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1. Dull or boring tasks. Stop filing and get one of the interns to do that dirty work.
2. Devious and deceptive activities. I'm not surprised that Phil was caught embezzling money from the company—he always seemed to be involved in dirty work. The boss will just get one of his thugs to do his dirty work.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. Fig. unpleasant or uninteresting work. My boss does all the traveling. I get all the dirty work to do. She's tired of doing all the dirty work at the office.
2. Fig. dishonest or underhanded actions; treachery. She knew there was some dirty work going on when she saw her opponents whispering together. The company seems respectable enough, but there's a lot of dirty work that goes on.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
An unpleasant, distasteful, or thankless task or job. For example, Jane complained that she had to do all the dirty work while her colleagues took long vacations . [First half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(do somebody’s) ˈdirty work(do) the unpleasant or dishonest jobs that somebody else does not want to do: Tell him yourself! I don’t see why I should have to do your dirty work for you!
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. n. menial work; hard work. Why do I always get stuck with the dirty work?
2. n. sneaky activities. I hear that Sam is up to his old dirty work again.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.