dirty word


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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web But sometimes anthropomorphizing gets treated as a dirty word. Emmett Lindner, New York Times, 11 Aug. 2023 In an industry where aging is treated like a dirty word, Sophie Carbonari likes to curse. Caitlin Raux Gunther, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 Apr. 2023 Exclusivity can’t be a dirty word in the luxury vocabulary. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2023 While pretentiousness might be a dirty word for a lot of British people, wouldn’t life be dull without it? Daisy Jones, Vogue, 26 Jan. 2023 That’s not necessarily a dirty word. Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2022 To conservatives, equity has become a dirty word. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Aug. 2021 In many industries, regulation is a dirty word. Jaime Leverton, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 In Gaza, too, democracy is a dirty word. Robert Cherry, National Review, 13 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dirty word.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1774, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dirty word was circa 1774

Dictionary Entries Near dirty word

Cite this Entry

“Dirty word.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dirty%20word. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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