Etymology
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dirty (adj.)

"of or imparting filth," early 15c. metathesis of dritty "feculent; muddy" (late 14c.), from dirt + -y (2). Sense of characterized by dirt, unclean" is from 16c. Meaning "smutty, morally unclean" is from 1590s. Of colors, from 1690s. Sense of "not streamlined; rough, untidy, or imperfect" is by 1925. Of atomic bombs, "producing much radioactive fallout," by 1956.

Dirty linen "personal or familial secrets" is first recorded 1860s. Dirty work in the figurative sense is from 1764; dirty trick is from 1670s. Dirty joke is by 1856. The dirty look someone gives you is by 1923; dirty old man "superannuated lecher" is from 1932. Related: dirtiness.

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cesspool (n.)

also cess-pool, "cistern or well to receive sediment or filth," 1670s, the first element perhaps an alteration of cistern, or perhaps a shortened form of recess [Klein]; or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c. 1400), "drainpipe," from Old French sospiral "a vent, air hole," from sospirer "breathe," from Latin suspirare "breathe deep" [Barnhart]. Meaning extended to "tank at the end of the pipe," which would account for a possible folk-etymology change in final syllable.

Other possible etymologies: Italian cesso "privy" [OED], from Latin secessus "place of retirement" (in Late Latin "privy, drain"); dialectal suspool, from suss, soss "puddle;" or cess "a bog on the banks of a tidal river."

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scum (n.)

early 14c., "froth, foam, thin layer atop liquid" (implied in scomour "scummer, shallow ladle for removing scum"), from Middle Dutch schume "foam, froth," from Proto-Germanic *skuma- (source also of Old Norse skum, Old High German scum, German Schaum "foam, froth"), which is perhaps from PIE root *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" on the notion of "that which covers the water."

Especially (late 14c.) "impure foam or extraneous substance that rises to the surface when liquid boils." Hence any sort of impure froth, and the sense deteriorated to "film of dirt," then simply "dirt, filth." The meaning "lowest class of humanity" is from 1580s; scum of the Earth is attested by 1712. The Germanic word was adopted in Romanic (Old French escume, Modern French écume, Spanish escuma, Italian schiuma). As a verb, "remove the scum from," late 14c.

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sch 

consonant cluster that can represent five distinct sounds in English; it first was used by Middle English writers to render Old English sc-, a sound now generally pronounced (and spelled) "-sh-." Sometimes it was miswritten for ch. It also was taken in from German (schnapps) and Yiddish (schlemiel). In words derived from classical languages (school (n.1)), it represents Latin sch-, Greek skh-, but in some of these words the spelling is a restoration and the pronunciation does not follow it (as in schism; Middle English sisme, cisme).

The Yiddish words with it, often derisive or dismissive, tended to come into 20c. American English. In addition to those with entries here, Saul Bellow used schmegeggy, "Portnoy's Complaint" has schmatte "a ragged garment;" schmeck "a sniff" figures in heroin jargon, and schmutz "dirt, filth" has been used. Directly to English from German also are some specialized words: Schmelz "enamel," schmerz "grief, pain, sorrow," 

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mix (v.)

1530s, transitive, "unite or blend promiscuously into one mass, body, or assemblage," a back-formation from Middle English myxte (early 15c.) "mingled, blended, composed of more than one element, of mixed nature," from Anglo-French mixte (late 13c.), from Latin mixtus, past participle of miscere "to mix, mingle, blend; fraternize with; throw into confusion," from PIE root *meik- "to mix."

A rare verb before Elizabethan times. Perhaps it was avoided out of potential confusion with a group of common Middle English words such as mixen "dung-hill, pile of refuse," mix "filth, dung, dirt" mixed "foul, filthy," from PIE root *meigh- "to urinate" (source of Latin mingere, etc.).

Meaning "to form by mingling or blending different ingredients" is from 1570s. Intransitive sense of "become united or blended promiscuously" is from 1630s; that of "become joined or associated" is from 1660s. In cinematography and broadcasting, "combine two pictures or sounds by fading out and in," 1922. Old English as miscian (apparently borrowed from the Latin verb) did not survive into Middle English. Related: Mixed; mixing.

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obscene (adj.)

1590s, "offensive to the senses, or to taste and refinement," from French obscène (16c.), from Latin obscenus "offensive," especially to modesty, originally "boding ill, inauspicious," a word of unknown origin; perhaps from ob "in front of" (see ob-) + caenum "filth."

The meaning "offensive to modesty or decency, impure, unchaste" is attested from 1590s. Legally, "any impure or indecent publication tending to corrupt the mind and to subvert respect for decency and morality." In modern U.S. law, the definition hinged on "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest." [Justice William Brennan, "Roth v. United States," June 24, 1957]; this was refined in 1973 by "Miller v. California":

The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Related: Obscenely.

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addle (v.)

"become putrid," hence "be spoiled, be made worthless or ineffective," 1640s (implied in addled), from archaic addle (n.) "urine, liquid filth," from Old English adela "mud, mire, liquid manure" (cognate with East Frisian adel "dung," Old Swedish adel "urine," Middle Low German adel "mud," Dutch aal "puddle").

Popularly used in the noun phrase addle egg (mid-13c.) "egg that does not hatch, rotten egg," a loan-translation of Latin ovum urinum, literally "urine egg," which is itself an erroneous loan-translation of Greek ourion ōon "putrid egg," literally "wind egg," from ourios "of the wind" (confused by Roman writers with ourios "of urine," from ouron "urine").

From this phrase, since c. 1600 the noun in English was mistaken as an adjective meaning "putrid," and thence given a figurative extension to "empty, vain, idle," also "confused, muddled, unsound" (1706), then back-formed into a verb in that sense. Related: Addling.

Popular in forming derogatory compounds 17c. and after, such as addle-headed "stupid, muddled" (1660s); addle-pated (1630s); addle-pate "stupid bungler" (c. 1600); addle-plot "spoil-sport, person who spoils any amusement" (1690s).

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defenestration (n.)

1620, "the action of throwing out of a window," from Latin fenestra "window." A word invented for one incident: the "Defenestration of Prague," May 21, 1618, when two Catholic deputies to the Bohemian national assembly and a secretary were tossed out the window of the castle of Hradschin by Protestant radicals (the pair landed in a trash heap and survived). It marked the start of the Thirty Years' War.

The extraordinary chance which had saved three lives was a holy miracle or a comic accident according to the religion of the beholder .... Murder or no murder, the coup d'état was complete, and since Thurn had overruled many of his supporters in demanding death it was well for the conscience of his allies that a pile of mouldering filth in the courtyard of the Hradschin had made soft falling for the governors. [Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, "The Thirty Years War," 1938]

Some linguists link fenestra with Greek verb phainein "to show;" others see in it an Etruscan borrowing, based on the suffix -(s)tra, as in Latin loan-words aplustre "the carved stern of a ship with its ornaments," genista "the plant broom," lanista "trainer of gladiators." Related: Defenestrate (1915); defenestrated (1620).

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clean (adj.)

Old English clæne "free from dirt or filth, unmixed with foreign or extraneous matter; morally pure, chaste, innocent; open, in the open," of beasts, "not forbidden by ceremonial law to eat," from West Germanic *klainja- "clear, pure" (source also of Old Saxon kleni "dainty, delicate," Old Frisian klene "small," Old High German kleini "delicate, fine, small," German klein "small;" English preserves the original Germanic sense), perhaps from PIE root *gel- "bright, gleaming" (source also of Greek glene "eyeball," Old Irish gel "bright"). But Boutkan doubts the IE etymology and that the "clean" word and the "small" word are the same.

"Largely replaced by clear, pure in the higher senses" [Weekley], but as a verb (mid-15c.) it has largely usurped what once belonged to cleanse. Meaning "whole, entire" is from c. 1300 (clean sweep in the figurative sense is from 1821). Sense of "not lewd" (as in good, clean fun) is from 1867; that of "not carrying anything forbidden" is from 1938; that of "free of drug addiction" is from 1950s. To come clean "confess" is from 1919, American English.

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garbage (n.)
"refuse, filth," 1580s; earlier "giblets, refuse of a fowl, waste parts of an animal (head, feet, etc.) used for human food" (early 15c., in early use also gabage, garbish, garbidge ), of unknown origin; OED says probably from Anglo-French "like many other words found in early cookery books." In its sense of "waste material, refuse" it has been influenced by and partly confused with garble (q.v.) in its older sense of "remove refuse material from spices;" Middle English had the derived noun garbelage but it is attested only as the action of removing the refuse, not the material itself.

Perhaps the English word originally is from a derivative of Old French garbe/jarbe "sheaf of wheat, bundle of sheaves," though the sense connection is difficult. This word is from Proto-Germanic *garba- (source also of Dutch garf, German garbe "sheaf"), from PIE *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach" (see grab (v.)).

"In modern American usage garbage is generally restricted to mean kitchen and vegetable wastes" [Craigie]. Used figuratively for "worthless, offensive stuff" from 1590s. Garbage can is from 1901. Garbage collector "trash man" is from 1872; Australian shortening garbo attested from 1953. Garbology "study of waste as a social science" is by 1976; garbologist is from 1965.
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