from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Covered or marked with dirt or an unwanted substance; unclean.
  • adjective Spreading dirt; polluting.
  • adjective Apt to soil with dirt or grime.
  • adjective Contaminated with bacteria or other infectious microorganisms.
  • adjective Squalid or filthy; run-down.
  • adjective Obscene or indecent.
  • adjective Lewd or lecherous.
  • adjective Unethical or corrupt; sordid.
  • adjective Malicious or scandalous.
  • adjective Not sportsmanlike.
  • adjective Acquired by illicit or improper means.
  • adjective Slang Possessing or using illegal drugs.
  • adjective Unpleasant or distasteful; thankless.
  • adjective Extremely unfortunate or regrettable.
  • adjective Expressing disapproval or hostility.
  • adjective Not bright and clear in color; somewhat dull or drab. Often used in combination.
  • adjective Relating to or being a bomb that uses a conventional explosive and radioactive material to contaminate an area with low-level radiation.
  • adjective Relating to or being a nuclear weapon that produces a very great amount of long-lived radioactive fallout.
  • adjective Stormy; rough.
  • intransitive verb To make soiled.
  • intransitive verb To stain or tarnish with dishonor.
  • intransitive verb To become soiled.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Consisting of or imparting dirt or filth; causing foulness; soiling: as, a dirt mixture; dirt work.
  • Characterized by dirt; unclean; not cleanly; sullied: as, dirty hands; dirty employment.
  • Appearing as if soiled; dark-colored; impure; dingy.
  • Morally unclean or impure; base; low; despicable; groveling: as, a dirty fellow; a dirty job or trick.
  • Repulsive to sensitive feeling; disagreeable; disgusting.
  • Foul; muddy; squally; rainy; sloppy; uncomfortable: said of the weather or of roads.
  • Unclean, soiled, sullied, begrimed.
  • 4 and Vile, scurvy, shabby, sneaking, despicable, contemptible, gross, obscene.
  • To defile; make filthy; soil; befoul: as, to dirty the clothes or hands.
  • To soil or tarnish morally; sully.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To foul; to make filthy; to soil.
  • transitive verb To tarnish; to sully; to scandalize; -- said of reputation, character, etc.
  • adjective Defiled with dirt; foul; nasty; filthy; not clean or pure; serving to defile
  • adjective Sullied; clouded; -- applied to color.
  • adjective Sordid; base; groveling.
  • adjective Sleety; gusty; stormy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Unclean; covered with or containing unpleasant substances such as dirt or grime.
  • adjective That makes one unclean; corrupting, infecting.
  • adjective Morally unclean; obscene or indecent, especially sexually.
  • adjective Dishonourable; violating accepted standards or rules.
  • adjective Corrupt, illegal, or improper.
  • adjective Out of tune.
  • adjective Of color, discolored by impurities.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From dirt +‎ -y.


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  • Once the race began, he was a ruthless competitor some preferred the term "dirty" who never seemed to go at less than his upper limit.

    'Aggression With Lucidity' Richard B. Woodward 2011

  • He had had an experience of moderately dirty weather -- the term dirty as applied to the weather implying only moderate discomfort to the seaman.

    Typhoon, and other stories 1902

  • He had had an experience of moderately dirty weather -- the term dirty as applied to the weather implying only moderate discomfort to the seaman.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad 1890

  • The reviewer is so enthralled with what he calls the "dirty linen" aspect of the story that he misses the actual and far more interesting narrative thread.

    Styron Did Great Things and Destructive Ones, Too 2011

  • They are using the donkey to draw water from what we called the "dirty well."

    Photo Essay: Peace Corps Volunteers Share 50 Years of Memories 2011

  • BUNGAY, England — The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears the United States is preparing to indict him, but insisted that the government secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he calls a dirty tricks campaign against him.

    WikiLeaks Founder: U.S. Indictment Coming AP 2010

  • MESERVE: Sabrina Boyd alleges that the FBI played what she calls a dirty trick on Monday.

    CNN Transcript Jul 29, 2009 2009

  • And I think probably people would be surprised at what you call your dirty dozen, the universities and colleges that are the worst offenders.

    CNN Transcript Mar 12, 2009 2009

  • MESERVE: Sabrina Boyd alleges that the FBI played what she called a dirty trick on her family.

    CNN Transcript Jul 29, 2009 2009

  • JERAS: Well, if you're going east, you're definitely going to be on what we call the dirty side of the storm, where you're going to have that on shore flow of the wind.

    CNN Transcript Aug 30, 2008 2008

  • A less common but still widespread variation, variously known as totchos, tochos, tachos, and dirty tots, improves on the original with with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa, and other nacho toppings.

    Meet the Portland man who invented totchos Ben Waterhouse | For The Oregonian/OregonLive 2019


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  • "For example, dirty is a rapidly changing word; currently there are 46 different ways of saying it in the Indo-European languages, all words that are unrelated to each other. As a result, it is likely to die out soon in English, along with stick and guts.

    Verbs also tend to change quite quickly, so push, turn, wipe and stab appear to be heading for the lexicographer's chopping block."

    - 'Oldest English words' identified , BBC website, 26 Feb 2009.

    February 26, 2009

  • Interesting article, but it implies that there are words that are the similar enough in modern Indo-European languages as to be intelligible across languages. No examples of such are given.

    February 26, 2009

  • The article sounds like almost complete nonsense to me, and there are obvious mistakes in it, but what I think they're claiming is that concepts that happen to have changed to different words historically in IE are in fact intrinsically likely to change at about that rate. And they've calibrated it on the Swadesh 200 list. So the fact that all* IE languages preserve reflexes of the same word 'new' means we can predict that all Semitic languages will have a common word for "new" too, and pretty much all Austronesian languages will have kept theirs . . .

    * Oh, except Albanian.

    I keep refreshing Language Log, waiting for their hatchet job on this.

    February 26, 2009

  • Ullo John go' a new mo'or?

    February 26, 2009

  • Aaand bang on time is Mark Liberman's hatchet job.

    February 27, 2009