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

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
Recent Examples on the Web But the investigation finds more insidious roots that hint at a larger conspiracy, one that involves the sprawling Lafferty family's embrace of fundamentalist principles and the sordid practices related to them. Brian Lowry, CNN, 28 Apr. 2022 The disturbing subtext in our time is that light is shed daily on new, sordid tales of this variety. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 But The Dropout is a refreshingly clear recounting of the sordid tale, with season two tackling the trial. Simon Hill, Wired, 20 Feb. 2022 The sordid story of a South Bronx apartment building ruled by a gang of crazed, junkie punks. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Apr. 2022 But in the first week of these Winter Olympics, scandal has been the primary event, a new sordid story dawns each day and every stellar moment seems to be overshadowed by something dark and ominous. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Feb. 2022 It's got endless appeal, both for people who were around at the time and for a younger generation just learning the sordid story. Sara Stewart, CNN, 4 Feb. 2022 But not many people know the dark, sordid story behind the massively popular label, and Hulu's new docuseries is uncovering it all. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 4 Nov. 2021 Everyone involved in this sordid story stretching from Baton Rouge to Lawrence should be out of college athletics. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sordid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sordid


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

Nglish: Translation of sordid for Spanish Speakers


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