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

n the part of the earth's surface consisting of humus and disintegrated rock

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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

n the state of being covered with unclean things

filth, grease, grime, grunge, soil, stain
Type of:
dirtiness, uncleanness
the state of being unsanitary

n disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people

malicious gossip, scandal
Type of:
comment, gossip, scuttlebutt
a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people

n obscene terms for feces

Type of:
BM, dejection, faecal matter, faeces, fecal matter, feces, ordure, stool
solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels

adj (of roads) not leveled or drained; unsuitable for all year travel

not made more desirable or valuable or profitable; especially not made ready for use or marketing

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