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From Middle English dirti, alteration of earlier dritti, equivalent to dirt +‎ -y. See also drite.



dirty (comparative dirtier, superlative dirtiest)

  1. Unclean; covered with or containing unpleasant substances such as dirt or grime.
    • 1905, George Bernard Shaw, The author's apology from Mrs. Warren's Profession, page 61:
      Many persons are more comfortable when they are dirty than when they are clean; but that does not recommend dirt as a national policy.
    Despite a walk in the rain, my shoes weren't too dirty.
  2. That makes one unclean; corrupting, infecting.
    Don't put that in your mouth, dear. It's dirty.
  3. Morally unclean; obscene or indecent, especially sexually.
    At the reception, Uncle Nick got drunk and told dirty jokes to the bridesmaids.
  4. Dishonourable; violating accepted standards or rules.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. [] Partly, this is a result of how online advertising has traditionally worked: advertisers pay for clicks, and a click is a click, however it's obtained.
    He might have scored, but it was a dirty trick that won him the penalty.
  5. Corrupt, illegal, or improper.
    I won't accept your dirty money!
  6. Out of tune.
    You need to tune that guitar: the G string sounds dirty.
  7. Of color, discolored by impurities.
    The old flag was a dirty white.
  8. (computing) Containing data needing to be written back to memory or disk.
    Occasionally it reads the sector into a dirty buffer, which means it needs to sync the dirty buffer first.
  9. (slang) Carrying illegal drugs among one's possessions or inside of one's bloodstream.
    None of y'all get into my car if you're dirty.
  10. (informal) Used as an intensifier, especially in conjunction with "great".
    He lives in a dirty great mansion.
  11. Sleety; gusty; stormy.
    • M. Arnold
      Storms of wind, clouds of dust, an angry, dirty sea.
    • Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
      Rain type 17 was a dirty blatter battering against his windscreen so hard that it didn't make much odds whether he had his wipers on or off.
    dirty weather



  • (covered with or containing dirt): clean
  • (violating accepted standards or rules): sportsmanlike
  • (of color: discolored by impurities): bright, pure

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


dirty (comparative more dirty, superlative most dirty)

  1. In a dirty manner.
    to play dirty


Derived termsEdit



dirty (third-person singular simple present dirties, present participle dirtying, simple past and past participle dirtied)

  1. (transitive) To make (something) dirty.
  2. (transitive) To stain or tarnish (somebody) with dishonor.
  3. (transitive) To debase by distorting the real nature of (something).
  4. (intransitive) To become soiled.