1 adjective
dirt‧y1 S2 W3 comparative dirtier, superlative dirtiest

not clean

covered in or marked by an unwanted substance [≠ clean]:
a stack of dirty dishes in the sink
How did you get so dirty?
dirty clothes/washing/laundry
She circled the bedroom, picking up dirty clothes.


relating to sex, in a way that is considered immoral or unpleasant:
kids telling dirty jokes
a dirty magazine
She looked at me as if I had said a dirty word.
have a dirty mind British English (=think about sex a lot)
dirty weekend British English (=a weekend when a man and woman who are not married to each other go away to have sex)


used to emphasize that you think someone or something is bad, dishonest, or immoral:
You're a dirty liar!
a dirty fighter
you and your dirty little deals
do the dirty on somebody British English (=treat someone in a way that is unfair or dishonest)
What a dirty trick!

something is a dirty word

if something is a dirty word, people believe it is a bad thing even if they do not know or think much about it [= swear word]:
'Liberal' has somehow become a dirty word in America.

give somebody a dirty look

to look at someone in a very disapproving way:
Susan gave her brother a dirty look.

dirty trick

a dishonest or unfair action, especially done by a government, company, or organization:
political dirty tricks

wash your dirty linen/laundry

also air your dirty laundry American English to discuss something embarrassing or bad about yourself where everyone can see, know, or hear:
The divorce has meant airing their dirty laundry in court.

do somebody's dirty work

to do an unpleasant or dishonest action for someone, so that they do not have to do it themselves:
I'm not talking to him; you do your own dirty work!

it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it

used to say that something is unpleasant to do, but that it is necessary - often used humorously


MDD American English informal containing or possessing illegal drugs

dirty bomb

a bomb that contains a radioactive substance which makes the bomb more dangerous than bombs containing only traditional explosives


a dirty sports event is one in which people competing in the event have illegally used drugs to improve their performance:
Many people think that the race has been a dirty event for years.
dirtily adverb
similar words: filthy, grubby, grimy, mucky British English, muddy, greasy, dusty, soiled, contaminated, polluted

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