Dirt is earth or soil — it's the substance that makes up the dry surfaces of our planet. Gardeners spend a lot of time digging in the dirt, planting seeds and pulling up weeds.

Dirt is the fine rock that makes up soil, but it also means anything unclean: "Do something about the dust and dirt in this room before our guests arrive!" When you know something embarrassing about another person, especially juicy gossip, you can call that information dirt as well — this meaning was coined by Ernest Hemingway in 1926. The word comes from the Old English drytt, "mud, dirt, or dung."

Definitions of dirt
  1. noun
    the part of the earth's surface consisting of humus and disintegrated rock
    synonyms: soil
    see moresee less
    show 47 types...
    hide 47 types...
    a loose and crumbling earthy deposit consisting mainly of calcite or dolomite; used as a fertilizer for soils deficient in lime
    a type of soil consisting of unconsolidated material from freshly deposited alluvium or sand
    residual clay, residual soil
    the soil that is remaining after the soluble elements have been dissolved
    surface soil, topsoil
    the layer of soil on the surface
    subsoil, undersoil
    the layer of soil between the topsoil and bedrock
    alluvial soil
    a fine-grained fertile soil deposited by water flowing over flood plains or in river beds
    bog soil
    poorly drained soils on top of peat and under marsh or swamp vegetation
    a very fine-grained soil that is plastic when moist but hard when fired
    hardened clay
    desert soil, desertic soil
    a type of soil that develops in arid climates
    caliche, hardpan
    crust or layer of hard subsoil encrusted with calcium-carbonate occurring in arid or semiarid regions
    fuller's earth
    an absorbent soil resembling clay; used in fulling (shrinking and thickening) woolen cloth and as an adsorbent
    gilgai soil
    soil in the melon holes of Australia
    gumbo, gumbo soil
    any of various fine-grained silty soils that become waxy and very sticky mud when saturated with water
    partially decomposed organic matter; the organic component of soil
    indurated clay
    hardened clay
    Indian red
    a red soil containing ferric oxide; often used as a pigment
    a red soil produced by rock decay; contains insoluble deposits of ferric and aluminum oxides
    a rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand and clay and decaying organic materials
    a fine-grained unstratified accumulation of clay and silt deposited by the wind
    mold, mould
    loose soil rich in organic matter
    clay, mud
    water soaked soil; soft wet earth
    a soft oily clay used as a pigment (especially a reddish brown pigment)
    podsol, podsol soil, podsolic soil, podzol, podzol soil
    a soil that develops in temperate to cold moist climates under coniferous or heath vegetation; an organic mat over a grey leached layer
    prairie soil
    a type of soil occurring under grasses in temperate climates
    a loose material consisting of grains of rock or coral
    sedimentary clay
    clay soil formed by sedimentary deposits
    mud or clay or small rocks deposited by a river or lake
    boulder clay, till
    unstratified soil deposited by a glacier; consists of sand and clay and gravel and boulders mixed together
    tundra soil
    a black mucky soil with a frozen subsoil that is characteristic of Arctic and subarctic regions
    a dark meadow soil rich in organic material; developed through poor drainage in humid grassy or sedge regions
    the clay from which adobe bricks are made
    a white clay (especially a white clay used by potters)
    china clay, china stone, kaolin, kaoline, porcelain clay, terra alba
    a fine usually white clay formed by the weathering of aluminous minerals (as feldspar); used in ceramics and as an absorbent and as a filler (e.g., in paper)
    red clay
    clay whose redness results from iron oxide
    regur, regur soil
    a rich black loam of India
    bleaching clay, bleaching earth
    an adsorbent clay that will remove coloring from oils
    mud pie
    a mass of mud that a child has molded into the shape of pie
    chernozemic soil
    a rich black loam of Russia
    pipeclay, terra alba
    fine white clay used in making tobacco pipes and pottery and in whitening leather
    an absorbent aluminum silicate clay formed from volcanic ash
    a heat-resistant clay
    Kitty Litter
    granulated clay; placed in a container where it absorbs the waste products of a cat or dog
    potter's clay, potter's earth
    clay that does not contain any iron; used in making pottery or for modeling
    material used to daub walls
    leaf mold, leaf mould, leaf soil
    soil composed mainly of decaying leaves
    mire, slop
    deep soft mud in water or slush
    type of:
    earth, ground
    the loose soft material that makes up a large part of the land surface
  2. noun
    the state of being covered with unclean things
    synonyms: filth, grease, grime, grunge, soil, stain
    see moresee less
    type of:
    dirtiness, uncleanness
    the state of being unsanitary
  3. noun
    disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people
    synonyms: malicious gossip, scandal
    see moresee less
    type of:
    comment, gossip, scuttlebutt
    a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people
  4. noun
    obscene terms for feces
    see moresee less
    type of:
    BM, dejection, faecal matter, faeces, fecal matter, feces, ordure, stool
    solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels
  5. adjective
    (of roads) not leveled or drained; unsuitable for all year travel
    synonyms: ungraded
    not made more desirable or valuable or profitable; especially not made ready for use or marketing
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month