lu·​rid | \ˈlu̇r-əd \

Definition of lurid 

1a : causing horror or revulsion : gruesome The tabloids gave all the lurid details of floating wreckage and dismembered bodies.

b : melodramatic, sensational also : shocking paperbacks in the usual lurid covers — T. R. Fyvel

2a : wan and ghastly pale in appearance frightened to death by the lurid waxworks— Sara H. Hay

b : of any of several light or medium grayish colors ranging in hue from yellow to orange

3 : shining with the red glow of fire seen through smoke or cloud lurid flames

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Other Words from lurid

luridly adverb
luridness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for lurid

ghastly, grisly, gruesome, macabre, lurid mean horrifying and repellent in appearance or aspect. ghastly suggests the terrifying aspects of corpses and ghosts. a ghastly accident grisly and gruesome suggest additionally the results of extreme violence or cruelty. an unusually grisly murder suffered a gruesome death macabre implies a morbid preoccupation with the physical aspects of death. a macabre tale of premature burial lurid adds to gruesome the suggestion of shuddering fascination with violent death and especially with murder. the lurid details of a crime

Examples of lurid in a Sentence

a lurid tale of violence and betrayal the lurid lighting of a nightclub The light from the fire cast a lurid glow on everything.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But, by true dawn, the worst of the wounds had vanished, erased by some bad magic, leaving only a lurid rash. Karen Russell, The New Yorker, "Orange World," 4 June 2017 He was ensnared in a corruption scandal and faced lurid allegations from a former lover. The Economist, "Politics this week," 31 May 2018 These lurid tales from the nuclear world are all real. The Economist, "Secrets and lies of the nuclear age," 7 June 2018 That set is dominated by an upstage wall of painted glass with revolving panels, lighted by Jason Fassl in lurid and shifting colors suggesting a phantasmagorical Turner seascape. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Door County theaters add stories and sparkle to summer nights," 11 July 2018 Exotic dancers have said the public has misunderstood their profession as desperately lurid, in contrast with a feminist counterargument that dancing can be an empowering way to earn money. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Exotic dancers march on the streets to protest crackdown on New Orleans strip clubs," 3 Feb. 2018 To give this van its lurid lemon lumps, Wurm packed different types of styrofoam and putty on top of an ordinary VW T2, and sprayed it with a glossy coat of car paint. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "We have some questions about this blobby yellow bus that dispenses free hot dogs," 11 July 2018 But even taking that into account, the siren, the over-the-top headline, and then the lurid treatment of a big chunk of data is a bit remarkable. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "How to Interpret 2018 Polls Without Fooling Yourself," 10 July 2018 Example: The light from the fire cast a lurid glow on everything. Stacey Leasca, Southern Living, "9 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lurid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lurid

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lurid

Latin luridus pale yellow, sallow

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Statistics for lurid

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lurid

The first known use of lurid was in 1603

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More Definitions for lurid



English Language Learners Definition of lurid

: causing shock or disgust : involving sex or violence in a way that is meant to be shocking

: shining or glowing with a bright and unpleasant color


lu·​rid | \ˈlu̇r-əd \

Kids Definition of lurid

1 : causing shock or disgust a lurid story

2 : glowing with an overly bright color lurid neon lights

Other Words from lurid

luridly adverb

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Comments on lurid

What made you want to look up lurid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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