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From Middle English filth, from Old English fȳlþ (foulness, filth), from Proto-Germanic *fūliþō (foulness, filth), from Proto-Germanic *fūlaz (foul, corrupt, dirty, vile), from Proto-Indo-European *puH- (rottenness, pus). Equivalent to foul +‎ -th. Cognate with Dutch vuilte (filth). More at foul.


  • IPA(key): /fɪlθ/
  • (file)


filth (usually uncountable, plural filths)

  1. Dirt; foul matter; that which soils or defiles.
    Before we start cooking we need to clean up the filth in this kitchen.
  2. Smut; that which sullies or defiles the moral character; corruption; pollution.
    He spends all his time watching filth on pornographic websites.
    • Tillotson
      to purify the soul from the dross and filth of sensual delights
  3. (Britain, derogatory, slang, with definite article) The police.
    We was in the middle of stashing the money when the filth arrived.
  4. (US, agriculture, dated) Weeds growing on pasture land.
    Grampa remembers when he had to cut filth with a scythe.

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