American English

Definition of dirt noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1any substance that makes something dirty, for example dust, soil, or mud His clothes were covered in dirt. First remove any grease or dirt from the surface. The problem with white is that it easily shows the dirt.
  2. 2loose earth or soil He picked up a handful of dirt and threw it at them. Pack the dirt firmly around the plants. They lived in a shack with a dirt floor. Thesaurussoildirt mud dust clay land earth groundThese are all words for the top layer of the earth in which plants grow.soil the top layer of the earth in which plants grow:Plant the seedlings in damp soil.dirt soil, especially loose soil:Pack the dirt firmly around the plants.mud wet soil that is soft and sticky:The car got stuck in the mud.dust a fine powder that consists of very small pieces of rock, earth, etc:A cloud of dust rose as the truck pulled away.clay a type of heavy sticky soil that becomes hard when it is baked and is used to make things such as pots and bricks:The tiles are made of an area of ground, especially of a particular type:an area of rich, fertile landearth the substance that plants grow in or where people are buried after they dieground an area of soil:The ground was still wet from the rain. They drove across miles of rough, rocky ground. Ground is not used for loose soil:a handful of dry groundPatterns good/rich soil/land/earth fertile/infertile soil/land/ground to dig (at/in) the soil/mud/clay/land/earth/ground to cultivate/plow the soil/land/earth
  3. 3(informal) unpleasant or harmful information about someone that could be used to damage their reputation, career, etc. Do you have any dirt on the new guy?
  4. 4(informal) = excrement dog dirt
  5. Idioms
    dish the dirt (on somebody) (informal)
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    to tell people unkind or unpleasant things about someone, especially about their private life She loves to dish the dirt on her sisters.
    drag somebody's name through the dirt/mud
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    to harm someone's reputation by saying bad things about them
    hit the deck/dirt/ground (informal)
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    to fall to the ground
    hit/strike pay dirt (informal)
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    to suddenly be in a successful situation, especially one that makes you rich The band really hit pay dirt with their last album.
    treat somebody like dirt (informal)
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    to treat someone with no respect at all They treat their workers like dirt.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: dirt