American gossip magazines have gotten down and dirty to show off the uglier side of fame and fortune, yet despite some pretty reprehensible headlines, U.S. tabloids generally pale in comparison to those found across the pond

Source : https://www.rd.com/culture/why-british-tabloids-are-more-extreme-than-americas/

What does "get down and dirty" in this passage mean ? I have google-ed it but there are many definition and I don't sure which one is appropriate.

Hope someone could help me.

  • 1
    What are these "many definitions"? And what makes you think native speakers would be any better than you at deciding which definition best fits your context? Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


Get down and dirty can mean a lot of things and unless the author elaborates, we can't know specifically what he or she means.

That said, 'get down and dirty' is used in the context of the tabloid press and an article which points out the exploitation, bullying, publishing of private information, etc. by the tabloids.

It's likely, although open to interpretation, that the author meant the willingness on the part of the tabloid press to hold themselves to a very low standard of ethical, moral and socially acceptable behavior in order to get the information they publish.

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