
      • ‘The only thing we have is very large, very dirty, big nuclear weapons.’
      • ‘If they has successfully obtained chemical or biological weapons, a dirty device or a nuclear weapon, there is a high probability they will attempt to use it.’
  • 2(of an activity) dishonest; dishonourable.

    ‘he had a reputation for dirty dealing’
    • ‘Greenpeace has a good info page about the environmental impact ship-breaking - as one would imagine, this is a dangerous, dirty activity.’
    • ‘They like things like slimey frogs, dirty activities, sticks and stones, and throwing those sticks and stones at other people and things.’
    • ‘However, they've rarely turned their eye on themselves to assess just what sort of dirty dealing may be going on in-house.’
    • ‘In many cases, corrupt officials collude with each other in an entangled network to fend off probes into their dirty dealings.’
    • ‘But, on the whole, the publicity frenzy and dirty dealing that have marked previous years have been absent.’
    • ‘AIG was hardly alone, however, in its dirty dealings.’
    • ‘Under interrogation, he's not likely to rat on his fedayeen, lead us to his hidden billions abroad or tell the truth about dirty dealings with France and Russia.’
    • ‘You could fill a book on the scandal and dirty dealing that used to operate in Burgundy: every winemaker from the region will tell you his own tale of skulduggery.’
    • ‘But it doesn't obligate them to enforce the terms, which is where the intimidation and dirty dealing starts.’
    • ‘Rumors of dirty dealings had always clung to him, but Nixon had always managed to keep substantive proof of corruption out of the media.’
    • ‘The story is a family affair against a backdrop of dirty dealings in the underground transport system.’
    • ‘Matt had done his research on Kiefer, and knew what dirty dealings he had done.’
    • ‘With each new leak, more evidence of the dirty dealings in the run-up to the war is exposed.’
    • ‘The Zeta Affair was the latest in a long line of bowing to whoever holds the power and secretly keeping these dirty dealings away from public scrutiny.’
    • ‘He had been involved in some dirty dealings with the loan sharks.’
    • ‘Over the past few years, professionals in the finance business have found themselves held responsible for the dirty dealings which go on under their noses.’
    • ‘How much did rumors of past cocaine use and dirty business dealings hurt George W. Bush?’
    • ‘It is hard to imagine otherwise. As far as dirty politics is considered, I fear this is just the start.’
    • ‘Expected to be sidelined a minimum of six weeks by the setback, Lee sounded off angrily against what he considered dirty tactics by his Yankee enemies.’
    • ‘A group of students asked to conduct a straw poll seemed as keen to vote for Putin as they were to move abroad to work as computing engineers, and considered politics a dirty business.’
    unfair, dishonest, deceitful, unscrupulous, dishonourable, unsporting, ungentlemanly, below the belt, unethical, unprincipled, immoral
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    1. 2.1US informal Using illegal drugs.
    2. 2.2informal attributive Used to emphasize one's disgust for someone or something.
      ‘you dirty rat!’
      • ‘I mean, he is a dirty rat, he is a key enemy figure that has to be taken down, but there's other insurgent organizations involved.’
      • ‘Of all the dirty, rotten, disgusting things you've done, this has to be one of the lowest.’
      • ‘Whatever the provocation, I have to say that it is a pretty low-down dirty thing to rat on someone for surfing-at-work to their employer.’
      • ‘This revolting, dirty filthy sight had me retching in disgust.’
      • ‘Listen up, all you good-for-nothing, lying, cheating dirty stop-outs… you cross this woman at your peril.’
  • 3Concerned with sex in a lewd or obscene way.

    ‘he told a stream of dirty jokes’
    • ‘I mean, they tell all sorts of dirty jokes and discuss lewd things in language I hate to admit I get to listen to all around me, but let someone act like a human being and everyone freaks.’
    • ‘He tells dirty joke after dirty joke and makes a lot of sexual references in every conversation.’
    • ‘The joke about your boyfriend was downright dirty and obscene.’
    • ‘In fact, 63.5 per cent of her participants admitted they've sent a dirty joke or sexually explicit email.’
    • ‘Adults can tell you dirty jokes and you are allowed to laugh at them’
    • ‘It should be wicked, wanton and lewd, dirty to the point where it is embarrassing to look at one another in the morning.’
    • ‘As offenses go, dirty jokes just don't register with me any more.’
    • ‘He shared her unconventional love of rude words and dirty jokes.’
    • ‘Not that I'm not in favour of a crude joke or a dirty joke but only if it's a really clever funny one.’
    • ‘I never admitted it, but I had a HUGE crush on that naughty boy who told dirty jokes.’
    • ‘I don't mean relevant questions, just dirty and obscene ones.’
    • ‘And I'm supposed to never crack a dirty joke or flirt with a cute guy either.’
    • ‘The men are just like animals, because sex and dirty pornography (doing things) are the only goals in a intimate relation with a female.’
    • ‘If people think it's obscene it's their dirty minds.’
    • ‘Thanks be to the power of human libido, there is still a massive pile of really dirty, explicit, twisted pornography on the Net.’
    • ‘The men accepted me as a peer without question and did not tell dirty jokes or make any inappropriate suggestions around me.’
    • ‘He called the safer-sex information ‘something people go buy at dirty bookstores.’’
    • ‘Well, that really ruined the moment for her especially, and made me feel really horrible for a long time, and caused dirty talk to become a kind of taboo for me.’
    • ‘This disgusting, dirty pervert has started it again.’
    indecent, obscene, rude, vulgar, smutty, coarse, crude, filthy, bawdy, suggestive, ribald, racy, salacious, risqué, prurient, offensive, lewd, lascivious, licentious, pornographic, explicit, X-rated
    View synonyms
  • 4(of weather) rough, stormy, and unpleasant.

    • ‘Where is the obligatory miasma of old industry and dirty weather, you wonder; the thunderheads stripped of silver linings?’
    • ‘I've never seen such vicious, dirty weather give up so easily.’
    • ‘Yes - to compound our sickness we picked some dirty weather.’
    • ‘How else would she describe it, A spot of dirty weather?’
    unpleasant, nasty, foul, inclement, rough, bad
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  • 5(of a colour) not bright or pure; dull.

    ‘the sea was a waste of dirty grey’
    • ‘I drop my head, allowing my eyes to wash over the dirty colour of the floorboards.’
    • ‘The carpet is a dirty beige - my shoes (too small… children's shoes) are muddy, and the laces trail behind my feet.’
    • ‘The floor was old and dirty beige carpet, and the walls were painted off white but where chipped and peeling.’
    • ‘His fluttering eyes look at me, small slits of sky-blue against the black of his lashes and dirty tan of his skin.’
    • ‘The body was like snow, which had gotten that dirty grey colour.’
    • ‘The buildings are large, rectangular, and have a dirty grey colour.’
    • ‘The Ungaro dress looks like taffeta and has a peach-colored shimmer; the dummy is painted in an exact shade of dirty beige.’
    • ‘Colors range from a dirty tan to yellow and occasionally reddish-orange.’
    • ‘This throat membrane usually covers the tonsils and is a dirty grey colour.’
    • ‘The Mediterranean at this particular spot is any colour except blue, the predominant hue being dirty grey.’
    • ‘The image on the photograph bubbles and glows, then fades, until nothing is left but a dull, dirty white space.’
    • ‘The evil witch loves dirty green colour and makes sure the whole coffee house is decorated in that colour.’
    • ‘It's in black, too (I always hated that dirty grey look, if I'm honest).’
    • ‘He turned and there was Beth, in the dirty cream coloured Ute.’
    • ‘Sid's door was a dirty brown colour and John couldn't help but wonder if it had been painted that way or if years of neglect had produced this effect.’
    • ‘His hair is kind of a dirty blonde colour, though more towards the brown, again.’
    • ‘The walls were a pale yellow; the carpet was a dirty cream colour.’
    • ‘He was a good head taller with bright blue eyes and dirty blonde spiked hair.’
    • ‘Looks fairly old with a brown roof and dirty white for the colour of the house's walls.’
    • ‘The blacks are solid, though the whites can appear a bit dirty by comparison.’
    dull, cloudy, muddy, dingy, dark, not clear, not pure, not bright
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1(of popular music) having a distorted or rasping tone.
      ‘Nirvana's dirty guitar sound’
      • ‘He tends to favor cut-up dirty 70s funk guitar samples that he uses mostly to punctuate his chunky beats.’
      • ‘LCD Soundsystem is first and foremost, a dance-rock party album full of dirty sounds and nasty grooves.’
      • ‘Really, a great disc for anyone who loves deep down, sometimes dirty music.’
      • ‘Til The Day I Day sounds like PJ Harvey circa Meet Ze Monster with it's dirty fuzz guitar and Shirley's low spitting intonation and shrill peeks.’
      • ‘On their scathing fifteen-song disc, they do everything they can to bring the danger back to loud, fast, dirty guitar rock.’
      • ‘It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since Germany's Basic Channel label crossed the threshold between deep techno and dirty dub.’
      • ‘This is back bedroom electronica at its best, full of big chunky breakbeats, Radiophonic Workshop bleepy things and dirty vocoder interjections.’
      • ‘Having conquered their own unique brand of dirty, beautifully awkward garage rock, Clinic was left to seek out new castles to storm.’
      • ‘Even the dirty garage guitar sounds perfect writhing in a bed of electronica on ‘Accelerator.’’
      • ‘I don't think there has ever been a more filthy dirty gorgeously distorted sound recorded in the whole history of the recording business…’
      • ‘Taken as a whole the album doesn't sound as underground and dirty as you mighty expect, there's one ear here to the commercial market.’
      • ‘However, in all honesty European have a buzz all of their own driven by great rinky dink, cute/evil keyboard lines and dirty but super melodic guitar hooks.’
      • ‘This is dirty, ragga house at its best and picks up from where ‘Super Stylin’ left off.’
      • ‘Both bask in a kind of bluesy dirty rock n roll that really is hard to come by these days.’
      • ‘A string section soars through the song and is accompanied by some dirty break beat loops.’
      • ‘Riding on a crisply insistent motorik groove, masses of electric guitars weave plangent chords, punctuated by dirty feedback squeals.’
      • ‘With this in-your-face romping composition, Alpinestars's dirty electro flirts with raw electric guitars and angelic choirboys.’
      • ‘The dirty, surging guitar behind Milkshake gave it a harder rock feel than the original pop version.’
      • ‘Having seen them live I know how dirty and raw some of these songs can sound, and unfortunately the studio recordings lose this a little.’
      • ‘You can check out a couple of MP3s on their site but if you like the sound of The Verve filtered through dirty blues rock then you won't go wrong.’

adverb

informalBritish as submodifier
  • Used for emphasis.

    ‘a dirty great slab of stone’
    • ‘The zones earmarked for growth are poised like three swords of Damocles around London's periphery, each one centred on its own source of sustenance: a dirty great road.’
    • ‘They are the liars-in-chief, the gatekeepers of vaults of dirty big secrets which wait for the deployment of journalistic diligence and courage to be uncovered.’
    • ‘Because there's no dirty great ball and chain to drag around, The Monsters get to punch home the point time after time without needing to worry if their hair looks good, or how they fit in.’
    • ‘If you deface and wreck your countryside with dirty great turbines it is obvious that you will turn visitors away.’
    • ‘Celtic, at least, know they have a dirty great problem to solve as they head into next week's Old Firm derby.’

verbdirties, dirtying, dirtied

[with object]
  • Make dirty.

    ‘she didn't like him dirtying her nice clean towels’
    • ‘She accuses them of spoiling the sofa and dirtying the linen.’
    • ‘Pillars turning into arches kept the roof from falling on those who passed through the halls and the floor that once upon a time was solid now a muddy slush dirties everything it touches.’
    • ‘When baby dirties herself, clean her up right away.’
    • ‘Further the render in the area close to the ground will be dirtied by splashes from the ground when it rains.’
    • ‘Wilbur came crawling out from his hiding spot with soot dirtying his face.’
    • ‘His short blond hair was dirtied by the soil and I could tell by the stench of the air that he was bleeding.’
    • ‘The banks were muddy and dirtied the boy's tunic even more as he knelt to wash the sweat from his face.’
    • ‘It is a little walk down a muddy path but the waterfall is a sight worth dirtying your shoes for.’
    • ‘The sins range from dirtying the floor with urine (usually by puppies or because they have not been taken outside because the owner is too busy or tired), barking, coming when called or greeting the owner with enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Discarded cigarette butts strewn outside Mayo's pubs are dirtying our towns, according to a Mayo litter warden.’
    • ‘Mud dragged out by vehicles and heavy machinery entering and exiting the site have also turned the road into a mudbath, dirtying cars and school busses using the route.’
    • ‘Just one month ago, Caterina Bayes was so afraid of dirtying her spotless Colchester home, she refused to let relatives and friends across the doorstep.’
    • ‘Pigeons carry 60 very nasty diseases as well as ruining our buildings and dirtying our pavements with their droppings.’
    • ‘We dirty our streets, we break traffic rules, we torment women, we seek dowry, and we discard our old; we wait for our share of impending trouble.’
    • ‘I dirty every pot and use the sink like a dumping ground.’
    • ‘Herbs she planted too, though their names are lost to her daughters who have never liked to dirty their hands.’
    • ‘He told his secretary to run outside and dirty his shoes in the grass and mud.’
    soil, stain, muddy, blacken, mess up, spoil, tarnish, taint, make dirty
    View synonyms

Phrases

    do the dirty on someone
    British informal
    • Cheat or betray someone.

      • ‘Also profiled is California's arch-conservative talk radio host Melanie Morgan, and Soweto's Cheaters, which hires private detectives to find out if its listeners' partners are doing the dirty on them.’
      • ‘Then there's drug-loving drummer Lucy and mood guitarist Joe whose girlfriend Kate has no idea he's doing the dirty on her
      • ‘Forget ‘for richer, for poorer’ and just remember the profit warnings seen in recent years - companies show little remorse when they do the dirty on you.’
      • ‘Strand, which he promised dutifully not to visit, not after his last visit there ended in those distressing Bankrupts Anonymous meetings, did the dirty on him.’
      • ‘Now he regrets doing the dirty on Duff, however, and is desperate to get back with her.’
      • ‘‘Well,’ he began, sliding his arm around her waist, ‘Mike-that's my brother by the way - found out that Sophie - his ex-fiancée - was doing the dirty on him with the best man.’
      • ‘In movies we get to vicariously fight back against the things or people that do the dirty on us.’
    the dirty end of the stick
    informal
    • The difficult or unpleasant part of a task or situation.

      • ‘O'Donoghue's suggestion that there is something mythical about the price of living in this country is not just insulting to the millions of people who have been left with the dirty end of the stick - it is also breathtaking in its arrogance.’
      • ‘From where I stand, I think our entire region would end up with the dirty end of the stick, so I think we all need to join hands and chant ‘Give Peace a Chance!’’
      • ‘It now seems most likely that Global Trust Bank shareholders will be left holding the dirty end of the stick.’
      • ‘I personally hope so because in spite of pouring millions of pounds into this corrupt organisation which has not been elected by the British people, we are still getting the dirty end of the stick.’
      • ‘And when he gets the dirty end of the stick from an umpire of the elite panel, he has good reason to feel upset.’
    get one's hands dirty (or dirty one's hands)
    • 1Do manual, menial, or other hard work.

      • ‘And those who do have jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber are more likely than anywhere else to be getting their hands dirty in manual or semi-skilled jobs.’
      • ‘People think that if you go straight into football you don't appreciate finishing early, that you don't have to get your hands dirty or work hard.’
      • ‘I never forgot where I'd come from, and I was never too good that I couldn't get my hands dirty and do menial jobs.’
      • ‘The Midwest is full of doughy white guys that love to get their hands dirty and work hard, so that shouldn't be a problem.’
      • ‘And it's getting harder to convince high school students to get their hands dirty when they've come through a system which measures success in terms of a university degree and the size of the pay packet.’
      • ‘The Lowry managers seemed happy to get their hands dirty, though some found it hard going.’
      • ‘Members of the Lions Club got their hands dirty on Thursday night, when they donned gloves and picked up shovels for a clean up of Samson's Lane and Rossglass Beach.’
      • ‘They are asked by their parents to choose a way of life that involves getting their hands dirty for very little or no money.’
      • ‘After a life working in data communications for British Telecom, British Gas and the Royal Bank of Scotland, he's now swapped the ordinary office life for a job that really involves getting his hands dirty.’
      • ‘Don't tell me you once got your hands dirty between VCA and graphic design.’
      1. 1.1informal Become involved in dishonest or dishonourable activity.
        • ‘Have there been trends where you feel like you're getting your hands dirty by even involving yourself?’
        • ‘We weren't even sure whether we wanted to get involved, get our hands dirty with politics.’
        • ‘Elections are a dirty business, and Brown makes no apology for getting his hands dirty.’
    play dirty
    informal
    • Act in a dishonest or unfair way.

      • ‘Of course, even when somebody plays dirty, losing is losing and it's not long before nobody cares about the details.’
      • ‘Tesco plays dirty, it seems, when it comes to moving in on a new location.’
      • ‘During the next election campaign don't be surprised when Labour plays dirty.’
      • ‘‘Now, despite all the hopes for military reform, things have returned to square one with the TNI playing dirty, vulgar games and ignoring the political aspirations of the civilian population,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘I play the game hard but there is no way I would devalue the honour of playing for my country by playing dirty,’ Harrison said.’
      • ‘You can, without even resorting to playing dirty.’
      • ‘He's been giving out specifics, but your folks have been playing dirty.’
      • ‘The bad news is that they are doing what they always do: playing dirty.’
      • ‘They could play big; they could not play at all; and they may turn up to find their opponents playing dirty.’
      • ‘Gene Hackman stars as the infamous Rankin Fitch, a jury selection specialist not afraid to play dirty if it gets the results his clients pay him big bucks for.’
    talk dirty
    informal
    • Talk about sex in a coarse or salacious way.

      • ‘Women who effortlessly talk dirty are exciting and hold the promise of amazing sex.’
      • ‘She talks dirty and suggestively, and most of the men just ignore her - but she is particularly forceful if a man doesn't respond to her.’
      • ‘The beauty of talking dirty in the sack is that you communicate it's not only your body which is aroused but your senses and mind as well.’
      • ‘She says that it is a daily occurrence to be invited to engage in cybersex, or to talk dirty, but she rejects these offers without hesitation.’
      • ‘The film also benefits from some sparkling performances, the pick of which comes from Winslet's Tula as the sassy, sexy and, quite frankly, incendiary femme fatale with a penchant for talking dirty.’
      • ‘In the USA where lawsuits are the nation's favorite hobby, talking dirty to a woman is called Sexual Harassment and is backed up by stiff penalties.’
      • ‘Then, of course, there's cybersex, which mostly consists of talking dirty to each other.’
      • ‘They watch the cable-access queen talk dirty, fondle herself and advise callers on their sex lives.’
      • ‘The Wau Wau Sisters dress up as schoolgirls and sing mildly blasphemous songs, turn tricks (circus tricks), pile on the lesbian lipstick chic, and talk dirty and giggle at the same time.’
      • ‘My girlfriend always asks me to talk dirty to her during our lovemaking.’

Pronunciation

dirty

/ˈdəːti/