dirty tricks

plural noun

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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Her experience with political dirty tricks began in 1972, when a political adviser of President Richard M. Nixon’s paid her $1,000 a week to pose as a reporter to gather inside information on Senator George McGovern’s campaign for president. Anita Gates, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2022 Time bred impatience, and to hasten the end stage of its scheme, the cabal resorted to dirty tricks, stealing seats on the court and filling them with its most devout loyalists. Ian Macdougall, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 Questions of surveillance, corporate espionage and plain old dirty tricks were raised in court documents. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, 1 Sep. 2022 A day after Crawford said Konstantinov was a master of dirty tricks and deserved a penalty on every shift, Konstantinov kept smiling and laughing. Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, 21 May 2022 This snazzy but pandering miniseries takes a recognizably post-Trump approach to the Nixon administration's dirty tricks. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 15 Apr. 2022 Chamisa, a 40-year-old lawyer running on an anti-corruption, pro-employment platform, is obviously the people’s candidate, but can his team buck the dirty tricks and ballot-stuffing of his adversary? Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 Experts say campaigns and their supporters are right on time for starting the intense and emotional negativity — early voting began Tuesday, and with it the electorate should expect to start seeing more dirty tricks. Ben Brasch, ajc, 12 Oct. 2021 While the Durham indictment details alleged dirty tricks by the Clinton campaign, there's also a big part of the 2016 story that's missing from it. Evan Perez, CNN, 30 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dirty tricks was in 1963

Dictionary Entries Near dirty tricks

Cite this Entry

“Dirty tricks.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dirty%20tricks. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on dirty tricks

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!

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.