Definition of dirty in US English:

dirty

adjective

  • 1Covered or marked with an unclean substance.

    ‘a tray of dirty cups and saucers’
    ‘her boots were dirty’
    • ‘In his experience, nature tended to make one dirty, smelly and tired.’
    • ‘You do not want baby to suffer from skin allergies from dirty bed linen.’
    • ‘The toilet bowls were unclean and the floor was wet and dirty, and covered in rubbish.’
    • ‘I walked into the washroom to take a shower, I felt so dirty.’
    • ‘Do you run the dishwasher with less than a full load of dirty dishes?’
    • ‘I got my clothes very dirty and wet because it started raining at the job site.’
    • ‘I usually drive a different vehicle every day, so they normally don't get too dirty.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the bus station toilets are dirty and the baby changing facilities broken.’
    • ‘Throw more dirty laundry, shop towels, or other towels on the water.’
    • ‘Mr. Brown asked as he noticed that her clothes were already very dirty.’
    • ‘"We handle extremely dirty linens, " Flores said.’
    • ‘Hands are dirty and things to be kept away from your face.’
    • ‘Don't let paper get too dirty before cleaning it.’
    • ‘Most of the cells were dirty and the walls covered with graffiti.’
    • ‘Her dress was dirty, ripped and covered in blood.’
    • ‘Hot water is only necessary for really dirty laundry or to sterilize clothing from bacteria and viruses.’
    • ‘They laugh at our strange accent, and condemn our town for being dirty.’
    • ‘Steph looked up, hands dirty with dry mud and knees grass stained.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was wrinkled almost beyond repair and, because he hadn't taken off his shoes, covered in dirty footprints.’
    soiled, grimy, grubby, filthy, mucky, stained, unwashed, greasy, smeared, smeary, spotted, smudged, cloudy, muddy, dusty, sooty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Causing a person or environment to become unclean.
      ‘farming is a hard, dirty job’
      • ‘Fewer dirty utensils in the sink mean smoother hands for the housewives who are forced to do this dirty job.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A large Haitian community, meanwhile, does the dirty jobs that Bahamians prefer to avoid.’
      • ‘Fridays were taken up with jobbing printing and the dirty job of recycling the lead used to make up the type.’
      • ‘When you start out, you have to do the dirty jobs, even if it's washing the bikes or keeping watch.’
      • ‘Politics is often said to be a dirty job, and the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader Alan Beith got his hands right into the muck to help launch the party's York environment campaign.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You've got to love to fly to do a job that dangerous and dirty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘My father was a steel worker all his life, in a filthy, dirty, dangerous job,’ he says.’
      • ‘The changes were not all bad, Brian concedes - mining was a dangerous and dirty job.’
    2. 1.2 (of a nuclear weapon) producing considerable radioactive fallout.
      • ‘He says that Blair tried to persuade him the Middle East and the whole world were under threat from Iraq's supposed long-range weapons carrying dirty warheads.’
    3. 1.3 (of a color) not bright, clear, or pure.
      ‘the sea was a waste of dirty gray’
      • ‘He turned and there was Beth, in the dirty cream coloured Ute.’
      • ‘His hair is kind of a dirty blonde colour, though more towards the brown, again.’
      • ‘Looks fairly old with a brown roof and dirty white for the colour of the house's walls.’
      • ‘The walls were a pale yellow; the carpet was a dirty cream colour.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘The Ungaro dress looks like taffeta and has a peach-colored shimmer; the dummy is painted in an exact shade of dirty beige.’
      • ‘This throat membrane usually covers the tonsils and is a dirty grey colour.’
      • ‘The floor was old and dirty beige carpet, and the walls were painted off white but where chipped and peeling.’
      • ‘The blacks are solid, though the whites can appear a bit dirty by comparison.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was a good head taller with bright blue eyes and dirty blonde spiked hair.’
      • ‘The Mediterranean at this particular spot is any colour except blue, the predominant hue being dirty grey.’
      • ‘The body was like snow, which had gotten that dirty grey colour.’
      • ‘The buildings are large, rectangular, and have a dirty grey colour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His fluttering eyes look at me, small slits of sky-blue against the black of his lashes and dirty tan of his skin.’
      • ‘Colors range from a dirty tan to yellow and occasionally reddish-orange.’
      • ‘The image on the photograph bubbles and glows, then fades, until nothing is left but a dull, dirty white space.’
      dull, cloudy, muddy, dingy, dark, not clear, not pure, not bright
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Concerned with sex in an unpleasant or obscene way.
      ‘he told a stream of dirty jokes’
      • ‘The men are just like animals, because sex and dirty pornography (doing things) are the only goals in a intimate relation with a female.’
      • ‘Adults can tell you dirty jokes and you are allowed to laugh at them’
      • ‘In fact, 63.5 per cent of her participants admitted they've sent a dirty joke or sexually explicit email.’
      • ‘The men accepted me as a peer without question and did not tell dirty jokes or make any inappropriate suggestions around me.’
      • ‘If people think it's obscene it's their dirty minds.’
      • ‘He tells dirty joke after dirty joke and makes a lot of sexual references in every conversation.’
      • ‘I don't mean relevant questions, just dirty and obscene ones.’
      • ‘Thanks be to the power of human libido, there is still a massive pile of really dirty, explicit, twisted pornography on the Net.’
      • ‘I never admitted it, but I had a HUGE crush on that naughty boy who told dirty jokes.’
      • ‘This disgusting, dirty pervert has started it again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I'm supposed to never crack a dirty joke or flirt with a cute guy either.’
      • ‘It should be wicked, wanton and lewd, dirty to the point where it is embarrassing to look at one another in the morning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As offenses go, dirty jokes just don't register with me any more.’
      • ‘He shared her unconventional love of rude words and 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.’
      • ‘The joke about your boyfriend was downright dirty and obscene.’
      • ‘He called the safer-sex information ‘something people go buy at dirty bookstores.’’
      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
    5. 1.5informal attributive Used to emphasize one's disgust for someone or something.
      ‘you dirty rat!’
      • ‘Listen up, all you good-for-nothing, lying, cheating dirty stop-outs… you cross this woman at your peril.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of all the dirty, rotten, disgusting things you've done, this has to be one of the lowest.’
      • ‘This revolting, dirty filthy sight had me retching in disgust.’
    6. 1.6 (of an activity) dishonest; dishonorable.
      ‘he had a reputation for dirty dealing’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They like things like slimey frogs, dirty activities, sticks and stones, and throwing those sticks and stones at other people and things.’
      • ‘But, on the whole, the publicity frenzy and dirty dealing that have marked previous years have been absent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In many cases, corrupt officials collude with each other in an entangled network to fend off probes into their dirty dealings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Greenpeace has a good info page about the environmental impact ship-breaking - as one would imagine, this is a dangerous, dirty activity.’
      • ‘AIG was hardly alone, however, in its dirty dealings.’
      • ‘But it doesn't obligate them to enforce the terms, which is where the intimidation and dirty dealing starts.’
      • ‘He had been involved in some dirty dealings with the loan sharks.’
      • ‘The story is a family affair against a backdrop of dirty dealings in the underground transport system.’
      • ‘However, they've rarely turned their eye on themselves to assess just what sort of dirty dealing may be going on in-house.’
      • ‘Rumors of dirty dealings had always clung to him, but Nixon had always managed to keep substantive proof of corruption out of the media.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With each new leak, more evidence of the dirty dealings in the run-up to the war is exposed.’
      • ‘Matt had done his research on Kiefer, and knew what dirty dealings he had done.’
      • ‘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.’
      unfair, dishonest, deceitful, unscrupulous, dishonourable, unsporting, ungentlemanly, below the belt, unethical, unprincipled, immoral
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    7. 1.7 (of weather) rough, stormy, and unpleasant.
      ‘the yacht was ready for dirty weather’
      • ‘Yes - to compound our sickness we picked some dirty weather.’
      • ‘I've never seen such vicious, dirty weather give up so easily.’
      • ‘Where is the obligatory miasma of old industry and dirty weather, you wonder; the thunderheads stripped of silver linings?’
      • ‘How else would she describe it, A spot of dirty weather?’
      unpleasant, nasty, foul, inclement, rough, bad
      View synonyms
    8. 1.8 (of popular music) having a distorted or rasping tone.
      ‘Nirvana's dirty guitar sound’
      • ‘Even the dirty garage guitar sounds perfect writhing in a bed of electronica on ‘Accelerator.’’
      • ‘Riding on a crisply insistent motorik groove, masses of electric guitars weave plangent chords, punctuated by dirty feedback squeals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is back bedroom electronica at its best, full of big chunky breakbeats, Radiophonic Workshop bleepy things and dirty vocoder interjections.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘LCD Soundsystem is first and foremost, a dance-rock party album full of dirty sounds and nasty grooves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Really, a great disc for anyone who loves deep down, sometimes dirty music.’
      • ‘Having conquered their own unique brand of dirty, beautifully awkward garage rock, Clinic was left to seek out new castles to storm.’
      • ‘He tends to favor cut-up dirty 70s funk guitar samples that he uses mostly to punctuate his chunky beats.’
      • ‘Both bask in a kind of bluesy dirty rock n roll that really is hard to come by these days.’
      • ‘This is dirty, ragga house at its best and picks up from where ‘Super Stylin’ left off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The dirty, surging guitar behind Milkshake gave it a harder rock feel than the original pop version.’
      • ‘A string section soars through the song and is accompanied by some dirty break beat loops.’
      • ‘On their scathing fifteen-song disc, they do everything they can to bring the danger back to loud, fast, dirty guitar rock.’
      • ‘With this in-your-face romping composition, Alpinestars's dirty electro flirts with raw electric guitars and angelic choirboys.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't think there has ever been a more filthy dirty gorgeously distorted sound recorded in the whole history of the recording business…’
      • ‘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.’

verb

[with object]
  • Make dirty.

    ‘she didn't like him dirtying her nice clean towels’
    • ‘When baby dirties herself, clean her up right away.’
    • ‘Discarded cigarette butts strewn outside Mayo's pubs are dirtying our towns, according to a Mayo litter warden.’
    • ‘The banks were muddy and dirtied the boy's tunic even more as he knelt to wash the sweat from 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.’
    • ‘I dirty every pot and use the sink like a dumping ground.’
    • ‘Wilbur came crawling out from his hiding spot with soot dirtying his face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Herbs she planted too, though their names are lost to her daughters who have never liked to dirty their hands.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He told his secretary to run outside and dirty his shoes in the grass and mud.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Further the render in the area close to the ground will be dirtied by splashes from the ground when it rains.’
    • ‘It is a little walk down a muddy path but the waterfall is a sight worth dirtying your shoes for.’
    • ‘She accuses them of spoiling the sofa and dirtying the linen.’
    soil, stain, muddy, blacken, mess up, spoil, tarnish, taint, make dirty
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • the dirty end of the stick

    • informal The difficult or unpleasant part of a task or situation.

      • ‘And when he gets the dirty end of the stick from an umpire of the elite panel, he has good reason to feel upset.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 is time that non-white nations, which usually take the dirty end of the stick in such matters, impressed on the ICC to frame tougher rules than merely cutting match fees and points.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It now seems most likely that Global Trust Bank shareholders will be left holding the dirty end of the stick.’
  • get one's hands dirty (or dirty one's hands)

    • 1Do manual, menial, or other hard work.

      ‘unlike most chairmen, he gets his hands dirty working alongside the other managers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Lowry managers seemed happy to get their hands dirty, though some found it hard going.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Don't tell me you once got your hands dirty between VCA and graphic design.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are asked by their parents to choose a way of life that involves getting their hands dirty for very little or no money.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1informal Become involved in dishonest or dishonorable activity.
        ‘they can make a lot of money, but fat cats don't get their hands dirty’
        • ‘Elections are a dirty business, and Brown makes no apology for getting his hands dirty.’
        • ‘We weren't even sure whether we wanted to get involved, get our hands dirty with politics.’
        • ‘Have there been trends where you feel like you're getting your hands dirty by even involving yourself?’
  • play dirty

    • informal Act in a dishonest or unfair way.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘He's been giving out specifics, but your folks have been playing dirty.’
      • ‘They could play big; they could not play at all; and they may turn up to find Republicans playing dirty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, even when somebody plays dirty, losing is losing and it's not long before nobody cares about the details.’
      • ‘You can, without even resorting to playing dirty.’
      • ‘The bad news is that Republicans are doing what they always do: playing dirty.’
  • talk dirty

    • informal Speak about sex in a coarse or obscene way.

      • ‘My girlfriend always asks me to talk dirty to her during our lovemaking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They watch the cable-access queen talk dirty, fondle herself and advise callers on their sex lives.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, of course, there's cybersex, which mostly consists of talking dirty to each other.’
      • ‘Women who effortlessly talk dirty are exciting and hold the promise of amazing sex.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • wash one's dirty laundry in public

Pronunciation

dirty

/ˈdərdi//ˈdərdē/