- \ \  Dirt was originally drit, and meant ‘excrement’ (it was borrowed from Old Norse drit, which goes back to a prehistoric Germanic base *drit- that also produced Dutch dreet ‘excrement’). The toned-down sense ‘soiling substance’ is of equal antiquity with ‘excrement’ in English, and the modern English form dirt first appeared in the 15th century, by a process known as metathesis in which two sounds are reversed.
Word origins - 2ed. J. Ayto. 2005.
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