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

At the heart of various conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death is the notion that his sordid story dies with him. David Von Drehle, Twin Cities, "David Von Drehle: Keep investigating Jeffrey Epstein," 15 Aug. 2019 As the news cycles churned, the sordid details of Jackson’s death emerged. Courtney E. Smith,, "10 Years After Michael Jackson’s Death, The King Of Pop’s Legacy Is In Shambles," 25 June 2019 This is perhaps because the transfer in narrow minds from individual selfishness to group selfishness covers with the glamor of religious consecration the sordid meanness of one race toward another. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Black Suffragettes Subverted the Domestic Sphere," 18 Aug. 2019 That was only one more part of a sordid saga spanning decades, with Maxwell a key part of it, court documents show. Curt Anderson,, "Jeffrey Epstein’s purported madam is now a focus in sex abuse cases," 18 Aug. 2019 Though the story behind it is complex and sordid, the bill itself is pretty simple. David Roberts, Vox, "Ohio just passed the worst energy bill of the 21st century," 27 July 2019 Living conditions for captive wildlife run the gamut from sordid to exemplary, just as the reasons for their captivity run the gamut from greed to compassion. National Geographic, "Is the food appropriate and safely provided?," 31 July 2019 Even those who have never donned a cowboy hat will appreciate the sordid and controversial history of the genre. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Best History Podcasts to Listen to Right Now," 31 July 2019 The slaying of Lathem’s boyfriend, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, made international headlines in the summer of 2017 as alleged details of the sordid case became public. Megan Crepeau,, "Admitted killer in sex-fantasy case could serve sharply reduced prison sentence in native England," 25 July 2019

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

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for sordid

The first known use of sordid was in 1606

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sordid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sordid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sordid

Spanish Central: Translation of sordid

Nglish: Translation of sordid for Spanish Speakers

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readily or continually undergoing change

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