1. any foul or filthy substance, as mud, grime, dust, or excrement.
  2. earth or soil, especially when loose.
  3. something or someone vile, mean, or worthless: After that last outburst of hers I thought she was dirt.
  4. moral filth; vileness; corruption.
  5. obscene or lewd language: to talk dirt.
  6. Informal. gossip, especially of a malicious, lurid, or scandalous nature: Tell me all the latest dirt.
  7. private or personal information which if made public would create a scandal or ruin the reputation of a person, company, etc.
  8. Mining.
    1. crude, broken ore or waste.
    2. (in placer mining) the material from which gold is separated by washing.
  1. do (someone) dirt. dirty(def 18).
  2. eat dirt, Informal. to accept blame, guilt, criticism, or insults without complaint; humble or abase oneself: The prosecutor seemed determined to make the defendant eat dirt.


  1. any unclean substance, such as mud, dust, excrement, etc; filth
  2. loose earth; soil
    1. packed earth, gravel, cinders, etc, used to make a racetrack
    2. (as modifier)a dirt track
  3. mining the gravel or soil from which minerals are extracted
  4. a person or thing regarded as worthless
  5. obscene or indecent speech or writing
  6. slang gossip; scandalous information
  7. moral corruption
  8. do someone dirt slang to do something vicious to someone
  9. dish the dirt informal to spread malicious gossip
  10. eat dirt slang to accept insult without complaining
  11. treat someone like dirt to have no respect or consideration for someone

15c. metathesis of Middle English drit, drytt “mud, dirt, dung” (c.1300), from Old Norse drit, cognate with Old English dritan “to void excrement,” from Proto-Germanic *dritanan (cf. Dutch drijten, Old High German trizan).

Used abusively of persons from c.1300. Meaning “gossip” first attested 1926 (in Hemingway); dirt bike is 1960s. Dirt-cheap is from 1821. Dirt road attested by 1852.

In addition to the idiom beginning with dirt

  • dirt cheap
  • dirty joke
  • dirty look, give a
  • dirty one’s hands
  • dirty tricks
  • dirty work

also see:

  • dig up (dirt)
  • dish the dirt
  • eat crow (dirt)
  • hit the deck (dirt)
  • pay dirt
  • treat like dirt

Also see underdirty.

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