sor·​did | \ ˈsȯr-dəd How to pronounce sordid (audio) \

Definition of sordid

1 : marked by baseness or grossness : vile sordid motives
3 : meanly avaricious : covetous
4 : of a dull or muddy color

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Other Words from sordid

sordidly adverb
sordidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sordid

mean, ignoble, abject, sordid mean being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity. mean suggests small-mindedness, ill temper, or cupidity. mean and petty satire ignoble suggests a loss or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit. an ignoble scramble after material possessions abject may imply degradation, debasement, or servility. abject poverty sordid is stronger than all of these in stressing physical or spiritual degradation and abjectness. a sordid story of murder and revenge

Examples of sordid in a Sentence

And Vermes's story is also in part an international thriller, especially with the high-level goings-on around the Scrolls. The full sordid tale of spite, scholarly selfishness, and undisguised anti-Semitism, which kept access to the Dead Sea texts restricted for decades to a tiny cartel, unwinds in his pages. — Paula Fredriksen, New Republic, 15 Oct. 2001 Another reporter working to verify the book's charges ended up unmasking author James Hatfield's sordid past, revealing how little the publisher knew about its author … — Jennifer Greenstein, Brill's Content, February 2000 In fact, audiences now have become so blasé about accounts of celebrities' sordid personal lives that some stars are turning potential publicity nightmares into confessional coups. — Stephen Rebello, Vibe, May 1999 He shared the sordid details of his past. he managed to rise above the sordid streets upon which he grew up
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Recent Examples on the Web This from a league with a long, sordid history of discrimination. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "The Talk of the Super Bowl Is Quarterbacks, Except One," 25 Jan. 2021 Handing out ambassadorships to favored campaign donors is a sordid bipartisan tradition in Washington. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Blow Up the Donor-to-Ambassador Pipeline," 2 Feb. 2021 Harold could not have planned a better way to make sure every sordid detail of his past was made public and discussed. Dallas News, "I did it my way: An odyssey into the ugly side of probate," 17 Jan. 2021 But Woods’s feats shine through this sordid episode. Peter Keough,, "In Focus: On HBO, the rise and fall — and return — of Tiger Woods," 7 Jan. 2021 That is true even on days when Donald Trump makes the process look sordid. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "What an F.D.A. Committee Weighed in Voting for the Pfizer COVID Vaccine," 11 Dec. 2020 In a moment of passion, Teddy and Tom slept together, and the sordid affair was revealed to Owen by way of voicemail (ouch). Ineye Komonibo,, "What You Need To Remember From The Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 Finale Before The Premiere," 12 Nov. 2020 The mentally ill men left to burn alive in a sordid boarding home that operated with little regard for lifesaving regulations. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News, "Searching for humanity," 23 Dec. 2020 MacFarquhar’s article depicts the lives of these apostates and their communities in a lyrical way, but avoids hard numbers and the sordid political collusion. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sordid.' 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 sordid

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sordid

Latin sordidus, from sordes dirt — more at swart

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Statistics for sordid

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sordid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for sordid



English Language Learners Definition of sordid

: very bad or dishonest
: very dirty


sor·​did | \ ˈsȯr-dəd How to pronounce sordid (audio) \

Kids Definition of sordid

1 : very dirty : filthy sordid surroundings
2 : of low moral quality a sordid life

More from Merriam-Webster on sordid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sordid

Nglish: Translation of sordid for Spanish Speakers

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