lu·​rid | \ ˈlu̇r-əd How to pronounce lurid (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The girl Kelly was accused of abusing on video, his goddaughter, had refused to identify herself in the lurid recording when questioned before a Cook County grand jury in 2002. Jason Meisner,, 21 Aug. 2021 His virtuous portrayal sometimes clashed with bizarre and lurid details that emerged during the trial. New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021 The film is a lurid panorama of half-truths and speculation. NBC News, 2 Oct. 2021 And the biggest surprise, in this carnival of the lurid? Anthony Lan, The New Yorker, 17 Sep. 2021 But the allegations James laid out in such lucid and lurid detail finally made people say: Enough. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 The City Center development, built in 1983, replaced the lurid and wonderful Gopher theater marquee, cafes, a Bridgeman's Ice Cream Parlor, shops for hats and shoes. James Lileks, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021 The Cosmo, lurid and dated, is the most visible target for this contempt. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 15 July 2021 The matter came to a head in 2017 after George filed a violent and lurid court document in the midst of an effort to get the case in front of a different judge. Megan Crepeau,, 19 June 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of lurid

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lurid

Latin luridus pale yellow, sallow

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About lurid

Dictionary Entries Near lurid




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lurid

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lurid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce lurid (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lurid

Nglish: Translation of lurid for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!