do someone's dirty work

This page is about the idiom do someone's dirty work.

Meaning: If you do someone's dirty work for them, you do something unpleasant for them because they don't want to do it for themselves.

For example:

  • Whenever he wants somebody fired, my boss asks me to tell them. I'm sick of doing his dirty work for him, but if I refuse he'll ask someone else to tell me I'm fired.

  • One of the good things about being promoted is that you can tell someone below you do your dirty work for you.

Quick Quiz:

I read this article today that says if the leader of a country starts a war, they should do their own dirty work and

a. fight alongside their soldiers

b. tell the military what to do

c. wash their hands of the decision

Idiom of the Day

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Contributor: Matt Errey