throw dirt

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throw dirt (third-person singular simple present throws dirt, present participle throwing dirt, simple past threw dirt, past participle thrown dirt)

  1. To fling dust or similar.
  2. (figuratively) To make derogatory or malicious allegations, particularly about people in public life.
    • 1759, John Wesley, letter to John Downes, Rector of St. Michael's, Wood Street, read at Wesley Center Online at [1] on 14 Oct 06.
      I hope...that you are ignorant of the whole affair, and are so bold only because you are blind...And blind enough; so that you blunder on through thick and thin, bespattering all that come in your way, according to the old, laudable maxim, 'Throw dirt enough, and some will stick.'
    • 1827, Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider, Hugh James Rose, Apology for the modern theology of Protestant Germany, or a review of ... 'The state of the Protestant religion in Germany' by Hugh James Rose, tr. by W.A. Evanson, p. 15,
      Jortin however has pithily remarked, "It requires something of a hand even to throw dirt." The Reviewer, though no tyro, is still a bungler in that trade.
    • 2003, Christopher M. Sterba, Good Americans: Italian and Jewish Immigrants in the First World War, Oxford University Press, p. 74,
      The editors condemned the claims of one of the board members, that he was "acting in full accord with [what] the Forward was preaching," as an attempt to discredit the paper's principled opposition to the war, and characterized his plea as "an effort to throw dirt upon the entire East Side."