1 of 2


filthier; filthiest
: covered with, containing, or characterized by filth
filthy streets
filthy dishes
: obscene
filthy language
filthily adverb
filthiness noun


2 of 2


: in a filthy manner
filthy dirty
: very, exceedingly
filthy rich
Choose the Right Synonym for filthy

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 filthy in a Sentence

Adjective She's in a filthy mood. you cannot use such filthy language on the public airwaves Adverb the invention made him filthy rich
Recent Examples on the Web
Even if it’s powered with a filthy diesel generator — that’s a hypothetical — one house isn’t going to bring the global climate crashing down. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2024 Officers responding to a medical call involving McClure found a filthy home that was unsafe for children, police said in affidavits at the time. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Apr. 2024 Advertisement An oral history of ‘Strangers With Candy,’ the comedy that changed TV’s rulebook: Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello discuss the origins of their filthy, irreverent cult comedy, which premiered in 1999. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2024 The mayor grew up in a building so decrepit — filthy hallways, no private toilets, no showers — that his friends in nearby concrete towers pitied him. Catherine Porter, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2024 This week that aspiration was dealt a filthy reality check. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 10 Apr. 2024 Catherine O'Hara is not actually Macaulay Culkin's mother, ya filthy animals. Jessica Wang,, 9 Feb. 2024 After successfully putting all the filthy pinstripes through a few loads, Rodriguez appears more relaxed. Madeleine Marr, Miami Herald, 5 Apr. 2024 The stove didn’t work and there were no closets, but the ceilings were high and there was a filthy skylight in the kitchen that Randall, the property manager, told me was put in after a meteorite came through the roof in 1999. Longreads, 11 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'filthy.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of filthy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near filthy

Cite this Entry

“Filthy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


filthier; filthiest
: covered with or containing filth : disgustingly dirty

More from Merriam-Webster on filthy

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