dirty laundry


: private matters whose public exposure brings distress and embarrassment

called also dirty linen

Example Sentences

The company is trying to keep its dirty laundry from being aired in public.
Recent Examples on the Web But this public airing of college football’s dirty laundry is a level of rich-on-rich crime that plays out like a real-life rendering of the war deterrent theory known as MAD — mutually assured destruction. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2022 The laundry room: an ancient washing machine, flanked by mountains of empty containers, vats of desiccated winemaking supplies, and piles of dirty laundry. Longreads, 20 Apr. 2022 Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, finalized in October after six months in which each party aired their dirty laundry, weighed heavily on Tesla. Derek Saul, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 The duffel has a cavernous main compartment, a large mesh zippered pocket for stashing a book and other smaller items, and a dirty laundry compartment — with a separate zippered entry — on the bottom. Kari Bodnarchuk, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Jan. 2023 The town’s Chinese laundryman and cook Kai (Lawrence Kao) knows everyone’s dirty laundry (literally) and is always around at the right moment to learn even more. Latoya Ferguson, Variety, 5 Oct. 2022 Harry says that the Royal Family airs its dirty laundry through leaks with the press. Vulture, 8 Jan. 2023 Kotb, 58, chimed in to defend herself over airing Bush Hager's dirty laundry live on air. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 30 Nov. 2022 One of the upsides, though, is that so much of Twitter's internal dirty laundry has come to light—like the fact that the company pays $13 million per year on employee lunches. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dirty laundry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1967, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dirty laundry was in 1967

Dictionary Entries Near dirty laundry

Cite this Entry

“Dirty laundry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dirty%20laundry. Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on dirty laundry

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love It or Hate It

  • heart-fire
  • When asked about her blind date, Carol spoke for hours with vitriol.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?