English as a Second Language/Meaning


Dear Amy,

I ready the following on a poster of a film:

"To get away clean, you have to play dirty"

Could you please clarify what this means?

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Hi Antoine,

It's obviously a metaphor.

"To get away clean, you have to play dirty" means that sometimes you have to do/say things that you wouldn't normally do (perhaps illegal/immoral things) in order to be the one who wins in certain circumstances.

For ex, someone might say a lie (play dirty) in order to escape punishment for something s/he did (get away clean).

I hope this makes sense.

Best regards,


English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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