Dirty (verb)

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

In spite of looking it up in good dictionaries (including W.R), I still couldn't figure out if "dirty" (= make something or somebody dirty) can be used as a verb in everyday conversation. My question: Does "dirty" sound natural/correct in the examples I made below?

a. [Mother says to her son]: John, stop dirtying me! Look at all the mud you got on your face.
b. Take off your shoes or you'll dirty the floor I just cleaned.
c. When the baby poos he dirties the diapers.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If the child has mud on its face, why would the mother say 'stop dirtying me'? She'd say 'Stop getting yourself dirty!' It doesn't make sense.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Why is the child touching the mother at all, much less rubbing his face on her? Can we have some sensible examples about flying pigs and talking trees? ;)
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    One last question:

    Is it just me or "dirty" as a verb (= make dirty, not clean) cannot be used to refer to people? For example: don't dirty me, the boy dirtied John, she is dirtying her mother, etc. Is "dirty" a verb that is exclusive for things (to dirty something)?

    Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited:

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    I've just finished looking that up in all dictionaries available online and "dirty" (as a verb = make dirty, not clean) ) is used exclusively for things not people.

    But I'd like to have a native speaker's confirmation. Maybe it's just the dictionaries.
     
    It's not just the dictionaries. Yes, I'd say it's used for things,

    (Now, someone can use crude swear words to and about someone, "talk dirty to/about someone" and make them feel dirty (morally disgusted, repelled by the filthy mind and words of the utterer, but then we're discussing metaphorical dirt, unclean thoughts, not physical grime.)

    Back to physical grime. :)

    You can get someone dirty which means somehow physically transferring the dirt on your body or clothes or tools by brushing against them:

    "The boy playing soccer got dirt all over John, who had been sitting in the stands when the boy accidentally ran into the crowd."

    Or, you can preemptively warn someone covered in grime when you see them approaching you: "Whoa, stop. Don't get that dirt on me. Go upstairs and dump those rags in the hamper, and wash up before coming back down."
     
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