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

The risk of public humiliation is much lower, especially if your dirty words are in response to someone else’s. Nona Willis Aronowitz, Teen Vogue, "When Is It Safe to Send a Partner Nude Photos?," 2 May 2019 Polls are showing increasing support for socialism, once a dirty word in American political discourse. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Socialism rises in Democratic Party as primary season of upsets comes to close," 18 Sep. 2018 Stubborn is just a dirty word for driven, and driven people get things done. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "Advice for Leading a Successful Outdoor Life," 12 June 2018 Aging has become something of a dirty word in our society. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Loyola's Sister Jean, feeling fine and having fun, is an example for us all," 26 Mar. 2018 Dilution is not a dirty word, and the idea that somehow entrepreneur founders should get something valuable for free does not resonate with this aging angel investor. Neil Senturia, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Ad Astra accelerator gives female-led San Diego startups a boost," 2 July 2018 For many high-octane professionals like Roosevelt, retirement is a dirty word. Robert Weisman, BostonGlobe.com, "For many high-octane professionals, retirement is not an option," 2 May 2018 Between May 1, 2017, and April 27, 2018, the state rejected 403 license plates, many of which suggested dirty words, anti-Trump and anti-law-enforcement rhetoric, and much more. Mallorie Sullivan, Cincinnati.com, "Here are all 403 personalized license plates Ohio rejected in the past year," 1 May 2018 Let the idea of analytics as a dirty word end in Cleveland, because in Mayfield the Browns drafted a quarterback loved by both the numbers and by anyone looking for an old football soul. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com, "John Dorsey and Sashi Brown combined to build a future for the Browns: Doug Lesmerises," 27 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near dirty word

dirty pool

dirty rice

dirty tricks

dirty word




Statistics for dirty word

Last Updated

5 May 2019

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Time Traveler for dirty word

The first known use of dirty word was circa 1774

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on dirty word

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dirty word

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dirty word

Comments on dirty word

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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