English for parents – mucky and grubby

Two words that parents love; mucky and grubby.  Both mucky and grubby mean dirty, and always physically dirty. Especially the kind that children get. When your child has finished jumping in muddy puddles, you can say ‘You’re a mucky pup!’

  • ‘She’s a bit grubby’
  • ‘He’s a bit mucky because he was playing in the garden’.
  • ‘Don’t leave your grubby football kit in the bag.’
  • ‘Don’t put your mucky shoes on the sofa!’

Interesting the noun ‘muck’ means manure (you know, poo from cows or horses) and ‘grub’ means food.

Mucky can also describe sex in a judgmental way, ‘a mucky mag’ means a pornography magazine.

Grubby can also mean someone’s bad behaviour, if it is unfair or dishonest. ‘He can’t wait to get his grubby hands on her money.’

There’s lots of other words for dirty, can you think of some more?





Published by Abbie

English teacher, coach and writer. Helping English learners and teachers get more confident in their skills.

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