: foul or putrid matter
especially : loathsome dirt or refuse
: moral corruption or defilement
: something that tends to corrupt or defile

Example Sentences

He emerged from the cellar covered in filth. the filth of the slaughterhouse living in filth and squalor
Recent Examples on the Web The jeans are gray with filth and dotted with wax from candles, which would’ve been attached to bands around the 19th-century miners’ heads. Erika Mailman, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Oct. 2022 One man slept on a sidewalk in the rain with trash, food and filth littered around him on West 43rd Street this past Sunday morning, exactly two blocks from where New York City drops its iconic New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square. Fox News, 14 Sep. 2022 Rab and his colleagues work in filth, noise and disorder treating mental illness that is often compounded by poor health, physical injury, developmental disability, trauma and substance abuse. Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2022 The civil rights group cited filth and degradation, saying a growing number of mentally ill inmates are chained to chairs for days or left to sleep on a concrete floor without bedding. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 More than half of the world’s population now reside in cities, and while in 2020 there were 579 cities with more than one million people, cities are still often decried as places of filth, contagion, pollution, corruption and inequality. Shlomo Angel, WSJ, 12 July 2022 The unit, which cares for some of VA’s most vulnerable veterans, is allegedly plagued by filth and has disregarded COVID-19 protocols throughout the pandemic. Katherine Landergan, ajc, 31 Aug. 2022 The kidnappers demanded $5 million ransom as their victims were held in deplorable conditions, with the stench of vomit and filth intensified by the searing California heat. Amir Vera And Taylor Romine, CNN, 17 Aug. 2022 Julia and her husband toured wartime Washington, D.C., in November 1861, with Dr. Howe on duty for the federal Sanitary Commission at a time when filth and disease were deadly issues in military camps. Fox News, 2 July 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English fȳlth, from fūl foul

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of filth was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near filth

Cite this Entry

“Filth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: disgusting dirt or waste
: something that tends to disgust, offend, or dirty

More from Merriam-Webster on filth

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