Quick and Dirty

Meaning:

The phrase quick and dirty means doing something fast, but the overall result may not be the best quality since it was done so quickly.

Example: After Owen mowed his front lawn, there were still patches of long grass in several areas. His quick and dirty mowing was not the best, but he thought it was decent enough. (In other words, the quality of his yard work was mediocre because he rushed through it instead of taking the time to do it properly.)

Origin:

How old is this phrase? The earliest I could find the saying quick and dirty in print is near the end of the 19th century. For example, in The Riverine Herald newspaper, Septemeber 1897:

“‘I’m what they would call a dirty cook.’ The witness was very grave, but the court roared. ‘Oh! I see,’ said Mr. O’dwyer, ‘you are ‘quick and dirty.’ “

‚ÄčAnother example, this one coming four years earlier and also from The Riverine Herald newspaper, July 1893:

“Now then, Bill, cuss yer, sling that ere tar about, quick and dirty, and don’t let the flies got on yer,’ and so on.”

This expression is often used in connection with things that are fixed quickly. The implication seems to be that because the fix was done in a hurry, it probably wasn’t done particularly well, thus the ‘dirty’ part of the phrase.


Example Sentences For ‘Quick and Dirty’

Here are a couple examples of this phrase in a sentence:

  • I accidentally spilled some paint on my carpet. I plan on cleaning it soon, but for now my quick and dirty solution was covering it with a rug.
  • My plastic lint roller snapped in half while I was using it, so I ordered a new one. In the meantime, a quick and dirty fix I used was gluing it back together.

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