sleaze factor

Main Entry:  sleaze factor
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  that part of a situation that is corrupt, sordid, or controversial
Etymology:  sleaze 'vulgarity' + factor
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

sleaze factor

The element in a political party, administration, or other organization that is corrupt, controversial, or tainted by scandal. For example, I can't see myself making a campaign contribution to themthere's too much of a sleaze factor. This slangy expression derives from the adjective sleazy, which means "vulgar" or "tawdry." The idiom was first used in politics in the 1980s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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