morbid

adjective

mor·​bid ˈmȯr-bəd How to pronounce morbid (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, or characteristic of disease
morbid anatomy
b
: affected with or induced by disease
a morbid condition
c
: productive of disease
morbid substances
2
: abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feelings
3
: grisly, gruesome
morbid details
morbid curiosity
morbidly adverb
morbidness noun

Frequently Asked Questions

What is morbid curiosity?

Morbid curiosity is a fascination with grisly or gruesome matters. Although morbid has other meanings (such as "productive of disease"), when paired with curiosity it carries the "grisly" sense.

Are morbid and moribund the same?

Morbid and moribund may begin with the same three letters, but these words have different meanings and origins. Moribund, meaning "being in a state of inactivity or obsolescence," comes from the Latin word meaning "to die" (mori), while morbid ("grisly, gruesome") is from the Latin morbus ("disease").

Is morbid a noun?

No, morbid is an adjective (with meanings such as "of, relating to, or characteristic of disease" and "gruesome or grisly"). There are noun forms, such as morbidity ("an abnormal or unhealthy state of mind; especially, one marked by excessive gloom") and morbidness ("the quality or state of being morbid"). "

Examples of morbid in a Sentence

Some of the material has been disclosed before, but it is wonderful to have the quotations from President Nixon and his aides gathered here in all their morbid splendor. Anthony Lewis, New York Review of Books, 7 Apr. 2005
Danger can be sexy, but morbid proselytizing is a real buzzkill. Emily Gordon, Nation, 5 May 1997
She suffered from a morbid streak which in all the life of the family reached out on occasions—the worst occasions—and touched us, clung around us, making it worse for her; her unbearable moments could find nowhere to go. Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings, 1983
She has a morbid interest in funerals. He has a morbid sense of humor. a morbid fascination with death wanting to learn about a celebrity's downfall out of morbid curiosity suffering from a morbid condition The child has a morbid fear of snakes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Our intrinsic voyeurism means weapons of mass destruction hold a morbid fascination, and Ciralsky builds on this with descriptions that imply dark deeds and espionage—boarding the submarine on a stormy night amid high Atlantic seas. Longreads, 23 Feb. 2024 From the brand’s inception, the Victorian-style tin containers have been branded with a religious yet morbid design: a dead lion surrounded by bees. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 My desire to do this movie was to understand why those two girls went down this morbid path. Matthew Jacobs, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 Zingy, morbid humor and motormouthed diatribes are the playwright’s weapons of choice, not lyricism or sentimentality. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 9 Jan. 2024 More contemporary tropes also tend to cultivate sympathetic, romanticized villains, many of whom abhor their violent destinies, attempting to diminish their guilt by seeking morbid personalities to feed on. Nicholas Bell, SPIN, 14 Feb. 2024 People also have a morbid fascination for these brutal people committing crimes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 30 Dec. 2023 Cause of Death Hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity Other Contributing Factors Pregnancy The autopsy capped more than three thousand pages of medical records chronicling the short life of Yeniifer Alvarez-Estrada Glick. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 Julia Fox manages to stir morbid fascinations on almost every page of her best-selling memoir, Down the Drain. Daniel Rodgers, Glamour, 2 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'morbid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin morbidus diseased, from morbus disease

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of morbid was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near morbid

Cite this Entry

“Morbid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/morbid. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

morbid

adjective
mor·​bid ˈmȯr-bəd How to pronounce morbid (audio)
1
: not healthful : diseased
a morbid condition
2
: characterized by gloomy or sick ideas or feelings
takes a morbid interest in funerals
morbidly adverb

Medical Definition

morbid

adjective
mor·​bid ˈmȯr-bəd How to pronounce morbid (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, or characteristic of disease
b
: affected with or induced by disease
a morbid condition
morbid alteration of tissues
c
: productive of disease
morbid substances
2
: abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feelings

More from Merriam-Webster on morbid

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