views updated Jun 27 2018

dirt / dərt/ • n. a substance, such as mud or dust, that soils someone or something: his face was covered in dirt. ∎  loose soil or earth; the ground: the soldier sagged to the dirt. ∎  [usu. as adj.] earth used to make a surface for a road, floor, or other area of ground: a dirt road. ∎ short for dirt track. ∎ inf. excrement: a lawn covered in dog dirt. ∎  a state or quality of uncleanliness: Pittsburgh used to be renowned for the sweat and dirt of industry. ∎ inf. gossip, esp. information about someone's activities or private life that could prove damaging if revealed: is there any dirt on Desmond? ∎  obscene or sordid material: we object to the dirt that television projects into homes. ∎ inf. a worthless or contemptible person or thing: she treats him like dirt.PHRASES: do someone dirt inf. harm someone's reputation maliciously.drag the name of someone (or something) through the dirt inf. give someone or something a bad reputation through bad behavior or damaging revelations: he condemned players for dragging the name of football through the dirt.eat dirt inf. suffer insults or humiliation: the film bombed at the box office and the critics made it eat dirt.ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old Norse drit ‘excrement,’ an early sense in English.


views updated May 14 2018

119. Dirt

See also 84. CLEANLINESS ; 377. SOIL

a devotion to or worship of filth and obscenity.
Rare. an abnormal fear of being dirty.
feculence, feculency
1. the condition of being befouled or besmirched.
2. the material causing this condition. feculent , adj.
1. the state or condition of being sooty or smoky.
2. soot or smoke. fuliginous , adj.
the state or quality of being blemished, stained, or spotted, as with dirt. Also maculation . maculate, adj.
misophobia, musophobia, mysophobia
an abnormal fear of dirt, especially of being contaminated by dirt.
an abnormal attraction to filth.
an abnormal fear of filth.


views updated May 18 2018

dirt throw dirt enough, and some will stick persistent slander will in the end be believed. Saying recorded from the mid 17th century; a similar Latin proverb is, ‘calumniare fortiter, et aliquid adhaerebit [slander strongly and some will stick].’

See also we must eat a peck of dirt before we die.


views updated May 23 2018

dirt excrement; unclean matter XIII; soil XVII. ME. drit — ON., corr. to MDu. drēte (Du dreet), rel. to the vb. OE. ġedrītan, ON. drīta, MDu. drīten (Du. drijten) void excrement.