adjective lu·rid \ ˈlu̇r-əd \
Updated on: 10 May 2018

Definition of lurid

1 a : 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
2 a : 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





Examples of lurid in a Sentence

  1. a lurid tale of violence and betrayal

  2. the lurid lighting of a nightclub

  3. The light from the fire cast a lurid glow on everything.

Recent Examples of lurid from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of lurid

Latin luridus pale yellow, sallow

Synonym Discussion of 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

LURID Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of lurid for English Language Learners

  • : 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

LURID Defined for Kids


adjective lu·rid \ ˈlu̇r-əd \

Definition of lurid for Students

1 : causing shock or disgust
  • a lurid story
2 : glowing with an overly bright color
  • lurid neon lights



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


to fill with foolish love or admiration

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!