late 14c., "place for washing;" mid-15c., "act of washing," a contraction (compare launder) of Middle English lavendrie (late 13c.), from Old French lavanderie "wash-house," from Vulgar Latin *lavandaria "things to be washed," plural of lavandarium, from Latin lavare "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash"). English meaning "articles that need to be or have been laundered" is from 1916. As a verb, from 1880. Laundry list in figurative sense is from 1958.
"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.
originally the name of the lake, probably from Ojibwa (Algonquian) winipeg "dirty water;" compare winad "it is dirty." Etymologically related to Winnebago.
of the skin or complexion, "of a sickly color, discolored, yellowish," Middle English salu, from Old English salo "dusky, dark" (related to sol "dark, dirty"), from Proto-Germanic *salwa- (source also of Middle Dutch salu "discolored, dirty," Old High German salo "dirty gray," Old Norse sölr "dirty yellow"), from PIE root *sal- (2) "dirty, gray" (source also of Old Church Slavonic slavojocije "grayish-blue color," Russian solovoj "cream-colored"). Related: Sallowness.
early 15c., "festering," from Latin sordidus "dirty, filthy, foul, vile, mean, base," from sordere "be dirty, be shabby," related to sordes "dirt, filth," from PIE *swrd-e-, from root *swordo- "black, dirty" (source also of Old English sweart "black"). Sense of "foul, low, mean" first recorded 1610s. Related: Sordidly; sordidness.
In early use often hardly more emphatic than the mod. dirty; it is now a violent expression of disgust, seldom employed in polite colloquial speech. [OED]
Related: Filthily; filthiness.
"automatic coin-operated public laundry," 1946, originally (1942) a proprietary name by Westinghouse for a type of automatic washing machine; from laundry + ending probably suggested by automat. Earlier words for public clothes-washing places in U.S. were washateria (1935), laundrette (1945). Launderette is from 1947. The Westinghouse machine was popular after World War II and was available with coin chutes and timers.