1. Earth or soil.
a. A filthy or soiling substance, such as mud or dust.
3. A squalid or filthy condition.
4. One that is mean, contemptible, or vile.
a. Obscene language or subject matter.
b. Malicious or scandalous gossip.
c. Information that embarrasses or accuses.
6. Unethical behavior or practice; corruption.
7. Material, such as gravel or slag, from which metal is extracted in mining.
[Middle English, variant of drit, excrement, filth, mud, from Old Norse.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.