Meaning of “dirty” in the English Dictionary

"dirty" in English

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uk /ˈdɜː.ti/ us /ˈdɝː.t̬i/

dirty adjective (NOT CLEAN)

A2 not clean:

Her face was dirty and tear-stained.

More examples

dirty adjective (NOT POLITE)

informal used to describe something that is connected with sex, in a way that many people think is offensive:

You have a really dirty mind!

dirty adjective (UNHEALTHY)

UK used to refer to unhealthy food such as burgers served in fashionable or expensive restaurants:


uk /ˈdɜː.ti/ us /ˈdɝː.t̬i/

dirtyverb [ T ]

uk /ˈdɜː.ti/ us /ˈdɝː.t̬i/

(Definition of “dirty” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"dirty" in American English

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dirtyadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /ˈdɜr·t̬i/

dirty adjective [ -er/-est only ] (NOT CLEAN)

having esp. dirt on the surface of something:

He left his dirty towels on the bathroom floor.

dirty adjective [ -er/-est only ] (UNFAIR)

unfair or dishonest:

That was a dirty tricktelling me you were out of town when you were right here all the time!

Dirty is also used to emphasize how strongly you feel that something is wrong or bad:

That’s a dirty lie!

dirtyverb [ T ]

us /ˈdɜr·t̬i/

dirty verb [ T ] (GET DIRT ON)

to allow something to get dirt on it:

Don’t sit on the ground – you’ll dirty your new suit.

(Definition of “dirty” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"dirty" in Business English

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uk /ˈdɜːti/ us

unfair or dishonest:

The rival company's dirty tricks campaign had cost it many millions of pounds.

ENVIRONMENT containing dangerous substances that may be harmful to the environment:

dirty air
dirty coal plants
do sb's dirty work

to do something unpleasant or difficult for someone because they do not want to do it themselves:

The building societies have done the chancellor's dirty work for him, by cutting the cost of a mortgage in anticipation of a base rate cut.
quick and dirty

produced quickly and without spending much money:

Developers make quick and dirty versions of the final product so that the client can interact with it and provide feedback.

(Definition of “dirty” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)