dirty tricks

plural noun

Definition of dirty tricks

: underhanded stratagems for obtaining secret information about or sabotaging an enemy or for discrediting an opponent (as in politics)

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Other Words from dirty tricks

dirty trickster noun

Examples of dirty tricks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Kenneth Whyte brings to life these pioneering days of febrile dramas, dirty tricks, wild stunts and pure genius. Les Hinton, WSJ, "Five Best: Les Hinton on the Giants of the Press," 28 Dec. 2018 For more than a week, Facebook’s critics have wondered if the company will face any consequences for the dirty tricks and deceptions detailed in a Nov. 14 New York Times story. Eric Johnson, Recode, "It’s time for Facebook’s board to step up," 23 Nov. 2018 And when the stakes are higher, companies are more likely to use agencies that resort to dirty tricks — and the public ought to know about those tricks, too. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Facebook’s crisis PR firm triggered a PR crisis," 17 Nov. 2018 But without a doubt, Democrats will be up to the same old predictable dirty tricks and tactics. Fox News, "Steve Bannon: 2018 midterm is a referendum on the Trump presidency," 28 July 2018 This time around some supporters again fear that dirty tricks could be employed to keep him from office, even as authorities and outside observers say the possibility is remote. Andrea Rodriguez, chicagotribune.com, "Ahead of Mexico's presidential election, fears and warnings over possible fraud," 29 June 2018 With the struggle heating up, the campaigns have accused each other of dirty tricks and reported shouting and harassment. Sarah Wu, The Seattle Times, "Head-tax fight hits Seattle’s streets as referendum campaign faces deadline," 11 June 2018 Falcon accused the government of dirty tricks, including buying votes of poor voters who have been hurt by widespread food shortages and hyperinflation in what was once Latin America’s wealthiest nation. Washington Post, "International outcry grows over disputed Venezuela vote," 21 May 2018 The ruling party used all manner of dirty tricks to pervert the vote, but still lost. The Economist, "Politics this week," 10 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of dirty tricks

1963, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near dirty tricks

dirty old man

dirty pool

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dirty tricks

dirty word



Statistics for dirty tricks

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for dirty tricks

The first known use of dirty tricks was in 1963

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More Definitions for dirty tricks

dirty tricks


English Language Learners Definition of dirty tricks

: secret and dishonest activities that are done to ruin someone's or something's chance of success

Comments on dirty tricks

What made you want to look up dirty tricks? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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