dirty word


Definition of dirty word

: a word, expression, or idea that is disagreeable or unpopular in a particular frame of reference

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Examples of dirty word in a Sentence

The movie is just a lot of sex, violence, and dirty words. They regard “taxes” as a dirty word. The way he acts, you'd think compassion was a dirty word.
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Recent Examples on the Web Who better to prove that feminism isn’t a dirty word than a Midwestern married mother of five? Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Mrs America Episode 6 Recap: Meet Jill Ruckelshaus, Republican Feminist Hero," 6 May 2020 Since the 2008 recession, when fiscal policies slashed funding worldwide for the very public services that have now been pressed into service in the battle against Covid-19, austerity has become a dirty word. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "A New Age of Destructive Austerity After the Coronavirus," 23 Apr. 2020 Deciding on that mix, for years to come, are government bureaucrats whose job is characterized by some politicians as a dirty word: regulation. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Tiny Michigan nonprofit is taking on DTE — and it could have huge impact on the company," 16 Jan. 2020 When offense started to become a dirty word in the early 1990s, the Rangers’ Brian Leetch posted 102 points in 1991-92. BostonGlobe.com, "Charlie Simmer," 27 Oct. 2019 Regulation is a dirty word for Republicans, Chaparala said. Dallas News, "A Texas conservative congressional candidate wanted to learn more about Dallas’ homeless. Here’s what happened.," 26 Feb. 2020 Civility is as often as not a dirty word, a synonym for moral compromise and not a prescription for practical politics. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "The Closing of the Senatorial Mind," 25 Jan. 2020 Emphasizing the importance of environmental protection, worker safety and civil rights, his harshest critics see deregulation as a dirty word. Cass Sunstein, Twin Cities, "Cass Sunstein: Trump’s new executive orders deserve praise," 18 Oct. 2019 Vija Celmins and Matthew Marks Gallery In the 1960s art world, illusion was a dirty word. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Deep Looking, With Vija Celmins," 26 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dirty word.' 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 word

circa 1774, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for dirty word

Time Traveler

The first known use of dirty word was circa 1774

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Statistics for dirty word

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dirty word.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dirty%20word. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for dirty word

dirty word


English Language Learners Definition of dirty word

: an offensive word
: a word, subject, or idea that is disliked by some people

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dirty word

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