Definition of dirt in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəːt/


[mass noun]
1A substance, such as mud or dust, that soils someone or something: Jo wiped the dirt off her face
More example sentences
  • And these items are all covered in dust and dirt from the construction, and now sit on my windowsill.
  • I was fully dressed, my pants stained brown with dirt and dust.
  • The use of polythene cover protects it from wear and tear, dirt and dust, moisture and stains etc., and also avoids too much folding of the pages.
muck, mud, filth, mire, sludge, slime, ooze, dross, scum, pollution, waste;
informal crud, yuck, grot, gunge, grunge
1.1Soil or earth: Michael threw a handful of dirt on to the coffin [as modifier]: a dirt road
More example sentences
  • The dirt road down to the river passed by some clay banks.
  • There's this dirt road that is in almost every dream I have.
  • The 108-mile dirt road from Buchanan to Greenville has been upgraded to a four-lane highway allowing logging to continue every day of the year.
1.2 informal Excrement: a lawn covered in dog dirt
More example sentences
  • And broken vodka bottles, condoms, dog dirt and human excrement have turned the area into a menacing health hazard.
  • As well as the majority of streetlights not working, it is still deeply unpleasant due mainly to being overgrown, as well as being persistently covered with litter and dog dirt.
  • There are scenes with me cleaning up dog dirt in my glittering boots!
informal poo
North American informal poop
vulgar slang crap, shit
1.3A state or quality of uncleanliness: the sweat and dirt of industry
More example sentences
  • The very name Grimethorpe conjures up an picture of dirt, decay and desolation.
  • He also shows the underbelly of the city: its violence, flesh for hire, and atmosphere of poverty, dirt, and decay.
  • What point is there in spending a fortune in promoting Scotland as a country to visit and to do business in when the first impression is one of third-world dirt and squalor.
2 informal Information about someone’s activities or private life that could prove damaging if revealed: is there any dirt on Desmond?
More example sentences
  • Readers need some information quickly - dirt on candidates before Election Day, for instance.
  • As you sidle up close you can hear voices swapping art world gossip, platitudes and dirt on various celebs, institutions and artists.
  • Truth is that some news agencies can't wait to get dirt on the military so they can embarrass the Bush administration.
scandal, gossip, talk, revelations, rumour(s), tittle-tattle, tattle;
slander, libel, calumny;
informal low-down, gen, dope
North American informal poop



do someone dirt (also do dirt to)

informal Harm someone’s reputation maliciously.
Example sentences
  • As a rule of thumb, it is safe to assume that your subordinates, peers and superiors do not lie awake at night thinking up ways to do you dirt.
  • It is nothing more than the two men who did you dirt.
  • You never know if the guy you slam today will be in a position to do you dirt tomorrow.

drag the name of someone/thing through the dirt

informal Give someone or something a bad reputation through bad behaviour or damaging revelations.
Example sentences
  • He dragged my name through the dirt for no reason.
  • For her beliefs, angry mobs harassed her, hung her in effigy, and dragged her image through the streets, while the press dragged her name through the mud.
  • As commanding officer of the Scots Guards he told a pack of lies about Peter's murder and dragged his name through the dirt.

eat dirt

informal Suffer insults or humiliation: the film bombed at the box office and the critics made it eat dirt
More example sentences
  • Down in the garage, the Maranello worker bees buzz about tinkering with the F2002 model, which left the competition eating dirt, and fine-tuning an updated F2003 version which promises more of the same.
  • You can be rational and still find yourself eating dirt.
  • Considering he failed in a bid to become manager of Crawley Town shortly before arriving at Tynecastle, he can hardly be blamed for eating dirt at present.

treat someone like dirt

Treat someone with a complete lack of respect.
Example sentences
  • One said: ‘She's got to get rid of him - he's got no respect for her and treats her like dirt.’
  • I can guess how it feels when you wish you didn't have to smoke and for all your good intentions to give up, everyone treats you like dirt anyway.
  • But what really strikes me about those people who have housekeepers, nannies, cleaners, gardeners and so on is how they boss them about, treat them like dirt and then complain about them.


Middle English: from Old Norse drit 'excrement', an early sense in English.

  • The origin of dirt is old Scandinavian drit ‘excrement’. In its earliest uses the English word retained both the meaning and the form, but gradually dirt superseded drit. Its history parallels that of bird (earlier brid). By the time dirty appeared, in the later Middle Ages, dirt appears to have been the only form in use. The sense ‘obscene, pornographic, smutty’ dates from the 16th century, though most familiar phrases such as dirty joke and dirty weekend are first recorded in the 20th.

Words that rhyme with dirt

advert, alert, animadvert, assert, avert, Bert, blurt, Burt, cert, chert, concert, controvert, convert, curt, desert, dessert, divert, exert, flirt, girt, hurt, inert, insert, introvert, Kurt, malapert, overt, pert, quirt, shirt, skirt, spirt, spurt, squirt, Sturt, subvert, vert, wort, yurt

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dirt

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