squal·​id | \ ˈskwä-ləd How to pronounce squalid (audio) \

Definition of squalid

1 : marked by filthiness and degradation from neglect or poverty
2 : sordid

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Other Words from squalid

squalidly adverb
squalidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for squalid

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it. a dirty littered street filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears. a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking. a foul-smelling open sewer nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness. it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable. had a nasty fall his answer gave her a nasty shock squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect. squalid slums All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness don't ask me to do your dirty work , while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior filthy street language a foul story of lust and greed , and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness. a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness. engaged in a series of squalid affairs

Examples of squalid in a Sentence

The family lived in squalid conditions.
Recent Examples on the Web Extensive financial mismanagement and reports of squalid living conditions in public housing projects eventually compelled then-Mayor Ed Lee to shift the management of those buildings to nonprofits. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Beleaguered SF Housing Authority clawing back from financial abyss," 30 Dec. 2019 But instead of ceding explanatory power entirely to his trauma from war, the film remains relentlessly in the present, raising a kind of chicken-or-egg question about Hank’s insufferable qualities and his squalid conditions. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "‘Mickey and the Bear’ Review: Trapped in a Small Town, With Dad," 12 Nov. 2019 The 14-year-old girl called an abuse hotline on Thursday to report squalid living conditions and abuse in her family's home in Bunnell, Florida, according to a Facebook post from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office on Saturday. Sarah Jackson, NBC News, "Florida teen calls abuse hotline on parents, police find 'deplorable living conditions'," 3 Nov. 2019 Libyan forces have kept refugees in squalid conditions and inflicted torture. Arkansas Online, "Asylum-seekers face new barrier," 24 Nov. 2019 Families—some of whom had been relegated to the squalid conditions of the Louisiana Superdome, others forced to flee to other states—returned home to an alien education system. Andrea Gabor, Harper's magazine, "The K-12 Takeover," 28 Oct. 2019 On her birthday, then, collecting stories to help the world better understand that work, Allain wandered through the El Paso bus station, crammed with clusters of families forced into squalid conditions. Kimberly Meyer, Glamour, "The Women of RAICES Are Giving Immigrants a Voice," 25 Oct. 2019 After a legal group complained of residents’ worries over roaches, broken floors and other squalid conditions, the city of Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday sent in a team of inspectors to examine a community of 164 homes, duplexes and apartments. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "Residents complain of roaches and blight. City inspectors are stepping in to spot violations.," 16 Oct. 2019 Roberts and Filler were arrested after animal control officers found 38 dogs, 11 of which were dead, in squalid conditions at the Black Rock Road property April 5. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Hampstead man pleads guilty in Black Rock dogs case, receives maximum sentence for aggravated animal cruelty," 16 Oct. 2019

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

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for squalid

Latin squalidus rough, dirty, from squalēre to be covered with scales or dirt, from squalus dirty; perhaps akin to Latin squama scale

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Time Traveler for squalid

Time Traveler

The first known use of squalid was in 1596

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Statistics for squalid

Last Updated

2 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Squalid.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squalid. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for squalid


How to pronounce squalid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of squalid

: very dirty and unpleasant
: immoral or dishonest


squal·​id | \ ˈskwä-ləd How to pronounce squalid (audio) \

Kids Definition of squalid

: filthy or degraded from a lack of care or money They lived in squalid conditions.

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More from Merriam-Webster on squalid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for squalid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squalid

Spanish Central: Translation of squalid

Nglish: Translation of squalid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squalid for Arabic Speakers

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