a dirty word

dirty word

A word, phrase, or concept considered taboo or that is no longer approved of; something that has the potential to cause the same offense that an obscenity would. Ever since Jason won the lottery, he considers "work" to be a dirty word. When it comes to politics, "tax increases" might as well be a dirty word.
See also: dirty, word

a dirty word

COMMON If something is a dirty word to someone, they disapprove of it and reject it. At the root of the company's problems was the misplaced belief that good products sell themselves. Marketing was a dirty word with them. Wolfe asks why `feminism' has become a dirty word, even among women.
See also: dirty, word

a dirty ˈword

a thing or an idea that somebody finds unpleasant or offensive: Work is a dirty word to these lazy kids.
See also: dirty, word
References in periodicals archive ?
More than a decade after the Minimalists made "composition" into something of a dirty word in the realms of painting and sculpture, it shows its worth here.
Mama say you ain't supposed to say fornicate 'cause it's a dirty word.
publisher of the leading Internet content filtering program, CYBERsitter(tm), announced the release of a dirty word filter plug-in for America Online's ICQ chat.
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