Meaning of DIRTY in English


(dirtier, dirtiest, dirties, ~ing, dirtied)

Frequency: The word is one of the 3000 most common words in English.


If something is ~, it is marked or covered with stains, spots, or mud, and needs to be cleaned.

She still did not like the woman who had ~ fingernails...

= grubby

? clean



To ~ something means to cause it to become ~.

He was afraid the dog’s hairs might ~ the seats...



If you describe an action as ~, you disapprove of it and consider it unfair, immoral, or dishonest.

The gunman had been hired by a rival Mafia family to do the ~ deed.

ADJ: usu ADJ n disapproval

Dirty is also an adverb.

Jim Browne is the kind of fellow who can fight ~.

ADV: ADV after v


If you describe something such as a joke, a book, or someone’s language as ~, you mean that it refers to sex in a way that some people find offensive.

They told ~ jokes and sang raucous ballads...

ADJ: usu ADJ n

Dirty is also an adverb.

I’m often asked whether the men talk ~ to me. The answer is no.

ADV: ADV after v


Dirty is used before words of criticism to emphasize that you do not approve of someone or something. (INFORMAL)

You ~ liar.

ADJ: ADJ n emphasis


If you say that someone washes their ~ linen in public, you disapprove of their discussing or arguing about unpleasant or private things in front of other people. There are several other forms of this expression, for example wash your ~ laundry in public, or in American English, air your ~ laundry in public.

We shouldn’t wash our ~ laundry in public and if I was in his position, I’d say nothing at all.

PHRASE: V inflects disapproval


If someone gives you a ~ look, they look at you in a way which shows that they are angry with you. (INFORMAL)

Michael gave him a ~ look and walked out.

PHRASE: N inflects, PHR after v


Dirty old man is an expression some people use to describe an older man who they think shows an unnatural interest in sex.

PHRASE: N inflects, usu v-link PHR disapproval


To do someone’s ~ work means to do a task for them that is dishonest or unpleasant and which they do not want to do themselves.

As a member of an elite army hit squad, the army would send us out to do their ~ work for them.

PHRASE: V inflects


If you say that an expression is a ~ word in a particular group of people, you mean it refers to an idea that they strongly dislike or disagree with.

Marketing became a ~ word at the company.

PHRASE: v-link PHR

Collins COBUILD.      Толковый словарь английского языка для изучающих язык Коллинз COBUILD (международная база данных языков Бирмингемского университета) .