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.
"Voucher has become such a dirty word. Voucher is just a way of paying for something.
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