21 Most Common Synonyms for Dirty: Soiled, Grimy, Grubby,…



Refers to someone or something being covered in an unclean substance.

  • My shoes were dirty after I walked through the mud.
  • I felt dirty after working out for two hours at the gym.

There are many other words that can be substituted for dirt. Here are some of them.

1. Soiled

Means to make dirty. It’s often used when speaking about children and liquids, but it can be used in other ways too.

  • The toddler soiled his pants.

2. Grimy

Means that something is covered in an unclean substance. When something is described as grimy, it often is referring to a thin layer of uncleanliness, or uncleanliness that comes from the air.

It’s not necessarily something solid, like mud, it’s often used when speaking about something that is transparent, like air pollution.

  • Polluted cities have a grimy feel to them.

3. Grubby

Means dirty or grimmy.

  • The little boy had grubby hands after eating his lunch.

4. Filthy

Means extremely dirty. Filthy is used when someone wants to emphasize how dirty something is.

  • The little boy played in the mud all afternoon, and he was filthy.

5. Mucky

Means covered in dirt and filth.

  • The knives and forks were mucky from being left outside all day.

6. Stain

Refers to a dirty mark on a surface. The surface is often clothing, but a stain can also be a color or finish that is put on a wood surface.

  • She had grass stains all over her white dress.
  • We stained our dining room table to match our new chairs.

7. Unwashed

Means that something has not been washed. It doesn’t have to look dirty, it just has to not be cleaned.

  • She added the shirt to the pile of unwashed clothes.

8. Greasy

Means that something is covered in an oily substance. It also refers to producing more oil than normal.  It is also used to refer to food that is cooked in oil. When used in this way it is often used as a complaint that there is too much oil.

  • Our car was leaking oil and it made the driveway greasy.
  • She hadn’t washed her hair in a few days and it was greasy.
  • I like fried chicken, but sometimes it can be a little greasy.

9. Smear

Refers to a mark on something. It can be a physical mark or a negative mark on someone’s or an organization’s reputation.

  • There was mud smeared all over his pants.
  • The company’s name had been smeared by a very nasty rumor.

10. Spot

Can be used in the same way as smear. It too means a mark.

  • There was a spot on my brand new dress.

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11. Smudged

Means that something becomes dirty by rubbing or blurring something. It can be on purpose or on accident.

  • I smudge my painting to blend the blue and green to make the picture a little more yellow.

12. Cloudy

Means for something to be unclear. This is usually used with liquid or when some form of dried liquid is causing something to be unclear or not transparent. It is also used to describe the sky when it is filled with clouds.

  • I didn’t want to drink the water because it was cloudy.
  • Yesterday was a cloudy day.

13. Muddy

Means something is covered in mud.

  • My shoes were muddy.

14. Dusty

Means to be  covered in dust, which is fine dry powdery dirt.

  • The old house was dusty.

15. Sooty

Means that something is covered in soot, which is a fine dark powdery substance.

  • After being in the coal mines all day, his clothes were sooty.

16. Sullied

Means to take away the purity of something. This can be a piece of fabric or a person’s or organization’s reputation.

  • The baby had sullied his diaper.
  • After so many scandals the company’s reputation was sullied and they had to shut down.

17. Impure

Refers to something being mixed with something that is a negative foreign matter, or something negative that does not belong. This can also be said about a person. It can also mean immoral or wrong. Impure is almost always used in a negative context.

  • If the water is impure, you shouldn’t drink it.
  • If one doesn’t follow all of the rules, they may be considered impure in the eyes of their religious peers.

18. Tarnish

Refers to something losing it’s shine or luster, usually after being exposed to the air.  This can also refer to a person or group’s reputation losing it’s shine as well.

  • High quality gold does not tarnish easily.
  • Her reputation was tarnished due to a rumor that was not true.

19. Polluted

Means that something has been contaminated or mixed with something that is harmful and perhaps poisonous.

  • The city has passed new laws to prevent it from becoming more polluted.

20. Contaminated

Is similar to polluted, it means that something has been made impure due to a negative and perhaps poisonous substance being put in it. 

  • The abundance of cars has caused the air to be contaminated.

21. Unhygienic and Unsanitary

Means that something is unclean.

  • Eating after playing outside all day without washing your hands is unsanitary.
  • It’s unhygienic to not bathe often.

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