Meaning of DIRTY in English


I. dirt ‧ y 1 S2 W3 /ˈdɜːti $ ˈdɜːr-/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative dirtier , superlative dirtiest )

1 . NOT CLEAN covered in or marked by an unwanted substance OPP 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.

2 . SEX 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)

3 . BAD/IMMORAL 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!

4 . 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 SYN swear word :

‘Liberal’ has somehow become a dirty word in America.

5 . give somebody a dirty look to look at someone in a very disapproving way:

Susan gave her brother a dirty look.

6 . dirty trick a dishonest or unfair action, especially done by a government, company, or organization:

political dirty tricks

7 . 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.

8 . do sb’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!

9 . 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

10 . DRUGS American English informal containing or possessing illegal drugs

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

12 . SPORT 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

• • •


▪ dirty not clean:

His clothes were untidy and he had dirty hands.

▪ filthy very dirty:

Each year filthy water causes millions of cases of illness.

▪ muddy covered with mud:

It had been raining hard and the path was muddy.

▪ dusty covered with dust:

the dusty shelves in the attic

▪ greasy covered with oil or grease:

Greasy food is bad for your health.

▪ grubby ( also mucky British English ) informal fairly dirty and needing to be cleaned or washed:

He was wearing a grubby white T-shirt.


mucky fingers

▪ grimy covered with thick dirt or dirt that has been there a long time:

I couldn’t see much out of the grimy windows of the train.

▪ dingy /ˈdɪndʒi/ looking dark, dirty, and unpleasant. Used about rooms, houses, and buildings:

We worked in a dingy little office behind the station.

▪ polluted used about land, water, or air that has been made dirty:

85% of city dwellers breathe heavily polluted air.

▪ contaminated made dirty by a dangerous substance or bacteria:

The virus is mainly spread through contaminated food.

▪ squalid /ˈskwɒləd, ˈskwɒlɪd $ ˈskwɑː-/ formal extremely dirty and unpleasant. Used about the place or conditions in which someone lives:

People are living in squalid conditions, with little water and no sanitation.

▪ unhygienic /ʌnhaɪˈdʒiːnɪk◂ $ -ˈdʒe-, -ˈdʒiː-/ formal used about dirty conditions that are likely to cause disease, especially conditions in kitchens, restaurants, and hospitals:

The food was prepared under unhygienic conditions.

▪ unsanitary ( also insanitary British English ) formal used about dirty conditions that are likely to cause disease, especially because there is not a good system for getting rid of waste:

People’s health is being threatened by overcrowded and insanitary homes.


They work for long hours in unsanitary conditions.

▪ soiled formal made dirty, especially by waste from your body:

Soiled nappies should be changed as quickly as possible.

II. dirty 2 BrE AmE adverb informal

1 . play dirty to behave in a very unfair and dishonest way, especially in a competition or game:

a team that plays dirty

2 . talk dirty to talk about sex using offensive words

3 . dirty great/dirty big British English spoken extremely big:

a dirty great snake

III. dirty 3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle dirtied , present participle dirtying , third person singular dirties ) [intransitive and transitive]

1 . to make something dirty

2 . to make someone feel or seem bad, dishonest, or immoral:

The army’s actions dirtied its reputation.

3 . dirty your hands to do hard physical work, in which your hands become dirty

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.