adjective sor·did \ ˈsȯr-dəd \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of sordid

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





Examples of sordid in a Sentence

  1. 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 FredriksenNew Republic15 Oct. 2001
  2. 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 GreensteinBrill's ContentFebruary 2000
  3. 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 RebelloVibeMay 1999
  4. He shared the sordid details of his past.

  5. he managed to rise above the sordid streets upon which he grew up

Recent Examples of sordid from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of sordid

Latin sordidus, from sordes dirt — more at swart

Synonym Discussion of 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

SORDID Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of sordid for English Language Learners

  • : very bad or dishonest

  • : very dirty

SORDID Defined for Kids


adjective sor·did \ ˈsȯr-dəd \

Definition of sordid for Students

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

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