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See also: Dirt and DIRT


Dirt (sense 1, noun).

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English drit (excrement), from Old Norse drit (excrement), from Proto-Germanic *dritą, *dritō (excrement), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰreyd-, *treydʰ- (to have diarrhea). Cognate with Norwegian dritt (excrement), Icelandic drit (bird excrement), Dutch drijten (to defecate), drits (dirt, mud, filth) and drijt, dreet (excrement), Low German drieten (to defecate), Driet (shit), regional German Driss (shit), Old English ġedrītan (to defecate).



dirt (usually uncountable, plural dirts)

  1. (chiefly US) Soil or earth.
  2. A stain or spot (on clothes etc); any foreign substance that worsens appearance.
    Synonym: filth
  3. Previously unknown facts or rumors about a person.
    Synonyms: gossip, kompromat
    The reporter uncovered the dirt on the businessman by going undercover.
    • 2011, David Puttnam, Movies and Money, Vintage, →ISBN:
      Perhaps inevitably, as the manipulation of the stars' public images became ever more rigorous, so too did the efforts of gossip columnists such as Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper to uncover dirt and scandal.
  4. (figurative) Meanness; sordidness.
    • 1810, W. Melmoth, transl., Letters of Pliny:
      honours [] thrown away upon dirt and infamy
  5. (mining) In placer mining, earth, gravel, etc., before washing.
  6. Freckles.
    • 1983, Pat Phoenix, Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt[1], page 158:
      I'm one of Charlie's Angels too, but I'm the one with the dirty face.
    • 2005, Kevin O'Hara, Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man's Journey Through Ireland[2], page 244:
      a dirty-faced redhead poked a soiled kerchief beneath my nose, and charmlessly wheedled, "Spare coppers, mister, Spare coppers!" This runny-nosed waif, a "knacker" in the Dublin vernacular, was of the traveling breed who had of late given up their painted wagons for the grimy ghettos of the city. The child -God Bless the Mark- had freckles that splotched her face as though God had applied them too hurriedly with a blunt brush.
    • 2016, Lindsay Bowman, To The Girls With Dirt On Their Faces[3]:
      Whatever you love about your freckles, they make you unique and beautiful. Don't always feel that you need to clean that dirt off your face with that foundation powder or contour layers. You're naturally beautiful as you are!

Derived terms[edit]



dirt (third-person singular simple present dirts, present participle dirting, simple past and past participle dirted)

  1. (transitive, rare) To make foul or filthy; soil; befoul; dirty