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dirt

Meaning: information used to damage someone's reputation

For example:

  • Many politicians will encourage their staff to find dirt on their opponents, and then leak it to the media.

  • The government tried to dig up some dirt on the protest leaders, but they couldn't find any.

Note: "Dirt" can be any information that's used to damage someone's reputation, though the information is almost always about something the person has done, or been accused of doing, that is either illegal, immoral or stupid. Whether the acts actually occurred or not seems to make little difference to dirt's power to damage someone's reputation.

Quick Quiz:

Which could be used as dirt to discredit someone or damage their reputation?
  1. an old criminal record
  2. an old jazz record
  3. an old Olympic record

Discuss: dirt

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