dirty stinking

Dirty and stinking are usually used negatively, but an advertisement for headphones highlights the “big dirty stinking bass” provided by them, purportedly quoting a user.

Dirty is most often used to describe: work, clothes, water, trick(s), hands, linen, business, streets and shirt, being a combination of literal and figurative dirtiness. Stinking is most often used to describe: water, breath, fish, mud, smoke, hole, smut, fume, oil and savour, most of them literal stinkingness. Stinking smut isn’t pornography, but another name for common bunt, a disease which affects wheat. Wikipedia doesn’t record whether it actually smells, compared with just any old smut. Stinking savour is found only or mainly in the Authorised Version of the Bible: “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). This sounds unusual to me, because I would immediately think that savour as a noun was a positive word. Modern translations (eg New International Version) give: “As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” See also a fly in the ointment.

Google’s only result for dirty, stinking *_NOUN is insects. I’m not sure how many dirty stinking insects there are – I can’t immediately think of any, apart from stink bugs, which aren’t necessarily dirty. Otherwise, dirty and stinking appear close together in The planet of the apes (but not  in the Simpson’s parody Stop the planet of the apes, I want to get off).


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