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

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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 Her evocation of Liverpool at that time is grainily exact, with its lurid pubs, grand racketeering hotels, street violence, squalid poverty, garbage stench, rats, derelict houses and toughly resilient families. Hermione Lee, WSJ, "Five Best: Hermione Lee on Real Lives Reimagined," 15 Jan. 2021 Withdraw Nick’s perspective and the lurid plot sticks out of the water like a shipwreck at low tide. Washington Post, "For ‘Gatsby’ fans, 2021 will be the start of remakes. First up: ‘Nick’," 29 Dec. 2020 Many and lurid are the child-snatching, child-snacking beasts that await those who resist sleep. National Geographic, "What the lullabies we sing to our children reveal about us," 25 Nov. 2020 Plenty of lurid details are revealed along the way, but the series is more effective as a fitting and timely statement on the value of one’s own personal BS detector, especially in this era of disinformation. Washington Post, "Best TV of 2020: ‘I May Destroy You,’ ‘Normal People,’ the Democratic convention and more," 8 Dec. 2020 The mighty engine has more than enough urge to overwhelm the rear tires and send the STO into lurid oversteer. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "The STO Is the Ultimate Huracán," 25 Nov. 2020 Nonetheless, Hindu nationalists have given the lurid conspiracy theory credence in the public’s eyes by promoting it on social media, WhatsApp groups and sympathetic TV channels. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Hindu Nationalists’ Crazy Crackdown on ‘Love Jihad’," 25 Nov. 2020 But one unfortunate aspect of the tendency toward conspiracism in these cases and others is that overly lurid claims can often generate a kind of inadvertent numbness toward more mundane forms of violation or corruption. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "America’s Conspiracies of Profit," 1 Oct. 2020 South Carolina voters can’t turn on their televisions or open their mailboxes without seeing images of the candidates, alternately flattering and lurid. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Lindsey Graham, Jaime Harrison and the Plexiglass Campaign," 15 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for lurid

Time Traveler

The first known use of lurid was in 1603

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Statistics for lurid

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lurid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for lurid


How to pronounce lurid (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lurid

Nglish: Translation of lurid for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lurid

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