: a filthy or soiling substance (such as mud, dust, or grime)
archaic : something worthless
: a contemptible person
treated me like dirt
: loose or packed soil or sand : earth
a mound of dirt
a dirt road
: an abject or filthy state : squalor
living in dirt
: corruption, chicanery
vowed to clean up the dirt in the city government
: licentiousness of language or theme
: scandalous or malicious gossip
spreading dirt about his ex-wife
: embarrassing or incriminating information
trying to dig up dirt on her political rivals

Examples of dirt in a Sentence

Pack dirt loosely around the base of the plant. You've got some dirt on your face. Their shoes were covered with dirt. No amount of cleaning will get rid of all this dirt.
Recent Examples on the Web These sprays and concentrates will make scuffs, dirt, patches, and spills a thing of the past. Kelsey Mulvey, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Nov. 2023 Mounds of dirt and food scraps, known as windrows, sometimes taller than the people working them, need to be turned over by shovel every seven days for months, even in bad weather. John Leland, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Once these pipes get four or five feet deep, the temperature stays fairly stable throughout the year, so the dirt is warmer than outdoor air during the winter and cooler than it in the summer. WIRED, 17 Nov. 2023 Every single one of these have been filling the house with more dirt and shaking the core of the building. Carson Terbush, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2023 The laser dirt detection highlights fine particles on the floor for a better clean. Camryn Rabideau, Peoplemag, 15 Nov. 2023 Time is running out for Garfield’s football field that has more exposed dirt than green grass. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Most of the dirt was gone and the color was vibrant and refreshed. Alyssa Grabinski, Peoplemag, 9 Nov. 2023 Construction crews have been moving dirt for a couple of weeks. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dirt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English drit, from Old Norse; akin to Old English drītan to defecate

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of dirt was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near dirt

Cite this Entry

“Dirt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dirt. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a filthy or soiling substance (as mud, dust, or grime)
: loose or packed earth : soil
a mound of dirt
: indecent language : obscenity
: harmful gossip
stop spreading dirt about him

More from Merriam-Webster on dirt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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