do dirt(y) on/to you, do you dirt(y)

< Previous | Next >

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
I hear people say [1] 'she did dirt on you' to mean 'she ruined your reputation.' But most dictionaries list only 'to you,' and 'did you dirt,' not 'on you.' Would you use the 'on you' variant? Could you use 'dirty' for 'dirt' interchangeably for all the 'dirt' examples?

[1] She did dirt on you.
[2] She did dirt to you.
[3] She did you dirt.
[4] She did dirty on you.
[5] She did dirty to you.
[6] She did you dirty.
 
  • HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hmmm, okay. Yes:), I trust in testimonials of native speakers more than what dictionaries say.

    Just a little look at what they say:
    do someone dirt
    (also do dirt to someone)
    informal harm someone's reputation maliciously
    (Oxford Dictionary)
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hmmm, okay. Yes:), I trust in testimonials of native speakers more than what dictionaries say.

    Just a little look at what they say:
    do someone dirt
    (also do dirt to someone)
    informal harm someone's reputation maliciously
    (Oxford Dictionary)
    The URL for your link includes the phrase "region=us". Perhaps that's why I'm not familiar with either "to do someone dirt" or "to do dirt to someone", HSS. :)
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    I have to open back again this thread guys, I hope all of you can help me.

    Is it a difference between -do the dirty (dirty) to someone- like in this case and -do the dirt (dirty) on someone ?

    What about - to give the dirt on somebody - ??

    Thanks a lot
     

    ALEX1981X

    Banned
    Italian
    Thank you Enquiry. After having read your links it seem there are a subtle difference between the two.
    Give the dirt on someone, as you said, refers to somebody's past of which somebody else tries to reveal secret aspect.
    -Do the dirty on someone- is, as Oxford link says, to harm someone's reputation maliciously.
    To me both these two idioms are used to harm or to behave dishonestly and unfairly with somebody.

    The difference is in the time reference or am I completely off track ??
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    It's not really time reference, and it's true, they have a similar sort of meaning.
    If I give the dirt on someone, I might, for example, tell other people (or a newspaper) that I saw a married man flirting with other women at a party, or that someone has been in prison for a serious crime. It's usually spreading malicious information.

    If I do the dirty on someone, I treat them badly, or cheat them. It's usually doing something dishonourable.
    My friend borrowed 500 euros and promised to pay me back the next day, then he did the dirty on me and emigrated to Australia.
    My friend made a young girl pregnant and promised to marry her, but then he did the dirty on her by leaving her and marrying someone else.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    ...
    [1] She did dirt on you.
    [2] She did dirt to you.
    [3] She did you dirt.
    [4] She did dirty on you.
    [5] She did dirty to you.
    [6] She did you dirty.
    I don't hear any of these from the people around me or from television. I don't read any of them either.
    I believe I've heard #6. I don't consider any of the others colloquial English.
    Hmmm, okay. Yes:), I trust in testimonials of native speakers more than what dictionaries say.

    Just a little look at what they say:
    do someone dirt
    (also do dirt to someone)
    informal harm someone's reputation maliciously
    (Oxford Dictionary)
    The URL for your link includes the phrase "region=us". Perhaps that's why I'm not familiar with either "to do someone dirt" or "to do dirt to someone", HSS. :)
    In British English, the phrase is to do the dirty on someone, see idioms 3. ...
    I'm now starting to wonder if maybe adding 'the' to my initial examples makes them valid. (And, I mean, here 'the' doesn't mean referring back to the 'harming' that would be mentioned earlier)

    [1] She did the dirt on you.
    [2] She did the dirt to you.
    [3] She did you the dirt.
    [4] She did the dirty on you.
    [5] She did the dirty to you.
    [6] She did you the dirty.
     
    Last edited:

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm now starting to wonder if maybe adding 'the' to my initial examples makes them valid. (And, I mean, here 'the' doesn't mean referring back to the 'harming' that would be mentioned earlier)

    [1] She did the dirt on you. I've never heard this.
    [2] She did the dirt to you. I've never heard this.
    [3] She did you the dirt. I've never heard this.
    [4] She did the dirty on you. I've heard this :).
    [5] She did the dirty to you. I've never heard this.
    [6] She did you the dirty. I've never heard this.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Like sound shift, I am only familiar with (4), with the meaning as given by Enquiring Mind. Cambridge Dictionary says:

    do the dirty on sb
    UK informal

    Definition
    to behave unfairly towards someone, usually without their knowledge
    He can't forgive her for doing the dirty on him and having an affair with his best friend.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There's also "to dish the dirt on someone", an informal expression meaning "to reveal scandal or gossip" (WR dictionary) and therefore similar to Enquiring Mind's "to give the dirt" (an expression with which I was not familiar).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top