dirty

adjective
\ ˈdər-tē How to pronounce dirty (audio) \
dirtier; dirtiest

Definition of dirty

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : not clean or pure dirty clothes dirty fingernails
b : likely to befoul or defile with a soiling substance (such as mud, dust, or grime) dirty jobs
c : contaminated with infecting organisms dirty wounds
d : containing impurities dirty coal
2a : morally unclean or corrupt: such as
(1) : indecent, vulgar dirty jokes a dirty movie
(2) : dishonorable, base a dirty trick
(3) : unsportsmanlike dirty players
b : acquired by disreputable or illegal means : ill-gotten dirty money
c : disagreeable, distasteful, or objectionable but usually necessary (as in achieving a desired result) hired a thug to do their dirty work
3a : abominable, hateful war is a dirty business
b : highly regrettable a dirty shame
c : likely to cause disgrace or scandal dirty little secrets
4 : foggy, stormy dirty weather
5a of color : not clear and bright : dullish dirty blond
b music : characterized by a husky, rasping, or raw tonal quality dirty trumpet tones
6 : conveying ill-natured resentment gave him a dirty look

dirty

adverb
dirtier; dirtiest

Definition of dirty (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a dirty (see dirty entry 1) manner: such as
a : deceptively, underhandedly fight dirty
b : indecently talk dirty

dirty

verb
dirtied; dirtying

Definition of dirty (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to soil with a substance (such as mud or grime) : to make dirty (see dirty entry 1) dirtied my new shoes
2a : to stain with dishonor : sully tried to dirty his reputation
b : to debase by distorting the real nature of … their religion took most of the rural whites' pleasures away from them, dirtying sex and the human body until it was a nasty thing …— Lillian Smith

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dirty

Adjective

dirtily \ ˈdər-​tə-​lē How to pronounce dirtily (audio) \ adverb
dirtiness \ ˈdər-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce dirtiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dirty

Adjective

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it. a dirty littered street filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears. a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking. a foul-smelling open sewer nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness. it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable. had a nasty fall his answer gave her a nasty shock squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect. squalid slums All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness don't ask me to do your dirty work , while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior filthy street language a foul story of lust and greed , and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness. a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness. engaged in a series of squalid affairs

Examples of dirty in a Sentence

Adjective

All my socks are dirty. Try not to get your clothes dirty. I can't breathe this dirty city air. The baby has a dirty diaper. I hate listening to his dirty jokes.

Adverb

Watch out for her. She plays dirty. He usually wins because he fights dirty.

Verb

Take off your shoes to keep from dirtying the floor. Her fingers were dirtied with ink.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The dirty needles pose significant health risks, and not only to those who use them. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston picks up 14,000 discarded needles each week," 4 Sep. 2019 Also, change the oil every 3,000 miles or so, because newer, cleaner oil will burn less quickly than old, dirty oil. courant.com, "Car Talk: Don’t spin out this summer," 1 Sep. 2019 Butler is your classic, in-line dirty work tight end along the lines of Lee Smith. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Who’s in, who’s out: Analyzing Raiders initial 53-man roster," 31 Aug. 2019 Keeping backup filters on hand is a smart move, as a dirty filter is an ineffective filter. Graham Hiemstra, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Your HVAC System Ready for Winter," 29 Aug. 2019 But those two players being gone opens the door for even bigger players to come in who play even dirtier. Bruce Fretts, New York Times, "‘Yellowstone’ Proves There Is Still an Appetite for TV Westerns," 28 Aug. 2019 Cameras captured Gigi and Bella leaving an apartment in New York City and then on the VMAs red carpet, both sporting dirty-blonde looks. Marci Robin, Allure, "Bella and Gigi Hadid Are Twinning With Their Matching Blonde Hair at the MTV VMAs," 27 Aug. 2019 The siblings stepped out with similar dirty blonde shades tonight, and look really related. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Bella and Gigi Hadid Are Blonde Hair Twins at the 2019 VMAs," 27 Aug. 2019 She and her dance class catch the attention of some mischevious males, and the rest is dirty dance perfection. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Kygo & Whitney Houston's '80s-Esque 'Higher Love' Video Stars Vanessa Morgan: Watch," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The river has been dirtied by combined sewer overflows for years, DiZoglio said. Alyssa Lukpat, BostonGlobe.com, "Bill would form state panel to study, make plan to clean up sewage in Merrimack River," 6 Aug. 2019 In old photos, those dirtied, spattered, and knotted-up Chucks reflected the patina of famous, creative lives of iconoclasts. Kate Bowers, Fortune, "Rebooting Converse: Should the brand play hard to get?," 30 July 2019 After seeing what happens, probably not — feel free to dirty up this lifeguard look with some heinous face paint. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "These 'Stranger Things' Halloween Costume Ideas Bring You Closer to the Upside-Down," 24 July 2019 In one haunting image, the polar bear walks toward a line of cars, her paws dirtied, her head bowed in a way that seems serene, almost deferential. Michele Moses, The New Yorker, "Why the Polar Bear Is the Undisputed Image of Climate Change," 23 June 2019 For shoes, Cross chose sleek combat boots, as Beckham went for his trusty Vans, which were slightly dirtied. Vogue, "When 2 Become 1: Brooklyn Beckham and Hana Cross’s Couples Style Hits Peak Copycat," 10 Apr. 2019 Call it a 3-day-old snow scene, after the village's cars have dirtied all the white flakes. Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "10 Sneaky Ways You Fake Clean During the Holidays," 11 Dec. 2014 Until a jockey can ditch a dirtied set for a clean look, life in the fast lane is awful stressful. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "For jockeys, goggles are a necessary shield against horse racing's nastier elements," 19 May 2018 Which is generally okay! Presidents needn't dirty their hands with all of the sausage-making that happens down Pennsylvania Avenue. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "We got a glimpse of Trump negotiating today. It ... wasn't great.," 9 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of dirty

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

circa 1931, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1591, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dirty

Adjective

see dirt

Adverb

see dirt

Verb

see dirt

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dirty

Statistics for dirty

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dirty

The first known use of dirty was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dirty

dirty

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of dirty

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not clean
: indecent and offensive
: relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way

dirty

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of dirty (Entry 2 of 3)

: in an unfair or dishonest way
: in an indecent or offensive way

dirty

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dirty (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make (something) dirty

dirty

adjective
\ ˈdər-tē How to pronounce dirty (audio) \
dirtier; dirtiest

Kids Definition of dirty

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not clean dirty clothes
2 : unfair, mean a dirty trick
3 : not pleasant but usually necessary a dirty job
4 : being vulgar : not decent dirty jokes
5 : showing dislike or anger a dirty look

Other Words from dirty

dirtiness noun

dirty

adverb

Kids Definition of dirty (Entry 2 of 3)

: in an unfair or dishonest way She plays dirty.

dirty

verb
dirtied; dirtying

Kids Definition of dirty (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make or become unclean

dirty

adjective
\ ˈdərt-ē How to pronounce dirty (audio) \
dirtier; dirtiest

Medical Definition of dirty

: contaminated with infecting organisms dirty wounds

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dirty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dirty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dirty

Spanish Central: Translation of dirty

Nglish: Translation of dirty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dirty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dirty

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

WORD OF THE DAY

readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!